On or about August 19, 2018, I got my 500,000th view on YouTube.
There are people who were unlucky enough to get a zillion views for falling backward into a wedding cake, and have to wear that for the rest of their lives.
The universe was capricious enough to give me the opposite experience -- a video that has made people incredibly happy all around the world. It could have happened to anybody, and I'm eternally grateful that, on that particular day, it happened to me.
Today, "Whole Lotta Love" is approaching 300,000 views -- one of the most watched videos by an "unknown" mountain dulcimer player. The other 200,000 views, though, are divided among nearly 50 other videos, most of which are aimed at showing the world what a little 3-string dulcimer can do. Rock on, world! And thank you!
Sam Edelston is an entertainer with many facets. In recent years, he has been pushing the creative boundaries of the mountain dulcimer. He also performs on guitar, banjo, and occasionally hammered dulcimer, and sings. He does songs that span the rock & roll era and decades (or occasionally centuries) before that, plus folk, original songs, funny songs, shout-alongs, and more.
Sam is on a mission: "I believe that dulcimers are among the world's coolest musical instruments. I want the general public to know dulcimers the way it knows guitars and pianos."
He also chairs the Nutmeg Dulcimer Festival, in Milford, Connecticut. Mark your calendar for Friday-Saturday, October 4-5, 2019, and sign up to get more details at www.NutmegDulcimer.com
On August 15, 2016, Sam's video of the Led Zeppelin classic, Whole Lotta Love, on electric dulcimer, got its 250,000th view. If you exclude renowned artists like Joni Mitchell, Cyndi Lauper, and the Rolling Stones, only about a half dozen other mountain dulcimer videos have more views.
Update, fall of 2018: Over 298,000 views, and heading toward 300,000.
Sam was featured in the Sunday, December 25, 2016 edition of the Connecticut Post and its four sister newspapers.
Moved to Performances tab.
"Displaying a frightening amount of rock mojo for a guy who seems fairly quiet and unassuming, Edelston used his amplified three-string mountain dulcimer to roar his way through ‘Whole Lotta Love’ without so much as breaking a sweat. After watching this, we’re ready to jump in a van and follow Edelston around on tour."
"'You can't do that on a dulcimer!' Well, maybe you can't but Sam Edelston can. Sam has taken the mountain dulcimer from its backwoods Appalachian origins to places most players never dreamed of. From Sousa to Sinatra to Led Zeppelin. Sam's skewed sensibilities on what might be "appropriate" for the dulcimer extend to his music as well. Look for parodies, mash-ups, and other delightfully warped offerings from this innovative musician."
-- The Folk Project
"Wow. Beautiful version."
-- Chris Frantz. Talking Heads drummer, commenting on Sam's cover of Psycho Killer
"Connecticut resident Sam Edelston is a dulcimer wizard who has used the old-time instrument to cover classic rock songs in the past. We're in awe of one of his most recent covers as he does a bang-up job of tackling Led Zeppelin's 'Whole Lotta Love.'"
"This is one of the 5 coolest things I've ever seen/heard on dulcimer ... and the other 4 were all with Sam as well!"
-- Dulcimer master Tull Glazener, after seeing a video of Sam performing "I Can See Clearly Now" with Nicki Parrott's jazz trio.
"With his complex layered arrangements of so many genres of music for the dulcimer, Sam has added a huge chapter to the development of the mountain dulcimer as a versatile and ever growing musical American folk instrument."
-- Dulcimer legend Joellen Lapidus, writing at Folkworks.org
"I've never heard a dulcimer sound so much like a guitar before."
-- Jose Feliciano.
"Rosie's daddy came in and sang to us today. He was so much fun. Can he be my daddy, too?"
-- Rebecca, age 4