Who ON EARTH is Sam?

ONe side

Sam Edelston believes that dulcimers are among the world's coolest musical instruments, and is on a mission to make them as well-known to the general public as harps and ukuleles.


He draws his musical inspiration from rock bands, symphony orchestras, modern a cappella, and anything else that crosses his path. His mountain dulcimer repertoire ranges from Gilbert & Sullivan to Sousa, African to Andrews Sisters, bossa nova to bluegrass, and especially all over the rock & roll spectrum.


On acoustic and electric dulcimer, his music videos have garnered over 800,000 views and been watched in more than 190 countries. He has performed or taught at a variety of festivals and other venues around the northeast United States. and as far away as Kentucky, Minnesota, and Louisiana (with Colorado, Mississippi, North Carolina, and California coming in 2020).


Sam also is chair of the Nutmeg Dulcimer Festival, which is held in Milford, Connecticut, USA, every October.

Photo of Sam and Julie performing "Time After Time."
"Time After Time," with Julie.

Another side

Backing Rick Thum (hammered dulcimer) at Nutmeg Dulcimer Festival. Carol Walker (bass), Sharon Grimshaw (fiddle), Sam Edelston (guitar).
Backing Rick Thum (hammered dulcimer) at Nutmeg Dulcimer Festival. Carol Walker (bass), Sharon Grimshaw (fiddle), Sam Edelston (guitar).

Dulcimers, dulcimers, dulcimers! That's all they talk about these days! But before that, he was into a lot of other things.


Around age 13-14, Sam discovered pop, rock, and country radio, and also started making up songs and playing guitar. By the end of high school, he had written over 400 songs. (His major songwriting influences were Tom Lehrer, Shel Silverstein, and Dick Feller -- which probably explains a lot.) 


During those years, Sam also discovered the vibrant New Jersey folk music scene and a wonderful crowd called the Folk Project, and he fell in love with the sound of the hammered dulcimer.


After a decade of being the token guitarist at dulcimer festivals, he finally took up the hammered dulcimer himself. A dozen years later, he became chair of the nascent Nutmeg Dulcimer Festival, and only then did he take up mountain dulcimer.

Photo of electric dulcimer, on a stand, with two pedalboards underneath.
Electric dulcimer with pedals