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Home > Press Kit > News Release > NTCMA Bones Contest
NTCMA Bones Contest
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Saint Louis Dad Named 'World Bones' Champion

SAINT LOUIS, MO - Sep 5, 2004 - The National Traditional Country Music Association (NTCMA) has declared Scott Miller winner of the 2004 bones contest. Miller took first place among six contestants in the competition which was decided by a panel of three judges.

Bones champion?

Yes, we're talking beef ribs. Or goat ribs. Or ox shins. Miller also plays 'vegetarian' bones made of plastic, aluminum, and exotic hardwoods such as ebony, ironwood, and virgin maple. Perhaps the strangest 'bone' he plays is a pumpkin stem.

But what exactly are these bones? "Rhythm bones are basically a pair of 'sticks' you hold in each hand," explains Miller. "They make a 'clickety-clack' sound when you rattle them together. Your grandparents may have seen them played when they were kids."

Rhythm bones are ancient musical instruments that go back to prehistoric times. The instrument is still popular among traditional musicians in North America and the United Kingdom, yet few people today have ever heard of them.

"They look easy to play," says Miller. "But like any other musical instrument it takes years of practice to play them well. Most of the serious bone players I know have a lifetime of experience behind them. The only young expert I've ever seen is 17-year-old Sky Bartlett. He started at age 14 when he learned from Ernie Duffy, who learned from Elwin 'Shorty' Boulet, who learned at age ten from an 'elderly fellow.' Shorty still has the same set of bones he's been playing for more than 70 years," says Miller. This trio from New Hampshire represents three generations of bone players.

The 'Woodstock' Of Bluegrass Festivals
The results of the bones competition were announced this September in ceremonies held at the NTCMA's 29th National Old-time Country & Bluegrass Music Festival.

Located 20 miles northeast of Omaha, Nebraska, the annual festival presents over 250 scheduled shows featuring more than 600 performers on 12 sound stages on the spacious Harrison County Fairgrounds in Missouri Valley, Iowa.

The seven day festival is a celebration of America's musical heritage, and is the largest musical event of its kind, if not in America, then certainly in the heartlands. Dubbed the 'Woodstock of Bluegrass,' the celebrity packed extravaganza is host to more than 50,000 spectators who visit from across the nation and around the world in what has been labeled 'America's premier traditional acoustic music event.'

The main purpose of the event is to raise money for the operation and upkeep of the Pioneer Music Museum, America's Old-time Fiddlers Hall of Fame, America's Old-time Country Music Hall of Fame, and the Oak Tree Opry.

The Festival is recognized by the United States Conference of Mayors, National Geographic Magazine, Smithsonian Institution, and National Council for Traditional Arts. It has been televised on ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

Scrambled Bands
"One of the most fun events," says Miller, "was the 'Band Scramble.' This is where you write your name and instrument on a slip of paper, drop it in a box, then the names are formed into groups. I was lucky enough to be grouped with a wonderful guitar player named Lyle Johnsen and a dynamite banjo player, Lee Muller." Muller was recently inducted into the Old-time Country Music Hall of Fame. "We put together around half a dozen numbers and performed a set that really smoked."

"The high point for me was being greeted after the set by two former 'world bones' champions, Steve Wixson and Dr. Jerry Barnett. It's a great feeling to put on a good performance that was seen by two fellow bones players who are held in high esteem by the rhythm bones community."

'Bone-a-fide' Country Gospel Music
"Another highlight was appearing as a guest performer with Elaine Peacock and her musical cadre of friends. We played what I guess you could call, 'bone-a-fide' country Gospel music. It must have sounded okay because Elaine invited me to appear again before hundreds of people on three different sound stages. The group included the Reverend John Cox of Papillion, Nebraska on guitar; Rick McCarty of Sioux Falls, South Dakota on harmonica; Harriette Anderson of Underwood, Iowa on bass; Wanda Jilderda of Elk Point, South Dakota on piano; Larry Doran of McCool, Nebraska on guitar; Dorothy Cooley of Grand Rapids, Michigan on guitar; Lyle Johnson of Missouri on guitar; Gordon Hildreth of Ontario, Canada on guitar; and Elaine's aunt, Mary Shipferling of York, Nebraska singing harmony."

"I am not exactly the most spiritual person in the world," says Miller. "And as far as that goes, the performance we did at the Patio Church Stage is the first time I performed before an audience of 'church' folks. This was a real special time for me because I have wanted to play bones with a live Gospel group for years and never had the opportunity until now. I love the music and it was an inspiring experience to say the least - and a fabulous treat!"

So how did Miller, originally 'a Jewish kid from Chicago,' end up playing bones with a country Gospel band? "One morning at the fair I set my satchel of bones on a picnic table to rearrange a few things, I overheard some folks at the table mention clogging and square dance calling. Since I clog dance and used to call contra dances I soon joined the conversation. One thing led to the next and Gospel singer Elaine Peacock and I were off to the Bluegrass Cafe which is just down the road from the fair grounds."

Who Says There's No Free Lunch?
"The Bluegrass Cafe is a somewhat legendary place where musicians who play a set of tunes get a complimentary meal. Not only did Elaine and some friends make it possible for me to play - and get lunch on-the-house, but they set me up with top-notch country musicians including Canadian singer-guitarist Gordon 'Gord' Hildreth, and the celebrated Johnny J. Johnston of Michigan. Both took absolute delight in the bones, and Johnny's marvelously jaunty playing style caused my bones to take a life of their own."

"I soon heard comments like: "I wish I knew about you." "Make sure you get a hold of me next year and I'll see that you're scheduled-in all over."

"Gord invited me to play with him and some friends on the American Heritage Stage that evening. Elaine invited me to appear that night with her country Gospel group on the Main Stage where we played Gospel music plus a few cowboy tunes. We played gospel music the next afternoon at the Patio Church Stage followed again at the Bluegrass Stage where hundreds of folks on bleachers and folding lawn chairs enjoyed the festival's various music acts."

"Incidentally," says Miller, "Elaine is a consummate entertainer who would be delighted to come down from South Dakota and sing country Gospel here in Saint Louis. She is also a licensed Modern Western Square Dance (MWSD) caller who would be happy to call a square dance for your group or special event. I've seen her in action and her calling style is as smooth as silk." Interested folks can contact Peacock at www.countryrose.us.

Winning The Bones Contest Was Nice Too
"I was thoroughly delighted to discover that no matter where I played bones at the festival, whether it was the Bluegrass Cafe, Callison's Circle Jam, the Band Scramble, Jem's Open Jam Tent, American Heritage Stage, Main Stage, Patio Church Stage, Irish session, Bluegrass Stage, the Bones Contest, or the square dance in town, my band mates and the crowd absolutely loved the sound. That alone made the trip well worth the effort. Of course, winning the bones contest was nice too."

Miller laments that he wasn't able to stay the last day for the awards ceremony. He had to return early as it was five days since his two young children last saw their dad, "And they were real homesick for me to get back." Lucky for Miller a fellow bones player was there who phoned to say he won the contest. "Knowing the contest results sure made it easier to get to sleep that night." Miller later received an award certificate and $50.00 prize money in the mail.

How important is winning the contest? "That and a quarter will get me a gumball," responds Miller. Likewise, when asked how it feels to win the All-Ireland Bones Competition, friend and fellow bones player Steve Brown says, "It's a little like winning the National Tiddlywinks Championship. Nobody has any idea who you are. For bones players, though, it's a big deal."

World's Oldest Musical Instrument
"Some researchers call rhythm bones the world's oldest musical instrument," says Miller. According to information on the Rhythm Bones Society (RBS) Web site, rhythm bones have been excavated from prehistoric Mesopotamian graves dating back to 3000 BC.

"This venerable little instrument has charmed and fascinated us since before the dawn of civilization and throughout all of recorded history," notes Miller. "That's a long time. More than 5,000 years."

Rhythm bones are old indeed. So says RBS Executive director Steve Brown of Winchendon, Massachusetts. He cites this entry in The New Groves Dictionary of Music and Musicians which states, 'The bones were played in China before 3000 BC, in Egypt around that date, and in ancient Greece, ancient Rome, and medieval Europe.' Brown is the current (and two-time consecutive) winner of the coveted All-Ireland Bones Championship.

A Long And Checkered Reputation
Miller is quick to point out that "rhythm bones players have endured a long and checkered reputation."

"For example," says Miller, "As early as the second Millennium BC in Moldavia, folks rattled bones to drive away evil spirits and help cure sick people. They also discovered that bones were great for entertaining the kids."

On a more somber note, Ethnomusicologist Sue Ellen Barber of the University of Michigan reports that lepers in the Middle Ages had to sound bones 'as a warning of their approach.' Her research also discloses the 'rambling, desolate life style' of bones playing minstrels wandering through Europe which led to public censure by the church in the year 554 AD.

"Then suddenly, around 500 years ago," observes Miller, "bones crossed the English Channel into the United Kingdom where the lively sound has remained an indelible facet of pub culture ever since."

"There is a rich connection between the bones and traditional Irish music and they may have first been taken to America by Irish Emigrants," adds Steve Brown.

Here Comes 'Mister Bones'
Barber notes that it was during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that bones became part of the musical tradition embraced by American plantation slaves.

She even discovered a story about one particular group of slave musicians who played so well they formed a traveling band that "toured its way from Louisville to Cincinnati then on to Canada and freedom." Barber goes on to explain that African-American street bands of that era were part of the cultural environment which led in the 1840's to the blackface minstrel show.

"Rhythm bones reached their peak of popularity during the minstrel era," adds Miller. "This is the period where 'Mr. Bones' rattled his bones and told jokes."

"Minstrel shows flourished from 1843 until the rise of vaudeville in the 1880's," continues Miller. "The professionally produced ensembles performed musical variety acts and short melodramas that appealed to American working-class sensibilities of the day."

"But the shows were not for everyone," Miller cautions. "For the most part, you had to be an adult white male to attend. The shows portrayed a romanticized version of southern plantation slave life that was immensely popular on both sides of the Civil War. In a nutshell," explains Miller, "minstrel shows featured actors wearing blackface makeup who made fun of African-Americans. Even so," Miller points out, "the productions served as the 'top 40' pop music medium of the day. They evolved into the modern entertainment industry we know now. You can see the impact on popular old TV programs such as the Ed Sullivan Show, Carole Burnett, and especially Hee Haw. Look around you now," observes Miller, "Saturday Night Live and MTV are latter-day minstrel shows. And whether we like it or not," states Miller flatly, "the original Mickey Mouse is a caricature of a blackface minstrel player."

"Professional quality ebony bones were manufactured a hundred years ago in Chicago by the Wurlitzer Company and sold through the Sears Catalog," he says. If you run across a set of vintage Wurlitzer bones, Miller would love to see them.

And The Beat Goes On
By the end of the century bones went underground. "They were played on street corners and in school yards, homes and dance halls," recounts Barber. She tells how in 1909, a young Percy Danforth learned the art from African-American boys who played bones under the gas street lamps in front of Isaac Clayman's Grocery Store in Washington, D.C. Barber cites facts which demonstrate how the current resurgence of bones playing owes much of its success to the late Percy Danforth, "a revered figure among bones players today," says Miller, "and whom the Smithsonian Institution has deemed a national treasure."

Another bones legend is Freeman 'Brother Bones' Davis. "If you've been to a Harlem Globetrotters basketball game," says Miller, "then you've probably heard him. He's the guy who whistles - while playing eight ebony bones - on the 1948 recording of 'Sweet Georgia Brown.'" The tune was adopted in 1952 as the official theme song of the Harlem Globe Trotters. Brother Bones died in 1974. The Rhythm Bones Society offered a tribute to Freeman Davis at Bones Fest VI in 2002, in honor of the 100th anniversary of his birth.

Plays Well With Others
Miller is an accomplished player who mixes well with other instruments. He can also play without stepping on vocalists - a rare ability among bones players. Now and then he adds cutlery, shaker eggs, even clog dancing to the mix. It can be a sight.

Beyond a year of piano lessons in grade school, he has no formal training in music.

But Miller is no stranger to traditional music and keeping a beat. That's because he is an avid contra dancer who's been 'hoof'n it' to live old-time music for over 15 years. "The music is also great for clog dancing," says Miller who learned the Appalachian-style Tennessee walking step years ago at a weekend workshop in Champaign, Illinois.

Today he is one of only a few people who can clog dance and play bones at the same time. "I've found there's not an especially great demand for that sort of thing these days," chuckles Miller. "The only other person I've seen do this," he notes, "is 'Spike Bones' of Columbia Missouri. Equally rare is Miller's virtuoso ability to keep the beat with as many as eight bones at the same time. "People tell me it looks flashy," says Miller with a shrug. "But the fact is," he explains, "I'm lazy. It's just that eight bones make it easier to play along with slower tempo tunes."

You might catch the world bones champ playing at Irish music sessions and occasional contra dances. He has also been seen at local Saint Louis pubs on 'ragtime,' 'blues,' and 'old-time music' night. Lately, folks have enjoyed the haunting sound of rhythm bones at the Hartford Coffee Company's monthly open mic 'Hootenanny' located near Tower Grove Park in south city. "I'm happy to play along with anyone who can stand the clatter," Miller says.

Miller enjoys giving demos and workshops. He is a member of the Rhythm Bones Society and enjoys passing the tradition along to others.

One other place you can catch Miller playing bones is on the street corner while he watches for his kids' school bus. "The neighbors seem to think it's pretty cool, if not a little eccentric," says Miller.

Fascinating Rhythms
What kind of music works best with bones? "Bones go great with all kinds of toe-tapping music," says Miller. He plays to traditional old-time string band tunes, Irish jigs, reels, marches, polkas, waltzes, minstrel tunes, vaudeville, Tin Pan Alley, Broadway, ragtime, cakewalks, early blues, classic jazz, klezmer, Cajun, African, Gospel, Dixieland, bluegrass, Quebecois, jug band, all kinds of ancient and contemporary world music, or just about anything with a spirited beat.

"Bones also work well with lively classical pieces by Bach, Handel, Mozart, Rossini, Vivaldi and others," says Miller who would love to do a fun outreach event with the Saint Louis Symphony. "How about treating happy fans to 'Eine Kleine Klickety-klackmusik?'" asks the aspiring symphonic 'bonesist.'

On the other side of the coin, "Pop music from the 20's, 30's, 40's, and 50's works too," says Miller. He plays to Roaring Twenties, Charleston era, Beatles, Johnny Cash, Aretha Franklin, even rock and rap. Miller wouldn't mind collaborating with pop, rock, reggae, and rap groups looking to create enchanting new ground-breaking tracks that
'really' shake, rattle & roll.

Everybody Loves That Haunting Sound
"Most people savor the clickety-clack of bones," says Miller, adding, "they really love the sound.

"As a solo instrument bones are boring," he says. "But when you match rhythm bones with the right tune, tempo, and musicians, the results are absolutely awesome. Musicians and listeners both like how bones 'lift' a tune. I suppose you can say bones add spice to the music." The way Carl Anderton, a national award-winning banjo champion with
'The Gum Springs Serenaders' puts it, "When bonesy's on, the whole band tightens up."

"Of course, not everyone has the same tastes, you know," says Miller. "But there's hardly a time someone doesn't come up to me after a set and say nice things about the sound."

And Miller truly appreciates the compliments. "It's what keeps me going," he confides. "Actually," reveals Miller, "it's the lead melody player who does the important work. Nevertheless," he says, "folks are clearly intrigued and curious about 'those sticks.' As soon as the bones start rattling, the audience perks up. And bones players do draw attention. For one thing, bones can be loud. And for another, we can look funny when we play. That's because some of us flail our arms around quite a bit to make all that racket. I suppose that's why people perceive bones players as wild and crazy. But when all is said and done, bones are just rhythm instruments. And being the last musician on the totem pole, I do get a kick out of the attention that bones bring my way."

"As I understand it, the Irish tradition is playing with one hand standing up. The English tradition is playing one-handed also, but seated. The nature of both styles is somewhat subdued and low-key. On the other hand, the American tradition, having developed from 'Mister Bones' during the minstrel era, is playing flamboyantly with two hands standing up." Miller plays all three styles. "Ultimately, it's the music that dictates how I play," he reveals.

An Instrument I Can Afford!
Originally from Chicago, Miller now lives in south city, just down the street from the house where his wife Helen Pancella grew up. "Everyone in Helen's family is a terrific singer. On the other hand," admits the stay-at-home dad, "I can't sing a note." But he plainly does 'got rhythm.' The couple have two young children, Zak and Erica, who are doing fabulous work at Saint Louis Charter School.

Miller quit high school in 1965 to join the army. While in the service he took a high school equivalency test which opened the door to college where he earned undergraduate degrees in Speech and Theatre and "ended up" with a master's degree in Design. "I have accomplished nothing to speak of in real life," he insists, "But fortunately I stumbled into contra dancing and traditional clog dancing which helps maintain my sanity. My other saving grace is playing rhythm bones."

Miller first saw rhythm bones during a party at the home of fellow contra dancer Jean Snyder. Also at the party was local banjo and harmonica wizard, Sandy Weltman. Weltman is an award winning musician who has performed on dozens of albums nationally and has released several recordings of his own. A few of the guests at the party asked Weltman about those 'sticks' he was playing. "Sandy told us they were called 'bones,'" recalls Miller. "Then he demonstrated how to play them. We all tried giving them a rattle, but none of us managed to get more than a click or two out of them."

A few weeks later Miller came across some plastic rhythm bones on a display rack at Music Folk, the acoustic music shop in nearby Webster Groves, Missouri. They cost $3.75 a set. "This is an instrument I can afford!" he exclaimed at the time.

As Miller was getting the hang of rattling the bones, local fiddle champ and violin maker Geoff Seitz suggested playing with a pair in each hand. "At first I thought he was teasing me," laughs Miller. "After all, it was hard enough to play one set in my dominant hand - but to play a second set of bones with my left hand too? You gotta be kidding!" Seitz explained to Miller that playing a set in both hands adds more color to the sound. Miller was intrigued with bones playing so he learned as much as he could about them. He discovered that during the minstrel era, which was the heyday of bones playing, 'Mr. Bones' always played two-handed. Eventually Miller bought a second set of bones. Then he fashioned a few more sets from beef ribs he got from the butcher shop. He practiced around four hours a day virtually all year long. That was 15 years ago. Since then Miller has developed into one of the finest - if not, rarest - rhythm bones players on the planet.

Scarcer Than Hen's Teeth
"Bones might look easy enough to play, but folks who try their hand at them quickly discover they're not," says Miller. "Anyone can pick up a set of bones and make noise with them, which throws the band off. That's probably why bones have a bad rap among traditional musicians - and why even virtuoso bones players often have to contend with an unjustly tarnished reputation. But with enough drive and determination," says Miller, "anyone can learn to play bones."

"As with any other musical instrument, it takes years of practice to become proficient," Miller says. "And good luck trying to find a bones player in your neighborhood who can teach you," says Miller who can count the number of bones players he knows in Missouri on one hand. "Most bones players I know learned from their father, grandfather, or an itinerant bones player. For the average person though, learning to play is simply not worth the effort, which is why skilled bones players are scarcer than hen's teeth." Indeed. The Rhythm Bones Society now totals just 117 members, which is more than any previous year.

How many people play bones? "I speculate there are tens of thousands of bones players in the world and to date we have found about 650," says Steve Wixson, secretary/treasurer of the Rhythm Bones Society and editor of 'Rhythm Bones Player,' the organization's quarterly newsletter. "Most of the first group can trace their bones playing to the end of the minstrel era," says Wixson, "or from a relative who learned from a minstrel show. These people have gray hair and are getting old. In one or two decades they will be gone and the number of bones players will be small. The work of our society is clear - pass on bones playing to the next generation."

"My hair is turning gray and age is catching up to me fast," affirms Miller, who turns 57 in February, adding, "I really haven't promoted my bones playing much, but I suppose I should. After all, there's not many opportunities for folks to see a live bones performance." As a stay-at-home dad with two small children and a wife who suffers frequent severe migraines, travelling for out-of-town gigs is difficult if not impossible. "At this point in time, my show biz 'career' is pretty much limited to local appearances when I can escape from home." Miller has been known to bring along one or both of the kids while their mom is home migraining. "As you can imagine, percussion and migraines don't mix well."

Bones Buddies
Miller says his skill level has taken a quantum leap forward during the past two years. He credits this breakthrough to exposure from world-class bones players he met through the Rhythm Bones Society. "I was also encouraged and propelled over the years by kind words from musicians and fans at jams, dances, music gigs, and events like the 'old-time music open mic night' at Griffins of Soulard, which is hosted by two prominent local fiddlers, Ted Vasquez and Barbara Weathers."

"Other prominent local musicians who have tolerated my rattlin' in Saint Louis include 'Banjo Billy' Mathews, Mike Saputo and his
'Boney Goat Band,' ragtime keyboardist Gale 'Gaslite' Foehner, and his blues playing son and daughter-in-law, 'The Fab Foehners.'

Another big influence, evidently, was the National Old-time Country & Bluegrass Music Festival where Miller appeared with a diverse variety of first-rate traditional country performers on eight different sound stages.

Miller played bones, spoons, and bodhran (Irish drum), this December with fiddler Charles Pool, and string player Joel Eissenberg on guitar and banjo. The trio performed in period costumes for an
'1804 Christmas Feast and Dance.' The event was put on by the Discovery Expedition of St. Charles reenactment group which is retracing all the steps of the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery Expedition, starting from Jefferson's home at Monticello.

He also recently appeared at a local benefit concert alongside traditional vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, Nancy Lippincott, as well as the
'Bates Street Blues Band.'

Miller gave a bones demonstration and workshop last Spring at the Southern Illinois Irish Festival in Carbondale, Illinois. He also joined sessions at McGurk's pub during the annual Mississippi River Celtic Fest held in Saint Louis last Spring with celebrated players Mary Bergin and Kevin Henry. "Later in the crowded pub, Mr. Henry, a distinguished Irish-born flute and pipe player from Chicago, acknowledged me with a smile and a hearty 'the bones player!' which really made my day," reflects Miller.

Last August Miller was a featured performer at 'Evanstock 2004: the Three-day Music Reunion Festival' in Evanston, Illinois, the town where Miller lived during his middle and high school years. "I played on stage with 'Diamond' Jim Greene, a steamin' Chicago-born traditional Delta blues player who now lives in Evanston." Their act got a standing ovation. "Of course Jim's stellar performance may have had something to do with it," laughs Miller.

A documentary of Evanstock is set for broadcast on Evanston Community TV and additional cable networks. A documentary video and performance dvd is targeted for release this year.

His major influences include these virtuoso players--
Aaron Plunkett: Multi-percussionist who played bones with the steerage band in the film,
'Titanic.'

Mel Mercier: Prominent Irish bones player, teacher, and researcher at University College Cork (Mel's father Peadar played bodhran and bones ten years with the legendary Irish band,
'The Chieftains').

Steve Brown: Executive Director of the Rhythm Bones Society and current two-time consecutive All-Ireland Bones Champion.

Artis The Spoonman: Seattle, Washington's legendary street busker who plays all kinds of cutlery, plus rhythm bones, on virtually every part of his body all at the same time.

Next Stop...Ireland?
"The world is not exactly jumping with bones players," says Miller. "We're few and far between." Bones players are so rare in fact, that only three bones contests are generally known to exist on the entire globe. "Each is in a different country," says Miller. "There's the event I won in Iowa, which is regarded among leading bones players as the world championship, and there's a similar competition in Australia. But the All-Ireland Bones Playing Competition held each May in Abbeyfeale, County Limerick," declares Miller, "is the most challenging and prestigious event."

So is a trip to Ireland in the cards for Miller? "With the two kids in school during that time, and their mom's frequent debilitating migraines...and considering the expense," he sighs, I doubt if I can go. "But I am 'boning up' just in case."

Coming Soon... To A Group, School, Or Museum Near You!

Winning the bones contest has inspired Miller to think about putting together a musical
'Bones Through the Ages' presentation. "It would give folks a chance to hear and enjoy the sound of this ancient instrument," says Miller who is enamored by anything historic. He hopes the idea will appeal to local civic groups, schools, museums, or a private sponsor.

"It's just a pipe dream for now though," says Miller. "But if it's going to happen, it's got to happen sooner than later, because after all," he confides, "I'm pushing sixty. So I'm afraid time is running out for rhythm bones in Saint Louis. Maybe someone else will come along and pick up the torch. But I wouldn't hold my breath on it. Skilled bones players are scarcer than hen's teeth, you know. So when I'm gone," Miller says ruefully, "odds are you'll never get a chance to see a live bones performance again in your lifetime." What a loss it would be for the community to see this ancient instrument fall by the wayside.

Something You Can Tell Your Grandchildren About
Although Miller has played rhythm bones for years and maintained a solid reputation as a first-rate player, it wasn't until after being declared the 2004 'World Bones' Champion that he began to achieve celebrity status among traditional musicians as a must-see bones wizard.

Saint Louis has a truly unique trouper in our midst. In his expert hands, the haunting rattle of rhythm bones enchants everyone who hears it. "To most people it's just clickety-clack," says Miller. But it's not every day we get to see a crackerjack bones player brandish those ancient instruments in a hot live performance. And this whiz-bang artist can make 'them bones' really sing too. Miller doesn't get out very often. If you are among those who have already seen this intriguing panoply of rhythm, then you can count yourself among the lucky few. When Miller rattles the bones you are witnessing a 'bone-a-fide' local legend. So if you ever get the chance to see him perform, don't miss the show. It will be something you can tell your grandchildren about.

Just A Pair Of Sticks
"After all is said and done," observes Miller, "rhythm bones are just a pair of sticks." Scott Miller takes great delight in playing a deceptively simple instrument few others can master.

Musicians, booking agents, and local impresarios interested in rhythm bones can contact Miller at www.rhythm-bones.com.

Interview Contact:
Scott Miller
3916 Iowa Ave
Saint Louis, MO 63118
314-772-1610 (res)
Online: Quick Contact Form

Web: http://rhythm-bones.com

National Traditional Country Music Association (NTCMA):
Bob Everhart, President
712-762-4363

Web: http://oldtimemusic.tipzu.com/34th-national-old-time-country-amp-bluegrass-festival/

Rhythm Bones Society (RBS):
Stephen Brown, Executive Director
(Two-time consecutive All-Ireland bone playing champion)
978-297-1104 (res)

Web: http://www.rhythmbones.com/

Or:

Steve Wixson, Secretary/Treasurer, Newsletter Editor
(previous 'world bones' champion)
423-886-1744


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© 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 Scott C. Miller