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Jody Stecher – Toy Heart: A Podcast About Bluegrass

Apr 9, 2024

Jody Stecher – Toy Heart: A Podcast About Bluegrass

For the latest episode of Toy Heart, we embark on a journey through the primordial musical ooze that birthed bluegrass, old-time, and country music with the incredible Jody Stecher. A multi-instrumentalist adept in many styles and traditions – he even plays sarod, a Hindustani instrument – Stecher’s entire career is a fascinating case study in the interconnectedness of American folk music styles.


Host Tom Power begins their engaging and philosophical conversation by asking Stecher about his childhood in New York City. A grandchild of Eastern European immigrants, he “discovered” country and bluegrass like many in his generation, listening to the Wheeling Jamboree radio program on WWVA and hearing first generation pickers like the Osborne Brothers and Jimmy Martin & the Sunny Mountain Boys, including “Baby Crowe,” a young, just-hired banjo player who went by “J.D.” Soon after, Stecher replaced mandolinist (and one-day industry power player) Ralph Rinzler in bluegrass band The Greenbriar Boys, before joining another group, the New York Ramblers.

From those early years, cutting his teeth in local, regional, and eventually national outfits to iconic albums like Going Up On The Mountain and his current status as a venerated expert and acclaimed elder in American roots music, Jody Stecher utilizes music and his expertise to demonstrate how blurry the lines really are between these folk genres. Power and Stecher discuss teaching, David Grisman – and collaborating with Jerry Garcia! – meditation and music, early sounds and recordings by folks like Bill Monroe and the Stanley Brothers, being a member of Peter Rowan’s band, his duo with Kate Brislin, Utah Phillips, and so much more.

Whether you’re a lifelong fan of roots music or new to these scenes, Tom Power and Jody Stecher’s Toy Heart episode will inspire, highlighting stories, traditions, and techniques that make bluegrass, old-time, and country music exactly what they are today.

Photo Credit: Eric Thompson

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Jody Stecher – Toy Heart: A Podcast About Bluegrass
Jody Stecher – Toy Heart: A Podcast About Bluegrass