The name "Skirtlifters" comes from the way long skirts
gracefully flared out while women danced to this spirited music!


             Banjo Billy's Store             Skirtlifters Store                     Home          History of Banjo Billy         Discography     
The Original Skirtlifters were a group of professional musicians who collected and performed the kind of old-time string band music found throughout the South, Midwest, and Northern urban centers of America in the 19th and 20th centuries. 

Using fiddle, banjo, banjolin, mandolin, guitar, bowed bass, and vocals, the band performed a varied program of American rags, gallops, breakdowns, marches, songs, and minstrel tunes, giving brief historical notes throughout the program.  The Skirtlifters hailed from Northwest Arkansas, where the musical influence of the early settlers was still felt.

Unlike many contemporary performers who sought a musical fusion of various styles ( jazz, country rock, etc.), the Skirtlifters sought authenticity and the preservation of the traditional genres as they wee performed in their historical settings.  As banjoist Clarke Buehling noted, "That doesn't make an evening with the Skirtlifters dull...this old time music,"  he said, "is exceptionally dynamic, exciting, and spirited when it is performed as it was originally intended."  Audiences always had a good time hearing these authentic American sounds, often for the first time. 
Although ladies have been known to shriek and faint at the mere mention of our name, the Skirtlifters are in fact a roundup of crackerjack musicians, who play the kind of old-time string band music found throughout America in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Using the fiddle, banjo, guitar and upright bass, we offer a varied program of rags, breakdowns, ballads, minstrel tunes, and weird songs of unknown origin.  You can sit and listen or get up and dance, be it contra, square, hot hash or hoe down.

We believe in the historical importance of these musical traditions, and we seek to promote a greater understanding of the nature and worth of classic American dance and parlor music among young and old, urban and rural, knowledgeable and naive.  We strive to educate, but we concentrate on entertaining, for this music is, after all, fun; we know it is for us.
***taken from Skirtlifter promotional material***

The music is entertaining and is played with a verve and fidelity that shows these players really understand the original tunes"
.... Hank Sapoznik Old Time Herald 2/1989

"...The Skirtlifters were the most remarkable act we had on that year....In one mighty swoop that night they captured the hearts of every acoustic music lover in mid-America."  ....Bob Everhart, President  National Country Music Association

"The Skirtlifters trouped on stage in vintage 1890's duds:  frock coats, vests, and plug hats, and proceeded to dazzle the audience.  They not only looked grand, but they put on a fine show and played an incredible blend of square dance tunes, bizarre old songs, and early ragtime and pre-ragtime banjo pieces" ....Bob Bovee  Inside Bluegrass

"The Skirtlifters will lift your spirits...The group is quite good and any fan of bluegrass or traditional American music would enjoy them..."
Mark Marymont Arkansas Gazette, November 13, 1988

Bill Mathews: Guitar and Banjo
Like all of the band members, Bill plays several stringed instruments.  His rock-solid guitar rhythm is the keystone of the Skirtlifters.  When not performing with the band he builds banjos and produces tapes of his fiddle and banjo playing under the Phippsburg Banjo Company name.

Clarke Buehling:  Banjo and Vocals
Recognized widely for his faithful renditions of classic, finger-style banjo solos, Clarke is equally adept at demonstrating the obscure dance                rhythms of the early minstrel stage banjos.  Much of the material of the Skirtlifters is based around his collection of nineteenth century banjo, mandolin and violin instruction books and sheet music.  Clarke teaches banjo, fiddle, mandolin and guitar in Fayetteville, Arkansas, performs with the North Arkansas Symphony and is Orchestra Director for the American Banjo Fraternity.

Jim LansfordFiddle and Mandolin
A native of northern New Jersey, Jim's understanding of numerous fiddle styles has led him to tour professionally throughout the country with several Ozarks-based music shows.  He has lived in the Ozarks of Arkansas and Missouri for the last fifteen years.  Jim is a collector of antique stringed and free-reed instruments.

Richard "Curly" Miller:  Fiddle and Mandolin
Curly's able assistance on both mandolin and violin adds to the rich texture of our arrangements.  His inventiveness and understanding of music comes from being born into a musical family, from practical ensemble 
                                                                                       experience and from a  wide interest in ethnic music.

Pete HowardBass
Pete, a native Arkansan, studied violin at the University of Arkansas, and has performed as a member of the Fort Smith and North Arkansas Symphony Orchestras as well as several folk ensembles in Fayetteville.  He has as ongoing interest in folk music of all areas of the globe, and is currently teaching in the Fayetteville Public Schools

*taken from promotional Skirtlifters material of the 1990's

                                                                    SKIRTLIFTERS STORE
                          FIRE ALARM (1990)
    Footlight Favorites
    Old Joe/Indian Ate A Woodchuck
    The Hartford Jig/A Creole Dream/The Fire Alarm
    The Smiler (Joplin Rag)
   Texas Gals/Pike's Peak
    By The Watermelon Vine (Lindy Lou)
   Buckley's Walk Around
   The Washington Post March        
   March "Impromptu"                                 
   Garden City Reel
   Dixie Girl
   I've Got A Bulldog/Fort Smith Breakdown
   Whistling Rufus
  Old Bowery Jig/Wabash Jig
The Celebrated Skirtlifter Waltz (Otto's Waltz)
                      Fire Alarm      $15.00 +  s&h                                                                                                   
                                                                                SOMEWHERE IN DIXIE (1987)
Side A Side B
To the Front Somewhere in Dixie
Old Grey Goose The Clam Soup Man
Pond Creek Bottom Down Georgia
Honolulu Cakewalk Booth Shot Lincoln
A Creole's Dream Cotton Pickens
Plantation Jig Going Around This World
I'm Going Over the Mountains Tommy Turner's Jig
Getting Upstairs / Sandy Boys The Wounded Hoosier
On the Mill Dam (Gallop) The Wild West (Gallop)
The Musicians:
Billy Mathews
- Guitar, Banjo, Banjolin   
Clarke Buehling
- Banjo, Vocals
Marie Wade - Fiddle Bass
 David Harlan - Bowed Bass
Hawk Hubbard - Fiddle, Guitar, Banjolin

                  SOMEWHERE IN DIXIE               $15.00 +  s&h                                                                           

          Banjo Billy's Store                      Home                       History of Banjo Billy                      Discography     

Select Skirtlifters Performances  1987- 1995
Osage Valley Pumpkin Festival       Osage, Arkansas
The Oyster Bar  Little Rock, Arkansas
Georges Majestic Lounge   Fayetteville, Arkansas
The Crescent Hotel Eureka Springs, Arkansas   
Brandywine Mountain Music Convention     Delaware
The Station Inn  Nashville, Tennessee
The Ozark Folk Center  MMountain View, Arkansas
Ramblin' Conrads Norfolk, Virginia/span>
Silver Dollar City Music Festival      Branson, Missouri
National Traditional Country Music Association's Festival  Avoca, Iowa
Osage Valley Pumpkin Festival Osage, Arkansas
George's Majestic Lounge Fayetteville, Arkansas
Reeds Spring House Concert Series  Reeds Spring, Missouri
Parker Mountain Bluegrass Festival Springdale, Arkansas
The Rose & The Thistle-  The Fiddle & Bow Society      Winston Salem, North Carolina
   Osage Valley Pumpkin Festival   Osage, Arkansas     
The Old Farmers Ball                                                          Swannanoa, North Carolina
The Arkansas Folk Festival Mountain View Arkansas
The Ozark Folk Center Mountain View Arkansas
Ozark Foothills Guild Show Mountain View, Arkansas
The Station Inn   Nashville, Tennessee
Silver Dollar City Music Festival  Branson, Missouri
HHouse Concert Series at The Vandervert Center Springfield, Missouri
Mid-America Bluegrass Jamboree to Benefit  American Cancer Society Sedalia, Missouri  
Osage Valley Pumpkin Festival  Osage, Arkansas
Old Town Grain & Feed Fort Smith,  Arkansas
The Folk Life Festival     Hannibal, Missouri
Parker Mountain Bluegrass Festival  Springdale, Arkansas
Riverfest                                                               Little Rock , Arkansas                                                          
Mud Island Festival     Memphis, Tennessee
Osage Valley Pumpkin Festival Osage, Arkansas 
                                 Piccolo Spoleto Festival                                                        Charleston, South Carolina 
The Ozark Folk Center Mountain View, Arkansas
The Arkansas Folk Festival Mountain View, Arkansas
Ozark Foothills Guild Show Mountain View, Arkansas
Warren Wilson College Ashville, North Carolina
The Black Mountain Festival                            Black Mountain, North Carolina                                               
McDibbs Black Mountain, North Carolina 
Chicago Barn Dance    Chicago, Illinois   
David Adler Cultural Center Libertyville, Illinois
Ragtime Rendezvous Union Station, St. Louis, Missouri
Calvin Opera House  "In One Era And Out The Other "   Washington, Missouri
Elkhorn Valley Festival  Freemont, Nebraska
Old Town Grain & Feed Fort Smith, Arkansas
Teachers Association Annual Picnic  Cosmic Caverns, Missouri
Riverfest Little Rock , Arkansas
Old Time Days Fort Scott, Kansas
The Sunfest   Bartlesville, Oklahoma
Osage Valley Pumpkin Festival  Osage, Arkansas
Old Town School of Folk Music and Dance  
The Ozark Folk Center    Mountain View, Arkansas
The Arkansas Folk Festival   Mountain View, Arkansas
Chicago Barn Dance Chicago, Illinois   
Minnesota Bluegrass & Old Time Music Festival   Minnesota
Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival  Sedalia, Missouri
Ragtime Rendezvous @ The Scott Joplin House St. Louis, Missouri
The Station Inn  Nashville, Tennessee
Annual AFL/CIO Picnic Winslow, Arkansas
The 36th Club  Fayetteville, Arkansas
Fall Creek Resort  Branson, Missouri
Teachers Association Annual Picnic Cosmic Caverns, Missouri
Friends Of The Church Reeds Spring, Missouri
Reeds Spring Fall Fest   Reeds Spring, Missouri
Riverfest    Little Rock , Arkansas
Osage Valley Pumpkin Festival Osage, Arkansas  
Old Town School of Folk Music and Dance  
Art Center Of The Ozarks - Bernice Jones Theatre    Springdale, Arkansas
Annual AFL/CIO Picnic Winslow, Arkansas
 James Scott International Ragtime Festival  Carthage, Missouri
Ragtime Revelry        Kansas City, Missouri
Rawhide Festival Sedalia, Missouri
Springfield Arts Council "First Night Festival"     Springfield, Missouri
Mid America Arts Alliance Concert  University of Central Arkansas
Willow Tree Festival Gordon, Nebraska
The Iron Horse    Eldorado, Kansas
Cross Currents House Concert               Kansas City, Missouri
Mid-American Arts Alliance Concert University of Southern Arkansas
Kansas Arts Alliance  St. Francis, Kansas
Other Skirtlifters Performances
Boyd Music Center Little Rock, Arkansas
David Adler Cultural Center Libertyville, Illinois
The Unitarian Church Concert Little Rock, Arkansas
Siloam Springs Arts Council Siloam Springs, Arkansas
Overton Park Band Shell Memphis, Tennessee
The Video Saloon Bloomington, Indiana

                                                                                        Home                                                              back to top