It is always a pleasure to interview any local musician and Dale Sullivan is one person that is kinda of quiet but has a very interesting musical journey. Dale is always a gentleman and person that you need to know. He is a good friend and loves to play music anytime, anyday. He knows more fiddle tunes than anyone I know and is still learning new songs after many decades. I hope you enjoy reading the interview.
BB: Can you tell me a little about your background? Where you from? Hobbies? etc
I was born at Fristoe
) attended grade School at Locust Ridge, a one room school house, and attended High School at Cross Timbers Missouri. I moved from Benton County Missouri to Kansas City
in 1944. I am an Army Veteran, having served in the occupation of Japan
in 1946 until 1948, and in the Korean war in 1950 and 1951. I started to College in1948, but it was interrupted by the Korean war, however I finished college in 1955, having earned BA and LLB-JD degrees.
BB: When did you get started in musical journey?
Both, my father and grandfather played the fiddle. When I was about 6 years of age, my father permitted me to play his fiddle. At about 11 years of age,
I had my own fiddle and a fiddle instruction book. At that time I learned to read music.
BB: What happened after that?
Part of the time while in college, I played for dances on Saturday nights at the Gay Nineties Square Dance Club who used the Odd Fellows Lodge at
and Hardesty in Kansas City, Missouri for their dances. The dance program usually called for two square dances and one waltz, polka, or schottische, and the dance sequence was repeated as needed. The band members were each paid $7.00 to $10.00 for playing music. It was there that I first met fellow band member, Holly Baker.
BB: Where did you go from there?
Dale: In the early 1980’s I formed the Missouri Town Band and played Contra Music for the Missouri Town Dancers and for Cloggers. For over 20 years I played music for the Lloyd Shaw Foundation, at week long dance program in Colorado, playing Jigs, Reels, Hornpipes, Waltzes, and English Country dance music for Square dances, Contra dances, English Dances, and other historic and ethnic dances.
BB: How did you get into Bluegrass or Old Time Music?
Dale: I don’t consider myself a Bluegrass Fiddler, but I like listen to it and attempt to play it.
BB: What is your favorite Bluegrass or Old Time Band or Artist? and who influenced you the most?
Dale: My favorite fiddler is Howard Forrester, and my favorite local fiddlers were John Journagan, Lyman Enlow and Johnny Bruce, all of whom are now deceased.
BB: What advice would you give to young people wanting to get started in Bluegrass or Old Time Music?
Dale: I believe young musicians should learn to read music. If one wishes to play dance music, most dance leaders wish to use specific music for their dances. Being able to read music is a wonderful tool to learn new tunes.
BB: What is your favorite Bluegrass or Old Time Festival or Magazine?
During the past 35 years I have frequently attended Bluegrass Festivals at Dixon
and Kahoka, MO.
BB: What is your favorite Bluegrass or Old Time instrument(s)?
Dale: Fiddle and Guitar.
BB: Anything else you want to say to wrap up this interview?
Dale: I play tennis and golf, and I like to fish and hunt; but by far my favorite pastime in playing music. I look forward to playing music most every day, and to get together with other musicians to play music.