California Gold Rush? Yes it is!

Hello everyone.  Hope your fall is getting off to a good start as we start to enjoy the wonderful weather.  Fall always brings out so many festivals.  For example I hope you can attend one of these festivals that I will be playing at:

September 28th:  Jamesport, MO, Heritage Days:  Featuring old time craters and dancers. Also includes our “Open Air Market”. This is one of the favorite festivals! Starting at 9AM. Click here for more details:

October 5-6th:  Missouri Town in Fleming Park, Lee’s Summit.  More details:

October 12th:  Arrowrock, MO:  (please scroll down to October Events

OK, beyond all the festivals.  I have embedded a video to get you going for your fall Gold Rush.  Actually, the video is a song written by Bill Monroe, entitled Gold Rush, and it is being played by a band entitled:  California.  Now you understand the title of this posting.  Hope you enjoy it!  Bill

It’s time for Home Grown Tomatoes (no kidding!)

.Early Girl TomatoesHello fellow bluegrassers.  You may be wondering what home grown tomatoes has to do with bluegrass.  Actually, there is a song called Home Grown Tomatoes written by Guy Clark.  I was first introduced to this song by Joe Wilkerson who is a regular attendee at most of the jam around the KC area.  The video below is a rendition by Jay Ungar and Molly Mason.

IMPORTANT REMINDER: Please check out the NEW “Buy or Sell” page.  You can also advertise any instrument or accessories of your own.  Just let me know by email at:

Hope you enjoy the video below.  By the way, the home grown tomatoes in the image is from my own garden.  The brand is “early girl”………….so why did it take so long?

A song about a dancing Ookpik?

Hello music friends.  You may be wondering what this particular posting has to do with music.  Well, it goes like this.  Today in Canada, there is a well known icon or mascot symbol that represents all types Canadian made crafts.   The symbol itself got its start in the early 1960’s and is an image of a cute little owl called an Ookpik.  Several children’s books have been written about this furry little creature and his adventures.  In addition, there are perhaps thousands of souvenir owls created that get displayed in several different shapes and sizes.  Almost all that I have seen has these characteristics:  he is cute, furry, large head and big eyes.  They are typically made from wolf fur or seal skins.   To give you a better view of the Ookpik, please click this link:  Ookpik Images

By now, you may be thinking….”Ok, I get it, but where does the dancing part come in?” The dancing part comes from a fiddle tune waltz that was written by the late British Columbia fiddler, Frankie Rodgers.  His song is titled:  “Ookpik Waltz”.  It is a beautiful waltz that is enjoyable to listen to and gives you a very relaxed feeling that makes you appreciate what was going through Mr Rodgers mind when he composed this wonderful piece of music.  To hear the song played by a young girl you can watch the video below:

I hope you enjoy this fiddle tune.  So now you can appreciate the title of this posting.  Can you imagine yourself dancing to this beautiful song (with a stuffed Ookpik).   Have a great day!


Are you someone’s flower?

Hello everyone!  Spring is the time for flowers and of course there is always some sort of bluegrass song to fit the occasion.  I have selected a song written by Mother Maybelle Carter.  The photo represents a spring flower called the Peonie.  They bloom every year around memorial day.  I wonder if this is what Mother Maybelle had in mind when she and Sara Carter wrote the song.

Do you have someone that is your flower?  Below is part of the lyrics.  Do you need to share this with someone special in your life?  Send them some flowers.  Life is short! Have a great day!

You Are My FlowerIMG_4707

When summertime is gone and snow begins to fall
You can sing this song and say to one and all
You are my flower that’s blooming in the mountains so high
You are my flower that’s blooming there for me.

So wear a happy smile and life will be worthwhile
Forget the tears and don’t forget to smile
You are my flower that’s blooming in the mountain so high
You are my flower that’s blooming there for me.

IMPORTANT:  If you are looking for some pictures of stringed instruments across the world, click now:


Announcing the New Heartland Website

Hello everyone.  Welcome to the new “Picking in the Heartland” Website.  This website is on a new platform and provides a lot more capability to provide information.  PLEASE BOOKMARK THIS NEW LINK: The old website will be shut down by the end of July and no longer available.  Also, as of today it will no longer be updated.  Let me know how you like it by sending an email to:

Also:  Don’t for get the next jam is scheduled for Friday, May 24th.  Hope you can make it!


Mother’s Day – Bluegrass Style

Hello everyone,
It won’t be long before it is mother’s day again.  As a matter of fact, it is May 12th.    I hope each of you remember your mother this mother’s day and show her how much you love and appreciate her.  For some our mother’s have passed away but her memory lingers in our hearts especially on mother’s day.  For others mother’s day can be a painful reminder, but you may have a grandmother, or other female that has loved you and taught you many things over the years that you can focus on and call or tell them how much they mean to you.  Life is short, do good!

Over the years, there have been many wonderful Bluegrass songs about mothers’.  One old bluegrass song is called: Shake my Mother’s hand for Me. I hope you enjoy it.

Brookside Bluegrass Festival – April 4th

Hello friends,
It was nice to see everyone at the jam last night.  There was some mighty fine picking going on and one of the Anderson boys won the Stanley Brothers, 2 pack CD.

I wanted to make a special announcement about the Brookside Bluegrass Festival, featuring the  Daily and Vincent on April 4th, 2013 at 7:00pm at Wornall Road Baptist Church  Please click the church’s link to get directions.

Dailey and Vincent are a Grammy nominated group (in 2012 and 2013) and IBMA group of the year among the most in demand bluegrass groups in the world.  Don’t miss this chance to experience Dailey and Vincent in the historic and intimate setting of Wornall Road Baptist Church, Thursday April 4th at 7:00 P.M.  Limited to 400 seats be sure to get your tickets early.  Bringing world class musicians to the heart of Brookside is just one more way we enjoy serving our neighbors.

IMPORTANT:  The Dailey and Vincent  performance will be opened by a local bluegrass family band.  Below is a quote from their website.  Read more about them below and click on their website link to find out how to get discount tickets to the festival.

Anderson FamilyAnderson Bluegrass is a family of seven brothers and their sister. By either taking lessons or picking up an instrument on their own they certainly have talent in music. Whether singing or picking, they have found the bluegrass genre to be a favorite.We want to be an encouragement to those for whom we play.  We play traditional bluegrass, gospel, many hymns, and also songs written for us or written by us.  You don’t want to miss this event so sign up early.  Hope to see you there!

Bill Barker
Banjo Info

Some Day – Blue Highway

Hello friends,
It has been a while since I posted an update to this website.  If you remember, we cancelled our February jam due to the snow storm.   So now it is time to get back in the swing of things at the “Picking in the Heartland Jam”.  Our next jam is March 22nd at 6:30 so I hope you can make it.   Don’t forget we have a free CD give away each month.  Please invite your friends.

Here lately, I have been listening to one of my favorite band, being “Blue Highway”.   They have so many great songs but I really enjoy a song called “Lonesome Pine” and wanted to share it today.  There harmonies are fantastic and they are just a bunch of great musicians.  I am not sure if they wrote the song, but they sure do a great job of performing it.  Hope you enjoy it as well.

This is one of the best bluegrass songs.

I can’t resist to share this video also.  WOW, what harmony and a great message!  Enjoy.

Star of Bethlehem

Hello everyone.  If you are like me, this time of the year is very busy due to all of the Christmas holiday activities of buying gifts, planning family get togethers, attending church candlelight services to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, attending grandkids Christmas programs or concerts and the list goes on. 
However, I also love some of the Christmas bluegrass songs.  One of my favorite Christmas bluegrass songs is “Beautiful Star of Bethelem”.  It has been recorded by so many talented musicians, but I really like the version as sang by Patty Loveless and her group.  Below is the youtube version:

REMINDER:  DON’T FORGET TO ATTEND THE KC BLUEGRASS CLUB THIS FRIDAY, DECEMBER 14TH.  See the link on the right side for the link and directions.

Hope to see you there.