Oklahoma’s Largest Collection of Fiddles Lost As Fire Destroys Double Stop Fiddle Shop

University of Oklahoma graduate Byron Berline has put together quite a career. The three-time National Fiddle Champion is well established as Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys, Berline was one of the most sought-after session fiddlers in the music industry, with a recording resume loaded with household names, including The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Elton John, The Byrds, Willie Nelson, the Band, The Eagles, The Doobie Brothers… the list keeps going.
After 26 enormously successful years in Los Angeles, Berline, who was born in Kansas and raised in Oklahoma, returned to the Sooner state with his wife, Bette, making Guthrie the couple’s new home.
He opened Double Stop Fiddle Shop in historic downtown Guthrie, boasting the largest collection of violins and bows in Oklahoma, as well as new and vintage guitars, mandolins and banjos. On the upper floor was the music hall, where the Byron Berline Band was formed in 1996.
For more than two decades, the band played regularly in the music hall, occasionally touring nationally and even as far away as China while Berline maintained his residence in Guthrie and operated Double Stop Fiddle Shop. It was the perfect second act of a story-book career.
But as the three-act structure dictates, crisis rears its ugly head during act two. Such was the case on Feb. 23, as a fire destroyed the Double Stop Fiddle Shop and virtually all of its inventory.
I use the word crisis rather than tragedy because, thankfully the building was unoccupied and nobody was hurt, but considering the vast collection of irreplaceable instruments that was lost, the word tragic doesn’t seem like hyperbole.
As is always the case when one of their own is in need, the local music community is rallying to help. A Facebook fundraising page, facebook.com/doublestopsupport, has been set up to help alleviate the costs associated with the cleanup and moving forward. The Community Church in Guthrie has become an alternate venue to the music hall, hosting the Byron Berline Band’s March 9 and March 23 shows. And, a benefit is scheduled for March 31 at Tower Theater in Oklahoma City. The benefit will feature a silent auction as well as performances by Jana Jae, The Bonhams, Steelwind, Red Dirt Rangers, and more. Check out towertheatreokc.com for the complete lineup and tickets.

Tulsa at SXSW
The Tulsa Office of Film, Music, Arts and Culture (FMAC) is once again giving Tulsa music a presence at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas.
Thirteen Tulsa bands will take the stage on March 14 beginning at 11 a.m.
From 11 a.m to 5 p.m., Augustine on Rainey will host the 5th annual Tulsa Boom Factory, featuring Combsy, Henna Roso, Eric Himan, Jared Tyler, Dialtone, Electric Billy Club and Nightingale.
From 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. is the 3rd annual Tulsa Music SXSW Showcase, featuring Broncho, Republican Hair, Casii Stephen, Branjae, Roots of Thought and Zunis.
Tulsa has maintained a presence at the internationally recognized festival since 2015 thanks to Tulsa FMAC, an organization dedicated to showing the world that Tulsa is a creative hub and a cultural destination.
Tulsa FMAC has been intrumental in garnering exposure for local artists and musicians, but the organization serves as more than a promoter. It’s also a valuable resource for creative industries, providing a database of film crew, musicians, artists, and creative support services, bringing people together to ensure that Tulsa’s creative industries continue to grow and flourish.
You can find the database at tulsafmac.com. The database is a great resource for creative professionals, and the rest of the website is a great resource for those of us who enjoy the arts – those of us who are on a mission to keep searching, keep listening.

About Post Author