In June of 1978 David and Annette Lindsey vacationed in Branson, MO and visited Silver Dollar City. They were able to hear (not see) the hammered dulcimer being played in the park and went to investigate the beautiful sound. What they had discovered was the hammered dulcimer. When they got home David decided to ask his co-teacher and guitar-playing friend, Dana Hamilton, if he had ever heard of the instrument. He had received an album for Christmas called "The Hammered Dulcimer" featuring Bill Spence. On a trip to Colorado later that summer, David, Annette, Dana and his wife, Judy, found hammered dulcimer kits at Hughes Dulcimer Company out of Denver, CO and decided to purchase the "deluxe model" for $50! It was a 9/8 kit. The guys came home and put it together and figured out they could probably play the thing if they could build one that would stay tuned. And they did. And, as the saying goes, the rest is history. But to preserve history, perhaps it should be written down for posterity's sake.
Judy and Annette picked up the mountain dulcimer at McSpadden's Dulcimer Shoppe in Mountain View, AR during a trip to the Ozark Folk Center's Dulcimer Jamboree in April of 1979. This was where Dana and David first saw someone other than themselves playing a hammered dulcimer. So the two hammered dulcimers and two mountain dulcimers formed the band. First called The Ozark Outcasts when they played their first gigs on July 4, 1979 in Arlington TX and at the Forum 303 Mall in the fall, the girls refused to be called that name when the big gig came along at the Grapevine Opry. And so the band came up with the name Sweet Song String Band since dulcimer means sweet sound. They were joined by their first guitar player, Bill Heckler. They added another guitar player, Mike Druey, soon after that. Since that time the band has changed its members a few times, with Annette and David staying as the original members at all times. Bill, Mike, and Kevin Alewine have come and gone as guitarists for the band over the years. Larry Wheat was guitarist and fiddler for the band while his wife, Karel, was the dance master and played rhythm instruments. The band now consists of David and Annette Lindsey, Betty Odum on banjo and mountain dulcimer, and Dana and Judy Hamilton. Betty Odum has been with the band since 1982, Dana and Judy rejoined the band several years ago. Annette has transitioned from mountain dulcimer to playing backup piano for the band and Dana has assumed the duties of the dance caller.
The very popular Lone Star State Dulcimer Festival was founded in 1982 as a result of forming the Lone Star State Dulcimer Society June 13 during the heat wave of 1980. It was 113 degrees that day! Thirty people attended the first club meeting at Randol Mill Park in Arlington, TX. In 1999 David and Annette moved to Bennington, OK and managed to keep Sweet Song String Band together. They helped form the Red River Valley Dulcimer Club which sponsors the Winter Creek Reunion festival in October of each year.
Sweet Song String Band has played numerous festivals, concerts, folk life festivals, parties, dances, and street busking all over the United States, as well as Ireland and China. To book a gig by the band call Annette Lindsey 580-916-0441 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.