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Byron Berline shares stories of notable music career in new book

Guthrie's Byron Berline has recorded with The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Elton John, The Doobie Brothers, Willie Nelson and Rod Stewart, among other top musicians.
BY DINO LALLI Published: July 14, 2013

It's very impressive when you think The Rolling Stones called Byron Berline to record with them.

Berline, of Guthrie, has also recorded with Bob Dylan, Elton John, The Doobie Brothers, Willie Nelson and Rod Stewart, just to drop a few names.

To put it simply, musical legend Berline, given the names with whom he's recorded, is not only an enormously talented, gifted musician, but he also is quite humble and very funny. He's just the kind of person whose easygoing nature makes it fun to be around him.

Berline tells many of his stories in a new book, “Byron Berline: A Fiddler's Diary,” published in April by New Forums Press.

Berline started playing the fiddle at age 5. He ran track for the University of Oklahoma and received a degree in physical education but ended up working in Los Angeles for 26 years. He and his wife moved back to Oklahoma in 1996 and soon opened the Double Stop Fiddle Shop and Music Hall in Guthrie.

Berline's father had been a fiddle collector for many years, but in 1987, Byron started collecting.

In his folksy way, Berline told me about collecting:

“It just kind of gets into you like a rusty fish hook, an old man told me one time,” Berline said. “And it does, you know, I love trading and selling and swapping instruments.”

At his shop in Guthrie, you'll find a rather large selection of violins or fiddles, whatever you prefer to call them. When I asked Berline what's the difference between a violin and a fiddle, he told me, “There's no difference. A lot of people think there's a difference between a fiddle and a violin. So I say what's the difference between a car and an automobile? And they say, ‘Oh, I guess there's nothing.'” And then Berline laughs.

On selected Saturday evenings, you can hear Berline and his very talented band play upstairs in the music hall. He has many season ticket holders, but you can also call in advance to make sure they aren't sold out.

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