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Oklahoman Kyle Dillingham & Horseshoe Road selected for 35-day world tour

American Voices administers the American Music Abroad program on behalf of the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
BY BRYAN PAINTER bapinter@opubco.com Published: February 16, 2013

The question posed to Kyle Dillingham could have seemed complicated.

Instead the Oklahoma City resident answered it the same way he addresses many things in life: with music.

The question came when Dillingham & Horseshoe Road auditioned last year in St. Louis for the American Music Abroad program. The band was selected from a few hundred groups nationwide for the 2013 program.

The 35-day world tour begins March 11 in Washington, D.C., and continues to South Korea, Taiwan, Myanmar and Russia. Dillingham, fiddle and vocals, is joined by Peter Markes, guitar and vocals, and Brent Saulsbury, upright bass and vocals.

At a point during the auditions, Dillingham was asked to imagine he was going to be somewhere in the Middle East and was sent to a classroom of students who are learning to play music and don't speak English.

“They asked, ‘What are you going to do?'” the 34-year-old said. “I said, ‘Well, the very first thing I would do is I would just try to make a connection, I would try to play just a little bit of music that they might be familiar with.'”

Dillingham picked up the violin and played “Nassam Alayna Al Hawa” by the Lebanese singer Fairouz.

“I said this will mean something to these kids and it will be a point of connection that they can then enter into seeing who we are and what we're going to do in a different light,” he said.

American Voices administers the American Music Abroad program on behalf of the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

“It's a touring program intended to take American artists of all different kinds overseas and exposing particularly the more rural audiences of those countries,” Dillingham said, “to American music, American culture and hopefully American goodwill and promoting good relations among our countries.”

Enid to Thailand

The Enid native has often been told it appears as though the violin is just part of his 6-foot-2, 150-pound frame.

Dillingham picked it up when he was 9 and by age 17 was on the Grand Ole Opry stage in Nashville, Tenn.

In 2011, Dillingham and Horseshoe Road were winners of the International Acoustic Music Award in the country/bluegrass category.

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