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  • New Release: The Dust Busters Make Old-Time New on Old Man Below

    Old Man Below is a collaboration between Brooklyn, New York-based folk trio The Dust Busters and their mentor, folk music legend John Cohen of The New Lost City Ramblers.

    The 20-song collection features old-time American folk, jug band blues, fiddle tunes, and ballads passed down through earlier generations of folk musicians and learned from 1920s and ’30s recordings. John Cohen has helped guide The Dust Busters (all in their 20s) since the group formed in 2008 and began visiting Cohen’s home in Putnam Valley, New York, to jam, cook, and soak up as much of the music and its history as possible.

    “The Dust Busters start where the New Lost City Ramblers left off, evoking the golden age of the 1920s and 1930s.” – John Cohen

    “The words and music in these songs reveal human stories that anyone can relate to.”
    –The Dust Busters’ Eli Smith

    Listen to a sneak preview of Old Man Below

    Watch a performance of “Two Soldiers” live from the Jalopy Theatre in Brooklyn, NY

    Upcoming Tour Dates:

    Thursday, September 6 at the Jalopy Theatre in Brooklyn, New York (Album Release Concert w/ John Cohen) (

    Saturday, September 22 at Brooklyn College in Brooklyn, New York (Woody Guthrie tribute w/ John Cohen, Arlo Guthrie, Billy Bragg, Steve Earle, Judy Collins, and many more) (

    About the Dust Busters
    Originally hailing from New York City, Minnesota, and Seattle respectively, Eli Smith, Walker Shepard, and Craig Judelman met while performing with Peter Stampfel of the Holy Modal Rounders (an influential ’60s-era New York City folk group) and formed The Dust Busters soon after. On ‘Old Man Below,’ the group’s third album following two self-released efforts, the musicians share lead vocals and a wide variety of instruments: fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin harmonica, pump organ, piano, “manjo,” “bantar,” jew’s harp, and fiddle sticks. The Dust Busters honor the sound and spirit of past generations of folk musicians by putting the music in a modern context.

    The Dust Busters have appeared at numerous festivals and gatherings such as the Clifftop Appalachian String Band Festival in Clifftop, West Virginia; the Dock Boggs Festival in Norton, VA; the Black Banjo Gathering at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina; South by Southwest in Austin; and the Brooklyn Folk Festival in Brooklyn, NY. They have also appeared at venues including Club Passim in Cambridge, Massachusetts; the Jalopy Theatre in Brooklyn; and the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, and have been guests on and the Wood Songs Old Time Radio Hour and Sound Check with John Schaefer (WNYC 93.9 FM).

    In addition to performing with The Dust Busters, Eli Smith produces two New York City folk festivals annually (the Brooklyn Folk Festival in the spring and Washington Square Park Folk Festival in the fall) and is the host of the Down Home Radio Show, “a hardcore, unreconstructed, paleo-acoustic folk music podcast.”

    About John Cohen
    John Cohen, widely heralded as a master of American folk music, is primarily known as a founding member of The New Lost City Ramblers, one of the most important groups of the folk music revival that recorded dozens of albums for Folkways Records. In this role he is handing his expertise down to The Dust Busters and a brand new generation of old-time music enthusiasts.

    Also a renowned photographer, filmmaker, and music collector, he was the subject of The Smithsonian Network’s recent documentary film, “Play On, John: A Life in Music.”

    For more information please visit:

    New Release: The Dust Busters Make Old-Time New on Old Man Below | Smithsonian Folkways Recordings