Berline, Byron


  • From Caldwell, Kansas. Currently lives in Guthrie, Oklahoma.
  • Three-time national fiddle champion (the Weiser Old Time Fiddle Championships).
  • Began playing fiddle at age 5.
  • Attended the University of Oklahoma on an athletic scholarship. Played football for coach Bud Wilkinson during his freshman and sophomore years. Switched to track for his junior and senior years, setting school records in the javelin throw.
  • While at OU, he met the Dillards (on Nov. 22, 1963—the day John Kennedy was assassinated) who were performing on campus. This was his first exposure to bluegrass music. After a short jam session in the parking lot, they asked him to record with them. The resulting album (called “Pickin’ and Fiddlin'”) was released on Electra Records in 1964, while Byron was still in college.
  • 1967, joined Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys. He played fiddle on the original recording of “Gold Rush” which he co-wrote with Monroe.
  • 1969, after moving to Los Angeles, joined the Dillard and Clark Expedition with Doug Dillard and Gene Clark (later called the Dillard Expedition) and the Flying Burrito Brothers. He also began doing recording sessions for movies, TV shows and albums by many popular artists including the Byrds, the Rolling Stones, Stephen Stills, the Eagles, Mason Williams and Linda Rondstadt.
  • 1972, formed the Country Gazette (which spun off of the Flying Burrito Brothers) with Roger Bush (bass), Alan Munde (banjo) and Kenny Wertz (guitar).
  • 1977, formed Byron Berline and Sundance. Vince Gill (age 19) was a member of this band. Recorded several albums including Live at McCabe’s (Tacoma).
  • 1978, formed the L.A. Fiddle Band with fiddlers Bruce Johnson and Dennis Fetchet.
  • 1980, formed BCH (Berline, Dan Crary, John Hickman).
  • 1985, worked with the Doo Wah Riders, an LA-based country band.
  • 1990, formed California (BCH plus Steve Spurgin and John Moore.)
  • While in L.A., he performed on numerous movie soundtracks including “Urban Cowboy”, “Back to the Future III”, and “The Rose.” He had a bit part in the movie “Basic Instinct” starring Sharon Stone.
  • He appeared in one episode of the original TV series “Star Trek.” Played a crew member of the Starship Enterprise who traveled back in time and found himself a violinist in a classical string quartet.
  • 1994, appeared on the TV show “Evening Shade.”
  • 1995, moved from Los Angeles to Guthrie, Oklahoma where he opened a music store called Byron’s Double Stop Fiddle Shop and Concert Hall.
  • 1996, his album Fiddle and a Song (Sugar Hill) was nominated for a Grammy Award. The album featured guest performances by Bill Monroe and Earl Scruggs (together), Vince Gill, Mason Williams, others.
  • 1997, formed The Byron Berline Band which features both bluegrass and western swing. Performs regularly at the Fiddle Shop Concert Hall in Guthrie.
  • Hosts the annual International Bluegrass Music Festival in Guthrie, featuring bands from all over the world.
  • 2003, re-united with California to make several appearances and to record a new album.
  • 2005. toured China with his band.
  • 2012, received IBMA’s Distinguished Achievement Award.
  • 2013, was inducted into the National Fiddlers Hall of Fame.
  • 2013, his autobiography Byron Berline: Diary of a Fiddler was released.
  • 2019, his Double Stop Fiddle Shop and Concert Hall in Guthrie, OK burned to the ground, destroying his inventory of instruments and memorabilia. He was able to open a new shop and concert hall in a new building across the street from the old one.
  • 2021, died at the age of 77. He was unable to recover from a series of strokes.