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Obit: Bill Hinkley b. 1942 d. 25-May-2010

Jim Dixon 21 May 10 - 10:38 AM
Jim Dixon 21 May 10 - 04:12 PM
GUEST 22 May 10 - 02:23 AM
BusyBee Paul 22 May 10 - 06:03 AM
Jim Dixon 23 May 10 - 02:22 PM
Amos 23 May 10 - 05:25 PM
Jim Dixon 25 May 10 - 05:29 PM
GUEST,Kiyohide Kunizaki 24 Jun 10 - 11:00 AM
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Subject: Bill Hinkley in hospice care 21-May-2010
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 21 May 10 - 10:38 AM

Bill Hinkley, of the duo Bill Hinkley and Judy Larson, is in hospice care at Veterans Hospital in Minneapolis.

Notice in Marya Hart's blog.

Today's St. Paul Pioneer Press had 2 photos and a long caption:
    Friends jam with Bill Hinkley

    Friends of Bill Hinkley got together Thursday afternoon for a jam session at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center dedicated to Bill Hinkley. An original member of the "Prairie Home Companion" performing cast, Hinkley (left) has taught hundreds of local students guitar, fiddle, mandolin and banjo. Joined by his wife and musical partner Judy Larson, Hinkley was inducted into the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame and eared a lifetime achievement award from the Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Association. Hinkley is in the hospice wing, suffering from a blood disorder. Below: The jam session featured Hinkley (sitting in the wheelchair), Peter Ostroushko on fiddle, guitarist Karl Burke and fiddler Tom Schaefer.
There are several musicians and other people in the photo whom I can't identify, but I recognize Spider John Koerner in the background.

I searched the Pioneer Press's web site and didn't find that—It might be because it was only a photo and caption and not an article as such. I know they generally don't include many photos on their web site.

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Subject: RE: Bill Hinkley in hospice care 21-May-2010
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 21 May 10 - 04:12 PM

I've been collecting information about Bill. It's difficult. Bill and Judy are low-tech kinda people, and, as far as I know, never had their own web site, not even a page on FaceBook or MySpace. (There is, however, a MySpace page for The Sorry Muthas, of which Bill and Judy were members.)

I did find these other web sites, but I'm sad to report that the information in them is mostly redundant.

profile at the Homestead Pickin' Parlor - where Bill taught.

Profile of Bill & Judy in Minnesota Folk Artists Directory

Profile at the "West Bank Boogie" web site

Profile at Red House Records

Profile at West Bank School of Music

Profile at Prairie Home Companion web site

Tribute at the Jug Band Hall of Fame

There are lots of videos on YouTube, though. I'll start collecting them when I have time.

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Subject: RE: Bill Hinkley in hospice care
Date: 22 May 10 - 02:23 AM

Thanks to Saul Brody, who suggested I post this on Mudcat. I sent a very similar message to as many of the lists I'm on yesterday, Thursday morning, hoping to get the word out to friends of Bill Hinkley and Judy Larson who live away from the Twin Cities. FYI, for those who use Facebook, there is also a "Friends of Bill and Judy" page -- just created today by one of our locals -- at!/pages/Friends-of-Bill-Hinkley-and-Judy-Larson/119160998122650?ref=ts

Tremendous number of posts already, and lots of memories and photographs. I expect it will be a rich resource for Bill and Judy's friends. Judy is surrounded by love.

Here's the post from yesterday I mentioned above.

I suspect that some of you may know Bill Hinkley and Judy Larson, who have for around 40 years been at the center of the acoustic music scene in the Twin Cities, and who performed all over the place in earlier years. Bill taught hundreds (thousands?) of students to play guitar, fiddle, mandolin, banjo, and who knows what else.

Bill is at the end stages of his life in the hospice wing of the VA Hospital in Minneapolis, suffering from a blood disorder in which your bone marrow makes too many red blood cells. I spent the afternoon yesterday with him, along with a bunch of other friends, and he is quite weak. However, he was obviously listening to the music around him. As Willie Murphy said, "I can see Bill frown every time I play a clam."

I don't want to overstate it, but Bill has been a unique presence in local music, and the nurses and staff say they've never seen anything like the stream of folks coming in to see him. Adam Granger has been helping care for Bill for weeks, and is at the hospital every day. Garrison Keillor spent Monday evening and several other visits with Bill and Judy. Here is his reflection from his Facebook page: "Garrison Keillor is visiting a dying friend and welcoming the spring. The knowledge of death seems to quicken the step and then the gorgeousness of life slows us down. Back and forth, back and forth. God forgive us if we do not love this life as we should." Tim O'Brien sent a package to Bill yesterday, from his tour in the UK. Peter Ostroushko was jamming in his room the other night. Bill is an incredibly humble, kind and generous man who has touched many musical lives.

The big deal Thursday, May 20, was that the hospital made available a very large room at 3:00 for a jam – Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull, Papa John Kolstad, Willie Murphy, and many other folks played with Bill in the middle of the circle. He was able to pick a little, sing a little, and feel the love of his friends a lot. The hospital seemed very excited to host this jam.

Anyway, I'm trying to share this with as many folks as possible on as many lists as possible, so if you see it again, sorry about that. If you know Bill and/or Judy, think about sending a card to the hospital. He'll get it.


Don Venne
Minneapolis, Minnesota

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Subject: RE: Bill Hinkley in hospice care 21-May-2010
From: BusyBee Paul
Date: 22 May 10 - 06:03 AM

I may be on the other side of the pond but I feel touched and humbled by this. What a wonderful way to "end your day".

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Subject: RE: Bill Hinkley in hospice care 21-May-2010
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 23 May 10 - 02:22 PM

These are all the videos I was able to find today. I think more will be added soon.


Click - Adam Granger interviews Bill Hinkley, interspersed with music. Bill talks about his first guitar, his early liking for country music & bluegrass, meeting John Hartford, meeting Judy Larson & moving to Minnesota, teaching at the West Bank School of Music.

Click - March 16, 2008, Garrison Keillor introduces Bill Hinkley by singing a song about him, just prior to presenting him with the West Bank School of Music Lifetime Achievement award.

Click - March 16, 2008, Garrison Keillor presents the award to Bill Hinkley, Bill's acceptance, then Cal Hand presents a proclamation by the Mayor of Minneapolis, Bill's acceptance, remarks by Judy Larson.

Click - Bill Hinkley, with his inimitable panache, demonstrates making scrambled eggs

Bill Hinkley and Judy Larson

Click - September 24, 2006 (excerpt of an unknown song)

Click - Yonder Come the Blues

Click - Night Rain – a video with sound track by Bill Hinkley & Judy Larson playing The Cuckoo's Nest

Honky Tonk Aces, April 17, 2004 at Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. Bill Hinkley guitar, Mary Klueh guitar, Cal Hand steel guitar, Pop Wagner fiddle, Mike Razz Russell fiddle, Jeff Garetz drums and Gary Schwartz bass. Various vocals.

Click - Waltz Across Texas

Click - Someday Soon

Click - Take Me Back to Tulsa

Click - Geraldine

Click - Hey Good Lookin'

Music: June 22, 2002 Bill Hinkley, mandolin; Cal Hand, dobro; Andy Kozak, dobro; Rod Bellville, guitar; and Gary Schwartz, bass.

Click - Cal Hand's "Beaumont Clearwater"

Click - Home Sweet Home.

Jam at the VA Medical Center in Minneapolis in honor of Bill Hinkley, May 21, 2010

Click - All of Me (poor sound quality)

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Subject: RE: Bill Hinkley in hospice care 21-May-2010
From: Amos
Date: 23 May 10 - 05:25 PM

What a spirit he has upon him... Thanks so such for the links. He reminds me of a country version of Barry Finn.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bill Hinkley b. 1942 d. 25-May-2010
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 25 May 10 - 05:29 PM

Messages on the 'Friends of Bill Hinkley and Judy Larson' Facebook page are reporting that Bill died this morning.

Garrison Keillor wrote an obit that is posted on the Prairie Home Companion web site:
    Bill had an insatiable appetite for music and his great happiness was to sit among kindred spirits and play by the hour, jazz, Irish, jug band music, old rock 'n' roll, country music, almost anything that allowed for improvisation. He was a father of the acoustic music community in Minnesota and everybody knew him and Judy. He was an inspiration to so many people and a source of frustration to some of us who wanted him to have a bigger career. But Bill, like Thoreau or some old Ojibway medicine man, chose to live his life on his own terms, off the clock and outside the grid. He had little interest in the music business as such, marketing, networking, and so forth. He enjoyed playing the radio show, I think, but he would just as soon sit around in his backyard for six hours with friends and play their way through a river of tunes, one after another. He was generous always to anyone who wanted to learn from him: his eyes lit up if you asked him questions. He was most animated when talking about his young and promising fiddle students. I don't remember Bill ever reminiscing about his life, but when he heard a kid play fiddle tunes whom he, Bill, had taught, he was utterly joyful. That was more important to him than the radio show. When I visited Bill a week before he died, he was picking out on mandolin a tune he wanted to be played at his funeral, "Niel Gow's Lamentation for James Moray of Abercairney" and he recalled for me a song we sang on a canoe trip thirty-five years before, "Golden eggs, golden eggs,/Happy golden eggs./O improve them as they fry,/These happy golden eggs." He was restless at the end, hanging on as best he could, and was comforted by the presence of friends playing music.

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Subject: RE: Obit: Bill Hinkley b. 1942 d. 25-May-2010
From: GUEST,Kiyohide Kunizaki
Date: 24 Jun 10 - 11:00 AM

Re:Tokyo Grand Ole Opry (from Tokyo Folklore Center Archive)


We have the 1961 Tokyo Grand Ole Opry Program.
Good Old Day.
Kiyohide was 14.


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