top of page

Dusty Thorburn

Dusty Thorburn grew up strumming guitar and singing “Kum Ba Ya” and “Blowin’ in the Wind” before it was a cliché. A professional historian, he sees traditional music as a way to connect with people from the past, especially those who left few written records of their lives. A guitarist and occasional mandolin player, Dusty discovered the dulcimer several years ago and has been obsessed ever since, entranced by the simple beauty of the instrument’s design and sound. He founded River City Dulcimers, a group of musical friends that meets monthly online and in Sacramento and is also a Moderator at the popular website Friends of the Mountain Dulcimer. Dusty has been a regular at music events around Northern California, having taught workshops at the Redwood Dulcimer Day in Santa Cruz and the Berkeley Dulcimer Gathering and performed at events such as Petaluma’s Art in the Park festival and Old Sacramento’s Gold Rush Days. He has published two books of mountain dulcimer tablature:  Lullabies from Around the World , arranged for the beginner player, and  Songs of Old Albion & Erin, containing over thirty intermediate-level arrangements of tunes from early modern England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.  Dusty currently offers private lessons online and at The Strum Shop in Roseville, CA. His lessons, arrangements, and compositions combine a respect for traditional sounds with a modern, blues-influenced sensibility.

Workshops taught include:

Mountain Dulcimer 101 (Beginner) 

Beginning Repertoire for Mountain Dulcimer Made Easy (Beginner)

Songs taught in sequential steps. 

Lullabies from Around the World (Advanced Beginner)

Fiddle Tunes that Sound Good Slow (Advanced Beginner/ Intermediate)

Dulci-Ki-Yi-Yo! Songs from the American West (Advanced Beginner/Intermediate)

"44 Pistol Under My Head": American Murder Ballads (Advanced Beginner/Intermediate)

With Love, From D to G (Intermediate)

Tunes arranged in the keys of both D and G, without retuning!

Not Just O’Carolan (Intermediate)

Slow Celtic tunes 

Melodies from the French-Speaking Americas (Intermediate)

Songs and reasonably-paced fiddle tunes from Acadia, Quebec, Louisiana, and Haiti.

Lovely Scottish Airs (intermediate)

A variety of Scottish melodies, mainly from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Songs and Dances of Early America (Intermediate)

Popular tunes from the colonial & revolutionary periods.

Irish Ballads of the 19th Century (intermediate)

Songs of Old Albion (Intermediate)

music from the British Isles dating from the 16th to the 18th centuries

Fun French-Canadian Fiddle Tunes (Intermediate/Advanced)

bottom of page