Musician and folk personality Everett Russell ‘‘Russ’’ Fluharty (December 13, 1906-March 29, 1989) was one of the most active figures in the folk arts revival. He energetically promoted West Virginia music and culture, especially the music of the hammered dulcimer.
A lifelong resident of the Mannington area, Fluharty learned to sing and play several instruments from his large extended family. In 1928, an uncle gave him an antique hammered dulcimer. (An ancient instrument, the hammered dulcimer consists of many strings stretched across a box and played with small beaters. It is not related to the Appalachian dulcimer.) The instrument was nearly unknown locally, so Fluharty developed a unique playing style as he taught himself to play his favorite hymns, patriotic tunes, and familiar old songs.
Fluharty began seeking opportunities to play and to tell others about the instrument. He was a naturally charming man, and audiences responded to his sincere, quaint manner. As interest in folk music grew during the 1960s and ’70s, Fluharty was much in demand at schools, churches, and public events. He became known as ‘‘the dulcimer man.’’ Fluharty also appeared at several national events, and the state Commerce Department sent him to travel shows in other states as an ‘‘ambassador of goodwill.’’ He founded the Mountaineer Dulcimer Club, which remains active.
This Article was written by Danny Williams
Last Revised on October 23, 2012
Sullivan, Ken. Russell Fluharty, the Dulcimer Man. Goldenseal, (Winter 1986).