The Downhill Strugglers

The Downhill Strugglers (NY)


“pulling their bows deftly across the best numbers in the old-time songbook with more grit and style than just about any group fiddling away today.” – Nathan Salsburg, Curator, Alan Lomax Archive.

The Down Hill Strugglers (formerly known as the Dust Busters) is an old time string band based out of Brooklyn, NY.

They carry the music of the old rural America forward with verve and creativity, extending the legacy of the New Lost City Ramblers by bringing archaic sounds into the present, challenging audiences to reject a dystopian future animated by disco beats and their ilk.

The band formed while hanging out at the home of their mutual friend, Peter Stampfel of the Holy Modal Rounders, where they also met friend and mentor John Cohen of the New Lost City Ramblers. 

Today, Cohen says, ““The Down Hill Strugglers bring back the true spirit of Old Time Music, where every singer invented his own performance. Besides being excellent musicians on fiddle, banjo and guitar, pump organ, harmonica, etc., they sing with the high voices that echo the sounds of young artists heard on the old 78s, evoking the spirit of the ‘Golden Era’ of recording… They have built their repertoire from some of the best music of the past and they keep it alive and lively. They have found resonance with the intensity of rural music, while delighting in the nuances that preserve the individual uniqueness of the genre. This is music that will keep your mind dancing.”

The Strugglers have released an album on Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, are featured on the soundtrack to the Coen Brothers film, Inside Llewyn Davis, produced by T-Bone Burnett, and have have been “kicking musical ass all over the landscape” from the Borgas International Folk Music Festival in Bulgaria to Hillbilly Days in Pikeville, Kentucky.