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FOD: Rick Freimuth

Updated: Jan 19, 2023

What can I tell you about Rick Freimuth? Well, first of all, he was (and still is) a gift of the Muse. He makes his 1971 appearance in Pluck when he was a young teen, and his contribution to filling in puzzle pieces of the story is enormous and even still ongoing.

Rick not only spent hours talking with me, sending me original documents, notes and correcting my notes; he had a motherlode of excellent photos he took from that time period that depict not only David, but the Youngs, Bonnie Carol, and many of the other serious dulcimer and acoustic players of the period. Because of text limitations I couldn't include all his photos in Pluck and it's a shame because they are historic artefacts , so, I shall share many of them here over the coming months with his permission. Eventually they will go to the Schnaufer collection at Vanderbilt in Rick's name for future scholars of that music time period.

Pluck depicts how David and Rick first met: through Keith and Mary Young in Annandale, Virginia. Rick became neighbors with the Youngs when they moved to Annandale in 1971. Keith (a USDA scientist/musician and an important luthier), Rick and some of the Youngs' children were already serious dulcimer players when David arrived on the scene in 1977 for the first of several extended visits. Keith had a formative influence on David (and vice-versa) during David's Odyssey period, and it became readily apparent that they also had great mutual admiration for each other. Rick and the Young boys quickly became in awe of David, and it was fun to write about how their friendship unfolded.

Young man playing a mountain dulcimer in 1973
1973 A young Rick Freimuth shows off his dulcimer skills to his admiring uncle. Photo courtesy of Rick Freimuth.

Pluck depicts a serious event in Rick's life during a visit to his uncle's home on the way to his freshman year of college. This photo on the left was taken during that visit. It was a visit that would cement David's empathy for Rick.

David was one of many, many young musicians who spent time with the Youngs; it was likely one of the most rich and satisfying for a musician like David with a passion to learn since they embraced him as part of the family. Music was constant in the Young household, and David jammed non-stop with the family and their friends, both in Keith and Mary's home and at the many fiddle festivals that took place in the east during the seventies Boom. Keith, Mary and their friends were direct, important contributors to dulcimer history and to this story.

Of the many youngsters, it is no surprise in retrospect that Rick Freimuth and David became so close that David eventually made a dulcimer for Rick after he moved to Colorado. I believe David felt great empathy for Rick for a number of reasons, all of which are detailed in Pluck.

Click on the photos to enlarge, and on the arrows to see photos from the time that Rick knew David: (1) David sitting on the Youngs' deck shortly after meeting Keith and Mary. Note the Texas belt buckle, and the "hair pick bag" in which he carried both his picks and tobacco; he references this bag in a recording I'll share soon. (2) Rick jamming at Galax on a trip with Keith to the festival. (3) Rick and Keith jamming. Keith attended many festivals to both play and man a booth to sell instruments and accessories to help put his large brood through college. (4) Rick, David and Bonnie on Keith and Mary's back deck.

Today, Rick and Linda Freimuth live in Colorado. They are multi-talented, fascinating people, two of the kindest I've ever had the pleasure to know, and I am proud to call them friends. Keith Young passed away several years ago, but Mary is still alive at 91, and Rick still keeps in touch with her regularly.

Rick and Linda Freimuth

All photos on this page courtesy of Rick Freimuth.

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