Arthritis Brothers Website

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Welcome to the Arthritis Brothers Web site

We play old time music.  Stuff that was popular in the late 1880's and early 1900's; music that postdated the minstrel era and preceded bluegrass.

    The Brothers are musicians with rural roots.   Banjo picker John Clabourne was raised in the country in Sussex County, Virginia.   Fiddler John Beland was raised on a Mitchell County, Iowa farm.    Earl Rigg  was born in the mountains of Virginia and grew up in Eastern North Carolina on a tobacco farm.  All three live in the semi-rural countyside east of Sierra Vista, Arizona. Clabourne is retired from both the U.S. Army and the Sierra Vista police force.   Beland is a retired electrical engineer and contractor.  Earl Rigg spent 30 years as a technical expert for a Wisconsin phone company.   The Arthritis Brothers are located in rural Sierra Vista Arizona where the weather is always sunny and the plants are mostly thirsty.  Technically, we may not be hill billies, but we do live in the mountains and have pickup trucks and dogs.  

Arthritis Brothers Photo 10 Dec 2008
  Photo above is the Arthritis Brothers out standing in their field  (L to R) John Beland, John Clabourne and Earl Rigg

    Old-time music is traditional music that developed in rural and often isolated areas of the Appalachian and other regions before radio, record players, and other modern inventions. The two main strains of the music come from the banjo brought with many of its common playing styles from Africa by Africans, and from the fiddle, which came from western Europe, particularly Germany, Scotland and Ireland. The fiddle and banjo were played separately and together, particularly for dancing, in the nineteenth century when music was used for house raisings, husking bees and community entertainment.  It was played by persons with ordinary jobs for their own entertainment. Songs and ballads, many imported from the British Isles and many written on these shores, are also an important part of old-time music.
  For a better detailed definition, try Mark Humphreys' definition at
 ; there is an excellent history at     An excellent summary is on Gordon Bank's page here  If you want to know more about the relationship between Bluegrass and Old Time go here  

     The Arthritis Brothers String Band  learns their tunes by aural transmission from our predecessors.  We also occasionally get tunes from book and sheet music of traditional public domain tunes and from early recordings.  Web sites such at the Library of Congress  are particularly usefull.  Fascinating even!  
The Arthritis Brothers String Band performs traditional and folk music that is free of Copyright and in the Public Domain.  

Check our schedule page at
|Schedule |   for times and places.

Some links of interest

            To contact us directly try this stuff


John Beland         520 266 0697     
John Clabourne    520 378 0691 
Earl Rigg              520 803 9918

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