Dick Kimmel

Kimmel & Coyle











"As the first generation greats in bluegrass music slowly but surely
leave this music in one way or another, I
suspect they might derive comfort in the knowledge that the likes of Dick Kimmel have come forth to carry the torch."  (Bluegrass Unlimited, November 1994) 

Visit YouTube:   "Dick Kimmel - Off the Shelves"

                                "Dick Kimmel - Homeless and Heartbroken"

Dick Kimmel has been entertaining audiences for more than a half-century throughout North America and Europe.  In 2015, Dick performed across 9 time zones from Prague, Czech Republic with banjo great, Alan Munde, to Portland, Oregon with his son, Berklee College of Music musician, Ian Kimmel. In 2017 Dick played 119 shows in the Upper Midwestern United States.  He has opened for Bill Monroe and His Blue Grass Boys in Monroe's homestate of Kentucky.  At that concert Bill Monroe came out from backstage to listen to Dick's unique version of Monroe's "On and On."  Dick has performed with such top artists as Del McCoury, Alan Munde, Becky Buller, Dwight Diller, and Hazel Dickens.  He has performed and recorded with his own bands, Dick Kimmel & Co, Mountain Grass, and The Wild Turkey Stringband and has been featured on more than 2-dozen recordings, which include 5 Dick Kimmel solo CDs.

The music of Dick Kimmel is firmly rooted within traditional bluegrass, old-time stringband, and folk music; genres where he excels as a performer as well as an historian, mentor, and teacher.  Dick regularly carries his music throughout North America and Europe as a solo performer and with various music collaborations including his band Dick Kimmel & Co, The Alan Munde Trio and duos with folks like Pamela Longtine, Ian Kimmel, Adam Granger, Graham Sones, and Lori Jean. 

In 2008 Dick was inducted into America's Old-Time Country and Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame

In 2010 Dick was inducted into the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame

In 2012 Dick was inducted into the Mid-America Music Hall of Fame.

In 2014 Dick was nominated for 2014 Bluegrass Entertainer of the Year by the Society for the Preservation of the Bluegrass Music of America (SPBGMA).

In 2016 the Bluegrass Association of North Dakota (BAND) presented Dick with the award 2015-2016 International Ambassador of the Year.

Performances with an educational component are a Kimmel specialty. He has developed concert-based programs designed for children through seniors.   His program, "Dick Kimmel's History of Bluegrass Music," has been presented at music festivals and events throughout North America and Europe for more than 40 years.  Also, Dick combines his music with his calling as a professional wildlife biologist for programs featuring animal biology and animal songs.  For Thanksgiving month, at the urging of Minnesota libraries, Kimmel developed a family-oriented program, "Dick Kimmel's Thanksgiving Turkey Extravaganza," combining turkey lore and the art of turkey calling with turkey and Thanksgiving songs.  Dick Kimmel, Ph.D. in Wildlife Biology, was a professional biologist  for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources spanning 4 decades before returning to his life as a full-time musician.  Dr. Kimmel served as an adjunct professor at universities in West Virginia, Minnesota, and South Dakota; lecturing, serving on graduate student committees, and teaching courses on traditional music and conservation biology.

Dick Kimmel has been associated with bluegrass, old-time stringband music, and folk music for more than 50 years as a performer, recording artist, workshop instructor, teacher, historian, writer, and songwriter.  His recent song, "Fly Away to Mexico" recently released on the CD, Dick Kimmel & Pamela Longtine - Fiddle & Mandolin, is slated for a conservation video about the Monarch Butterfly.  Many of Dick's original songs carry messages of conservation, biology, and social concerns.  Kimmel's "Homeless and Heartbroken" was made into a video concerned with homeless people.  (Search YouTube for "Dick Kimmel Homeless and Heartbroken")

Dick is a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist most often playing mandolin, clawhammer banjo, and guitar. He began playing music in the 1950's, singing traditional country duets with his brother, Charles.  In 1962 Dick formed his first bluegrass band, a Chicago-area group of high school friends called "The Bluegrass Ramblers."  During that period, Dick was part of the rock revolution when the instrumental music of groups like the Ventures shifted to vocal bands ruled by the Everly Brothers and the Beatles.  Dick performed for rock 'sock hops' for Chicago's WLS-radio with his band, "The Tremolos."  His first recording was a 45 rpm record version of his original "The Shake" by the Tremolos.  A decade later Dick, playing guitar and banjo, was touring full-time throughout the United States with the West Virginia-based, "Keen, Kimmel & Co."  While living in West Virginia during the1960's through the early 80's, Dick performed and recorded with many leading bluegrass and old-time musicians.  Many bands and musicians Dick recorded with during this period are included on his Copper Creek Records solo release, "Dick Kimmel - 25 Year Collection" (Copper Creek Records CD-0143).  Dick credits his jamming and performing with old-time stringband musicians like Andy Boarman, Tommy Jarrell, Kyle Creed, Woody Simmons, Glenn Smith, Dave & John Morris (the Morris Brothers), and others for his traditional approach to music. 

In 2017 Dick was awarded a grant from the Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council in Minnesota to study old-time fiddle music and take his mandolin, banjo, and guitar playing back another step in time - the opposite direction from musicians that have an interest in modernizing their music.  His 2016 recording, "Dick Kimmel - Corbett on the Couch," was a step in this direction.  His CD "Dick Kimmel & Pamela Longtine - Fiddle & Mandolin," supported by the Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council grant, is a further step in this direction.

Recordings by Dick Kimmel have consistently received high acclaim from major traditional music media and radio in North America, Japan, and Europe.  Dick's first LP records in the old-time stringband genre were "The F& W Stringband" recorded in Vermont in 1969 and "The Wild Turkey Stringband" recorded in West Virginia in 1972.  During the 1970's, Dick's vinyl recording of "West Virginia My Home" remained on West Virginia radio charts for more than 3 months earning Number 1 status.  For years this recording was played before West Virginia University Mountaineer sporting events.  Dick's original, "Ride On By," also hit Number 1 on West Virginia country music charts.  His more than two-dozen recordings over the past 50 years include 7 bluegrass/old-time CDs for Copper Creek Records and cuts on compilation recordings released in the United States and Europe.  Dick's solo CDs include "Dick Kimmel-25 Year Collection" (Copper Creek Records CD-0143), "Dick Kimmel-Wild Turkey Rag" (Copper Creek Records CD-0115) , his clawhammer banjo release, "Dick Kimmel-Fishin' Creek Blues" (Copper Creek Records CD-0173), and a 2016 mandolin CD, "Dick Kimmel - Corbett on the Couch" (Dick Kimmel Music 2016-01).   Dick authored a book containing the music found on his banjo CD for Mel Bay Publications.  See the "Recordings" link and "Order Form" for more information on Dick's recordings.

Articles written about Dick Kimmel, his music, and his bands have appeared in many international music magazines.  Bluegrass Unlimited (August 2005) noted, "Dick Kimmel is a well-known and long-respected multi-instrumentalist and bandleader on both the bluegrass and old-time music scene."  The September 2016 Minnesota Bluegrass featured a cover story on Dick's influence on the Minnesota traditional music community.  Banjo Newsletter, in June 2001, featured a cover story on Dick Kimmel and his clawhammer banjo playing.  

Following a 1993 solo concert by Dick Kimmel at Scotland's Guildtown Bluegrass Festival, the festival promoter, John Sheldon, wrote, "Your performance was the highlight of the main concert and the audience was totally captivated and enthralled by your great selection of songs and instrumentals.  Your program gave us a wonderful combination of soulful singing combined with multi-instrumental talent with a thoughtful blend of traditional and original bluegrass interspersed with marvelous old time material."

Dick was proclaimed "West Virginia Ambassador of Good Will" by the West Virginia Legislature in 1978; earning the title for his "tireless promotion of the music of this state through performances, recordings, lectures, workshops, and coordination of bluegrass events."  This title was expanded to "The Ambassador of Bluegrass," in a 1994 feature article for Bluegrass Unlimited, because of his varied involvements with bluegrass music on an international level.  For 15 years Dick served as the Chair for the International Bluegrass Music Association's (IBMA) International Committee.  The Ambassador title has followed Dick to Minnesota.  Minnesota Bluegrass (August 2016) featured a cover story entitled, "Dick Kimmel - Minnesota Bluegrass Ambassador."  The Bluegrass Association on North Dakota (BAND) awarded Dick as the "BAND International Ambassador of the Year" for 2015-16.

Dick Kimmel has written hundreds of articles and reviews for major traditional music publications in North America, Europe, and Japan.  On stage, Dick's emcee work paints a picture of bluegrass music and it's colorful history from information he gained as a bluegrass historian and writer.  His presentation "Dick Kimmel's History of Bluegrass Music" has been featured for festivals and programs throughout North America and Europe since the 1970's. 

In 2017, Dick made more than 100 performances.  Dick Kimmel's 2015 schedule included performances in Switzerland, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Oregon, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Tennessee.  Past performances include the SPBGMA Bluegrass Awards Show (Nashville, TN), The Miles City (MT) Bluegrass Festival, Martin Luther College, Bethany Lutheran College, The Garden City (MN) Bluegrass Festival, The Lakes Bluegrass Festival (MN), SPBGMA Bluegrass Showcase of Bands (Kirksville, MO), the Banjo Extraveganza (Knoxville, TN).  His 2015 schedule included a tour to central Europe with The Alan Munde Trio and a Pacific Northwest Tour with his son, Ian Kimmel - SPBGMA's 2014 mandolin player of the year.  Over the years, Dick has performed for:  IBMA's World of Bluegrass/Fanfest (Nashville, TN, Louisville, KY, and Owensboro, KY), Chippewa Valley Gospel Bluegrass Festival (Bruce, WI), Bismarck (ND) Bluegrass Festival, West Virginia University, Kissimmee (FL) Bluegrass Festival, Indian Springs (MD) Bluegrass Festival, Patomic Highlands Bluegrass Festival (WV), Spencer Bluegrass Festival (Spencer, IA), European World of Bluegrass (Holland), Missouri River Bluegrass Festival (Washburn, ND), Carl Mai Festival (Germany), The Guildtown Bluegrass Festival (Scotland), The Opryland Hotel, Beartrap Summer Festival (Casper, WY); Minnesota Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Festival (Richmond, MN), Station Inn (Nashville), Sam Bond's Garage (Eugene, OR), The Black Hills Bluegrass Festival (SD) and countless other concerts, festivals, colleges, community concerts, and events. 

Dick's bluegrass band, Dick Kimmel & Co, has produced 3 recordings including a traditional bluegrass gospel CD entitled "Dick Kimmel & Co - My Lord Keeps a Record" (Copper Creek Records CD-0240).  This recording earned recognition by the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) as one of the top bluegrass gospel recordings in 2005.   With Adam Granger, Dick produced, 'Dick Kimmel & Adam Granger - Live at the Rhein" (Jeep Records 2218), a 2-CD set recorded live at the Grand Center for Arts and Culture in New Ulm, MN.  Dick's son, Ian Kimmel has recorded with his father on 4 CDs.

Quotes about Dick Kimmel and his recordings: 

"(Dick Kimmel's) talent is well-known...Kimmel's 'Lima Beans' could easily fool you into thinking (it is) from a long-ago time and place."  Bluegrass Unlimited, November 2017.

"Kimmel has beautiful mandolin tone and technique.  His sound often has the stately, ringing tone of a hammered dulcimer. " Bluegrass Unlimited, September 2016.

"This is the work of a true master." Minnesota Bluegrass, August 2016.

"Now a Minnesota resident, the acclaimed singer/picker has spent the last four decades bringing traditional country, hard-core bluegrass and old-time string-band music to an international audience."
    -Isthmus Critics' Choice (Madison, WI), April 7, 2000 

"Kimmel artfully attacks the mandolin with amazingly successful results." Frank Godby, Bluegrass Unlimited, September 1979. 

"His vocal delivery is solid, pure and confident. . .His rendition of 'The Prisoner's Song' is one of the best and most soulful you are likely to ever hear." Alan Walton, Bluegrass Unlimited, January 1993. 

"Dick Kimmel can best be described as a musicologist, a staff writer for Bluegrass Unlimited for twenty years, record producer, country and bluegrass musician.  There is very little about country music that Dick doesn't know about."  Dave Brassington, Country Matters (England), October 1994.

"This is (Dick Kimmel's) first release concentrating on his clawhammer banjo playing and it is long overdue...This is a very good project full of honest vocals and excellent picking from Kimmel and all of the others on this CD." 
    -Robert C. Buckingham, Bluegrass Unlimited, November 2000.

"This is hard driving bluegrass.  Anyone who loves bluegrass music will want to add this to their collection."-      -Jan Jacquet, Victory Review, November 1996. 

The more I played Dick Kimmel's '25-Year Collection,' the more I was amazed at Dick's wonderful talent, and the more I wanted to replay the CD."  Frank Overstreet, Bluegrass Music News, Fall, 1996. 

"Dick Kimmel is excellent mandolin picker who also excels on guitar and clawhammer banjo, whilst having fine voice too.  An extremely pleasing blend of old time, mountain and bluegrass." Pete Smith, Country Music Roundup (Great Britain), September 1996. 

"Dick Kimmel's 25-Year Collection does a fine job commemorating Dick Kimmel's illustrious musical career."  Dave Higgs, Bluegrass Breakdown, WPLN Radio, Nashville, TN. (December, 1996)

"Dick Kimmel has put together a clawhammer banjo masterpiece in "Fishin' Creek Blues," probably my favorite work of his to date.  He plays with power and authority and a respect for the way these tunes should be played."
    -Dave Higgs, WPLN-FM, Nashville, June 13, 2000.

"Kimmel is a known quantity, and he doesn't disappoint here.  The playing is crisp and well done..."
    -Sing Out, Summer 2000.

"...a delightful selection of songs...now ranked in my personal top ten."
    -Frank Overstreet, Bluegrass Music News, 1996

"Dick Kimmel...is best known to bluegrass fans as a fine mandolin player, but he has always been serious about the clawhammer banjo.  Now his fifth (Copper Creek) CD is dedicated entirely to this style.  Kimmel shows the full range of the clawhammer banjo whether as a solo instrument or in an old time band or playing bluegrass."
    -Bluegrass Europe April/May 2001 .

"Veteran Kimmel does an outstanding job playing clawhammer banjo on 17 well-chosen, mostly traditional tunes.  An excellent & highly enjoyable old-time album." 
    -County Sales Newsletter, July 2000.

"Kimmel plays Bluegrass music with fervor and a reverence for the way the first generation greats believed it ought to sound."  Suzanne Denison, Bluegrass Breakdown, December 1994.

"A true veteran of the idiom. . ."  Edward Munafo, Inside Bluegrass, November 1992.