We play bluegrass adding in some jazz and classical and really good traditional bluegrass musicians that I have compiled are some of the absolute best in the Northeast
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“Steve Lutke is the Heifetz of the Banjo. His technique is dazzling. Lutke plays from within and brings
to his performances a beautiful sense of line and musicianship.”
David Dworkin — Clarinetist, Metropolitan Opera American Symphony-retired Conductor-Manhattan School of Music-Retired Conductor-Philharmonic on Hudson-Retired Creator of “Conductorcise®” A SOUND workout For Mind, body and Soul
Steve’s first solo album entitled “Kentucky Roots” was well received in the bluegrass community — “Steve can hammer a banjo with that elusive syncopation that few posses”- Bluegrass Unlimited, 1985.
Steve is descended from a family that has made a significant mark on the music industry. In the late 1940s and into the 1950s. The Dinning Sisters were a very popular trio vocal group which personified the swinging, close harmony sounds of the era. Sister Lucille, nicknamed “Lou,” born in 1922 in Kentucky, joined forces with her twin sisters Virginia, nicknamed “Ginger” (VIRGINIA IS STEVE LUTKE’s MOTHER), and Jean, both born in 1924 in Oklahoma. There were five daughters and four sons total in the musical family, and all sang in the church choir.
The young girls then moved West to Hollywood, where they were well received. They appeared with Ozzie Nelson’s Band in the film “Strictly in the Groove.” They were in two Walt Disney films, “Fun and Fancy Free” and “Melody Time,” where they sang the tune “Blame it on the Samba” with famous organist Ethel Smith, and Disney favorite Donald Duck. The song was narrated by Bing Crosby.
The sisters quickly signed with Capitol Records, and recorded several hits: “My Adobe Hacienda,” “I Wonder Who’s Kissing Her Now,” “I Don’t Stand a Ghost of a Chance,” “Beg Your Pardon,” “Where or When,” and the big selling smash hit “Buttons and Bows.” “Buttons and Bows” was later featured in the Bob Hope film “Paleface” also starring Jane Russell and Roy Rogers.
However, another member of the Dinning family was poised to take center stage…
The girls’ brother Mark Dinning was born in 1933, the youngest of the Dinning family, in Oklahoma. He grew up on a farm near Nashville, TN. He started singing country music, and was signed by music legend Wesley Rose in 1957 to a recording contract. He possessed a voice with a vocal range similar to the great Roy Orbison. His recordings met with limited success until 1960. His sister Jean, of the Dinning Sisters, and her husband Red Surrey wrote a ballad about a young teenage girl’s early death in a car crash. “Teen Angel” soared to number one on the Billboard Charts. Mark became a major teen idol after the release of this tune.
Steve mastered the banjo, and joined several New Jersey bluegrass bands to hone his craft. His latest CD recording was titled "Appalachian Uprising", and that is the name Steve adopted for his preforming group. They are very popular in the New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont areas.
Steve has toured with Peter Rowan and Vassar Clements as part of an "Old and in the Way" reunion project. An recently he performed with Roland White (Clarence White's brother) in a "New Kentucky Colonels" reunion project.
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