Byron Berline, a renowned fiddler and owner of a popular Oklahoma instrument shop, has died in a hospital. He was 77.
Bette Berline, Byron’s wife, confirmed his death to The Associated Press. She said he was hospitalized after suffering a stroke and that over the weekend his “lungs gave up and so did his heart.” He died Saturday.
Bette recalled her husband as a fun and loving father and husband, who until soon before his death looked and acted like a man twenty years younger.
“He was more than a musician, an incredibly gifted musician,” she said. “He was a good, good man.”
A three-time national fiddle champion, Berline grew up in Grant County along the Oklahoma-Kansas state line and worked with music greats like Vince Gill, Bob Dylan, Elton John and The Rolling Stones. Berline recorded two albums with the Flying Burrito Brothers as a part of the group from 1971-72.
Berline received three Grammy nominations, for his album Fiddle & a Song (best bluegrass album, 1995); for “Sally Goodin,” a collab from that album with Earl Scruggs and Bill Monroe (best country instrumental performance, 1995); and for his featured role on Mark O’Connor’s “Gold Rush” (best country instrumental performance, 1993).
Berline moved to Guthrie, Okla., in 1995 and opened the Double Stop Fiddle Shop & Music Hall, which was destroyed by a fire in 2019. He later opened a new shop across the street.
Berline was also survived by his daughter and four grandchildren, Bette Berline said.