Kyle Dillingham & Horseshoe Road
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Kyle Dillingham & Horseshoe Road

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2005 | SELF

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2005
Band Americana Folk




"Kyle Dillingham Marks Historic Grand Ole Opry Debut Riding Dolly Parton Skateboard Onto Stage"

“Kyle Dillingham has made Opry history. His debut tonight, and the first ever to enter and exit on a skateboard. It is my thought that the fiddler blew the roof off the Grand Ole Opry house tonight!”
- Bill Cody, Grand Ole Opry Announcer/Host

"On Wednesday night, the Grand Ole Opry was electrified with the first appearance of Kyle Dillingham. He skated his way on stage and fiddled his way into the hearts of a sold out crowd that wound up on their feet! Congratulations, Kyle, you set this place on fire!"
- Duane Allen, The Oak Ridge Boys

Plus, Dillingham proposes to girlfriend backstage after Opry debut

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Kyle Dillingham, the skateboarding, fiddling phenom once again cemented his status to be referred to as such, during his Grand Ole Opry debut on Wednesday, July 24. The classically-trained maestro from Oklahoma claimed his own unique part of Opry history by becoming the first guest artist to ride his skateboard onto Country music's biggest stage. Spinning to a perfect 360 degree stop inside the circle, with his fiddle in one hand and hoisting his skateboard into the air with other, Dillingham revealed an image of Dolly Parton on the board's opposite side to the Opry crowd. Met with favorable applause, Dillingham and his Horseshoe Road band mates, Peter Markes and Brent Saulsbury, immediately belted into their rendition of Albert Brumley's "I'll Fly Away." Closing out his two song set before skating offstage, Dillingham flexed his classically-trained music muscle with a performance of the classic Russian romance "Ochi Chyornye (Dark eyes)," paying tribute to the historic tours to Soviet Russia in the 70s and 80s by Roy Clark and The Oak Ridge Boys.

"For my whole life, my two passions were fiddling and skateboarding!" said Dillingham. "Never in my life did I ever imagine that they would come together and make history on the most sacred stage in country music! I am so proud to now be a part of the Opry story. How awesome to share this incredible moment with my band mates, Peter Markes and Brent Saulsbury, and to be surrounded by family and dear friends backstage!"

Dillingham Gets Engaged Backstage After Opry Debut
After Kyle’s one-of-a-kind Opry debut, he returned to his backstage dressing room where he was surrounded by friends, family and his band mates. While thanking everyone in the room for their contribution and support for his career, he turned to his girlfriend Ginnette Tavzel, bended down on one knee and popped the question. She tearfully embraced Kyle and said "yes," as everyone around cheered and applauded.

"As if an Opry Debut was not enough excitement for one night, I also took the moment backstage to ask my girlfriend, Ginny, to be my wife! "Into the Circle" (dressing room number 4) was transformational for me personally and professionally. Both of these moments will have an enormous impact on the rest of my life, and I am so grateful that I will have somebody so wonderful to share the journey with me!" - 2911 Media

"International Music Ambassador Kyle Dillingham Wraps 'The Silk Road & The Fiddle Sister State Tour' Throughout China"

Having traveled to 41 countries internationally, this marks Dillingham’s 13th trip to China.

"Dillingham's ability to build bridges between cultures, utilizing his fiddle, his skateboard, and his magnetic personality, is a story the world should be hearing about."
- J.P. Jenks, American Music Abroad program officer, Department of State

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Oklahoman Americana and bluegrass fiddling maestro Kyle Dillingham, and his Horseshoe Road bandmates Peter Markes and Brent Saulsbury of Oklahoma, recently wrapped up their 2019 Silk Road and The Fiddle Sister State Tour through China. Dillingham, who made his Grand Ole Opry debut in July, journeyed along the ancient Chinese Silk Road to the cities of Qingyang, Lanzhou, Tianshui, and Baiyin. With fiddle in hand and joy in his heart, Dillingham once again made his self-proclaimed “musical diplomacy” a real-life method of international relations. Doing what he does best, he fiddled his way into the hearts and minds of his Chinese fans with his authentic brand of Americana and bluegrass roots music.

We are celebrating 34 years of friendship between Oklahoma and Gansu Province, 15 years of friendship between Ponca City and Baiyin and the 3rd anniversary of the signing of a friendship agreement between Edmond and Qingyang," said Dillingham.

The first stop of their 10-day tour was in Qingyang, where some of the activities included a special cultural exchange performance at the Qingcheng County Grand Theater and an exchange program with college students at Longdong University.

Their next flight took them to Lanzhou for dinner with officials of the Gansu Provincial People’s Government: Mr. Zhang Baojun, Director-General Foreign Affairs Office; Mr. Zhang Hong, Division Chief of International Affairs of Educational Department of Gansu Province; Mr. Wang, Director of the Department of Veteran Cadres; and officials of Gansu Provincial People’s Association For Friendship With Foreign Countries (GPPAFC) Mr. Liu Xiaolin, Executive Vice President; Mr. Zhu Yuming, Division Chief of Sister City Affairs Division; Mr. Liu Zhiming, Office Director. After that they boarded a high-speed train to Tianshui for a performance at Tianshui Normal University. This became a beautiful and rare opportunity for the university violin professor to hear, interact and jam with the band on some American country music. “There was such an unbelievable joy and freedom that you could see coming over this violinist as she let go on some country fiddling!” said Dillingham.

Dillingham wrote a song to commemorate the tour, and to celebrate the 34 years of friendship between Oklahoma and Gansu Province, China. Calling it “Old Friends (老朋友)” he performed the song while on tour using a traditional Chinese guitar called a zhongruan.

“Old friends are very important in Chinese culture. The music I composed for the song mixes elements of traditional Chinese music, and traditional American folk music,” said Dillingham. The lyrics are, “sing with me; drink with me; share with me. I’ll soon be gone, but I’m coming back again.”

Acknowledging the recent PBS premiere of Ken Burn’s new Country Music documentary series, Dillingham noted, “While everyone is celebrating the history and importance of country and bluegrass music here in the USA, we were taking country and bluegrass music to new frontiers! It is hard to imagine that there are still places on this earth that have never heard this kind of music before, but two of the four cities we toured, Peter, Brent and I became the first American touring artists to ever perform in these cities! That is still incredible to me. As a member of the CMA, I am proud to be pushing the boundaries of country and bluegrass music in the world and representing the brand. Look at what the Oak Ridge Boys and Roy Clark were doing in Russia in the late seventies, and the kind of impact it had on the future. A little bit of country music can change a lot of things in this world. We feel that the work we are doing in China will certainly help US-China relations.”

Dillingham was also entrusted to deliver a formal state gift back to Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt from Gansu Province Governor Tang Renjian. - 2911 Media

"Effort to Sustain Industry is Like Music to Artist's Ears"

Kyle Dillingham isn't a household name like Vince Gill or Carrie Underwood, but he may be the key to creating a vibrant music scene in Oklahoma City.

The Greater Oklahoma City Chamber on Tuesday hosted a panel of industry experts who advised that musicians no longer need to live in Nashville, New York City or Los Angeles to be a success.

"In the digital age, there is no reason to leave to do what you can do here," said Scott Booker, manager for the Grammy-winning band The Flaming Lips. "We're proof if you have the will, you can make things work here."

Booker, who is director of the Academy of Contemporary Music being opened next year in Bricktown by the University of Central Oklahoma, suggested creating the right environment for future stars like Dillingham and his band Horseshoe Road.

"You don't have to work hard to keep me in town; I love it here," said Dillingham, who was among more than 100 attending Tuesday's luncheon at the Beacon Club.

"It's a big mission of mine and Horseshoe Road to base everything we do out of Oklahoma City," he said.

Dillingham said the city and state can first promote the cost savings for musicians choosing to base themselves in Oklahoma, compared to the bigger markets.

"If you're going to be away for four months and have four months of rent to pay while not at home, I'd rather it be in Oklahoma," said Dillingham, who spent the past few months touring in Thailand and South Korea.

What's being done?
Jill Simpson, director of the Oklahoma Film and Music Office, said the state is continuing to increase incentives for musicians to stay home - like allowing smaller studio construction projects to qualify for tax credits and increasing rebates for productions using local musicians.

Mark Parker, director of instrumental programs at Oklahoma City University, said more can be done - including revamping liquor laws and noise ordinances - to promote the music club scene. He suggested the local media do more to publicize concerts and performances.

Meanwhile, Simpson said radio stations have resisted playing songs by local performers.

What musicians say..
The panel shared high hopes for the Academy of Contemporary Music, the first American outpost for the so-called London-based "school of rock."

Booker said Coyne and fellow Flaming Lips performer Steve Drozd have expressed interest in supporting the school, and Martin made inquiries during his recent visit.

Simpson advised that winning back major artists who moved away from the state may be difficult.

Some of them, she said, harbor bitterness over lack of local support during their early years.

Dillingham, however, couldn't be happier with the support he's receiving from his hometown.

Horseshoe Road released its latest CD, "Reel-to-Reel" in June and Dillingham sent fresh recordings requested by renowned documentary producer Ken Burns for a potential new project.

"My heart is aligned with what they're talking about," Dillingham said.

"I'm very thankful to have been embraced by this city and state." - The Oklahoman

"Heartland Acoustic: The Members of Horseshoe Road are paving the Way to Music Success."

What is Oklahoma's greatest export? The Sooner State seems to have a knack for producing songsters. One of them, Enid native Kyle Dillingham, plies his trade with a mop of shaggy blond hair, a fiddle, and a bow. Along with his cohort and guitar player-slash-studio engineer Brad Benge, the two make up the band, Horseshoe Road.

"We all come from somewhere," says Dillingham. "When I perform, I want to give people what Oklahoma feels and sounds like."

The result is a heel-tapping melange of country, jazz and bluegrass with a down-home boot-bouncin' sound the band has labeled "heartland acoustic."

As the band's three-year anniversary approaches this April, Horseshoe Road's members seem content to share their talents in their little corner of the music world.

"Performing can be exciting and entertaining," says Dillingham, "but it can also inspire, encourage, and change lives."

That spirit of goodwill landed the band a tour of nearly a dozen cities in Asia in October 2006. Making new music is a continuing endeavor, as well. Horseshoe Road has recently been busy working on an album, Reel to Reel, slated for release in April, at Oklahoma City University's Wanda L. Bass School of Music.

"We're just a little Oklahoma band sharing music and the Oklahoma spirit," says Dillingham. - Oklahoma Today Magazine


Fear or Faith - LP
An eclectic feel-good mix of acoustic music that blends virtuosity and heartfelt sincerity sure to encourage, inspire and heal the soul.

Reel to Reel - LP
Polished acoustic mix of swing, rock, and bluegrass.



"I've never seen anything like this before!" -Roy Clark.

"Hell of a musician, that's for sure." -Charley Pride.

"Ken Burns and I travel all over the United States. After hearing your performance, we turned to each other and agreed that we had witnessed something amazing." -Paula Kerger, President of PBS.

"Dillingham can bewitch and conjure a range of emotions from his violin..." -The Bangkok Post.

History was made in 2019 at the Grand Ole Opry with an unprecedented debut performance by Kyle Dillingham on a Dolly Parton skateboard!

"Kyle Dillingham has made Opry history. His debut tonight, and the first ever to enter and exit on a skateboard. It is my thought that the fiddler blew the roof off the Grand Ole Opry house tonight!" - Bill Cody, Grand Ole Opry Announcer/Host. 

"Proud of you play violin/fiddle with more passion than anyone in history...and the skateboard? Wow!!!" -The Oak Ridge Boys.

2020 & 2011 International Acoustic Music Award Winner! 

Spring 2019, they participated in the 2018-2019 American Music Abroad season, organized by The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and The Association of American Voices, with a tour through Kosovo and Kuwait. They were chosen as one of fifteen ensembles, standing out in an applicant pool of nearly 300 bands.

“Having already performed in 38 countries, we were thrilled to take country music, once again, to new frontiers,” Dillingham said. “Whether at home or abroad, we have an important opportunity everyday to change peoples lives with our music.” 

In 2018, Kyle Dillingham & Horseshoe Road were one of the featured performers at the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellows Concert in Washington, DC, to honor their good friend and Fellow recipient, Manuel Cuevas. Cuevas has been attributed as being the man who put Johnny Cash in black.

"Manuel has been such an inspiration to me, so I wrote a song for him, 'You Inspire The World: A Song for Manuel,'" said Dillingham. "It was the highlight of my career to perform the song at this prestigious event to honor my good friend. The host of the event, Grammy-winner Martha Gonzalez, and everyone in attendance were blown away by our tribute!” 

Cuevas has also outfitted such legends as Elvis, Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan and Kyle, Peter and Brent are honored to be added to his client list.

“We were also selected for a coveted performance at the 2018 CMA Fest in Nashville, which was another highlight of our career”, Dillingham said. “After our performance, we had the chance to play for Charley Pride in his dressing room at the Grand Ole Opry and hang out with Blake Shelton and others backstage! What an incredible experience."

That same year, they completed their third Silk Road and the Fiddle Tour through China representing Oklahoma and the United States with a musical celebration of cultural relations and performances. 

“We were the first ever Americana/Country band to perform in the region of Gansu Province where we toured,” said Dillingham. “During one of our tours, we were also one of only four to be granted a meeting with Gansu Governor, Tang Renjian, representing our state with a letter from Governor Mary Fallin. Governor Tang gave us a hearty two thumbs up for his first-ever personal serenade we gave him during our official meeting! 

Also that year, they opened for Grammy Award-winner, Lee Greenwood, at the renowned Neewollah Festival in Independence, Kansas. 

Their 2008 Thailand tour commemorated the 175th anniversary of relations between the U.S. and the Kingdom of Thailand, and their 2013 tour of Korea celebrated the 60th anniversary of Partnership and Shared Prosperity between Korea and the U.S.

With an eclectic musical style ranging from Blues to Bluegrass, Gypsy Jazz to Western Swing, Country, Rock and Gospel, Kyle Dillingham & Horseshoe Road blend them into an earthy genre of music they call Heartland Americana. 

"From Bob Wills to our original Americana-flavored new songs, get ready for a high energy, uplifting musical experience," said Dillingham.

Kyle Dillingham & Horseshoe Road have also taken the stage with The Charlie Daniels Band, The Oak Ridge Boys, Roy Clark, Hank Thompson, Lisa Ling, Vince Gill, Jimmy Webb, Toby Keith, Hanson, Leona Mitchell and Thailand’s Pop Superstar, Tik Shiro, and have performed with the Taipei Symphony Orchestra, China’s Lanzhou Symphony Orchestra and the Amici Symphony Orchestra, among others.

Dillingham picked up the violin when he was nine, and eight years later, he gave two featured performances at the Grand Ole Opry. He is now managed by legendary impresario, Jim Halsey, who has represented 29 Hall of Famers including Roy Clark, The Oak Ridge Boys and James Brown.

Band Members