Early in 2004, Dr. Steve Wilson [who had founded the Ozark Highlanders Pipe Band  20+ years earlier] and Harriett Sisson [then Pipe Major of the Ozark Highlanders] co-founded BURLY TWINE.  “We both envisioned a small, informal group of musicians playing folk music on acoustic instruments, each contributing his/her own unique talents to the mix, and that’s exactly what we’ve found in BURLY TWINE,” explains Harriett. 

We play primarily Celtic music, Irish and Scottish, but also a little bit of bluegrass thrown in (which may sound odd, but actually fits quit naturally since bluegrass is a descendant of Celtic music, as well!).  In our short existence so far, we’ve had band members come and members go, and most sadly, Steve Wilson passed away in January 2006.  But we’re continuing to have a good time with our current members and keep evolving with the changes, as Steve had wished. 

We now have Jami Lockhart from Fayetteville playing mandolin and guitar; Samuel Smith Jr. from Chester, Arkansas (originally from Ireland) playing guitar, and Dennis “Red” Sisson (Harriett’s husband, and former bass drummer for the pipe band) on bass guitar and regular accoustic guitar.  The guys each contribute to vocals.  Harriett plays piano and Irish accordion, hammered dulcimer, and tinwhistle, as the need arises.

To learn more about Dr. Steve Wilson and his kick ass ice cream visit his website by clicking here.


Dedicated to the memory and music of
Steven C. Wilson
1950 – 2006

Steve Wilson, small-town family doctor, held many passionate interests in life in addition to caring for his patients.  He won awards both far and near for his legendary home-cranked ice creams (see below for a link to his recipes!); he was a pilot; an author; a masterful joke teller.  And he dearly loved making music with others – all kinds of music.  He was the choir director and organist for his church, and he also played many other musical instruments including Scottish bagpipes, founding the Ozark Highlanders Pipe Band of Fayetteville, Arkansas, in 1983 in celebration of his Scottish heritage.  Steve and Harriett Sisson together founded Burly Twine in 2004, and Steve delighted in playing banjo, fiddle, and spoons with this band until only days prior to his death from cancer, in early 2006.  He lived his life with gusto, vitality, faith and optimism, to the end.   May his memory serve as a glowing reminder to all of us:  “Follow your passion, and make every day count.” 

David Conn

David Conn has a good Celtic surname and hails from Northern Scotland originally.  Dave played the accordion and Northumbrian pipes with Burly Twine for two years while he lived in southern Missouri with his wife, Nancy.   Although they moved away from our area in the fall of 2006, we were lucky enough to still have Dave with us during the recording phase of “Crossroads and Backroads.”