From a very young age, Jim Lestrange has been singing and playing the music of The Adirondacks  when the legendary "Adirondack Minstrel," Lawrence Older of Middle Grove New York, began teaching him the traditional songs and fiddle tunes of upstate New York, many of which were sung and played in the Adirondack lumber camps.
In his twenties Lestrange taught himself how to play and build the hammered dulcimer. It was then that he started performing at festivals and contra dances throughout the northeast  with such notable musicians as the virtuoso hammered dulcimer player Paul VanArsdale and legendary Adirondack fiddler Vic Kibler at The Blue Mountain Lake Arts Center, Blue Mountain Lake, New York and Proctors Theatre in Schenectady, New York.
Taking a break from more traditional music for awhile, Lestrange began playing bluegrass music and formed the Hilltop String Band in the early 80's, which played a mixture of traditional and bluegrass music on the guitar, 5-string banjo, fiddle, bass and hammered dulcimer. The band performed extensively throughout the northeast as such venues as New York State Council on the Arts concerts, folk and bluegrass festivals, fairs, museums, historical societies, concerts in the park series and coffee houses.His love of music and tradition can best be summed up in the following verse:


(Photo by Lise Winne)

"Gather up the fragments that remain -- that nothing be lost.
Tradition is like a meteor, which if it ever falls to earth, can never be rekindled."
--Author Unknown