I picked up the nickname Flyin’ Fiddler a long time ago at jam sessions because I felt I had to play everything just as fast as I could. It got to the point that folks would say, Uh oh, he’s flyin’ again. I don’t think it was a nickname that was meant to be a compliment but it stuck. I’d like to think I’ve matured a bit and don’t have to be the center of attention any more.Besides fiddle I play old time 5 string clawhammer banjo, 4 string Irish tenor banjo, mountain dulcimer, mandolin, octave mandolin, and guitar. I feel like God gave me a gift for stringed instruments.
I got serious about it in 1984. I had been dabbling with bluegrass and then one day I heard a clawhammer banjo and was hooked. Big difference between bluegrass banjo and old time clawhammer is the picking style, rather, lack of picking. Bluegrass incorporates what they call a three-finger Scruggs roll using finger picks. Clawhammer or frailing is a down stroke on the stings using the backs of your fingers with no picks. I feel the old time fiddle style is much different from bluegrass as well. Old time fiddle isn’t quite as showy in my opinion. I feel like there is more emotion and feeling with old time with more doublestops and drones. Don’t get me wrong though, there are some pretty showy old time fiddle tunes.
I enjoy pretty much all genres of music but I’d have to say my favorite is American old time and Irish, which pretty much goes hand in hand. (It all came over on the boat) At the Living History Days I’ll be primarily be playing old time switching between banjo and fiddle but I’ll also be throwing in some Celtic tunes. I may even throw in the mountain dulcimer.
Do you take requests? Will you play me something that would be a good "theme song" for the Chisholm trail museum?
I always take requests. If I don’t know it I’ll just play something else. First thing that comes to mind is “The Old Chisholm Trail”. I used to know all the words to that. I got time before the Living History Days to re-learn it. I believe it was written in the 1870s and first published in 1910.
That’s funny, yes I do. My fiddle is named Liberty, the banjo is Goldie, and the mountain dulcimer is Mac. You have a very smart daughter.
I would have to say it would be the same thing. I can be worn out tired from playing but when a kid gets up and starts dancing it makes my day. From time to time it’s not just kids who’ll dance. Sometimes some adult will forget themselves and kick up their heels. Sometimes a well meaning spouse will try to get them to behave and smack ‘em on the back of the head. That really makes my day.
Something else I enjoy while playing is being able to visit with folks. They always have good questions like: What is the difference between a violin and fiddle? Are you playing bluegrass? Where did that song come from? Why do you play this style of music?
It’s not only an opportunity to share music but an opportunity to educate and teach folks something about music of the past. I always have high hopes of inspiring someone to want to learn to play an instrument and want to play old time. Getting new people playing the old music is the only way the music will stay alive
Why I’m glad you asked. I do and I really need to move ‘em. They would look much better on someone’s CD player than in my carry along.
I have 3 CDs.
Just Me and A fiddle was released 10 years ago. It is a collection of old time and Celtic fiddle tunes, all solo fiddle. No other instrumentation,.
Gathering on Persimmon Hill was released August of 2014. This one is a collection of old time and Celtic tunes and songs dating from 17th century to early 20th played on fiddle, clawhammer banjo, and mountain dulcimer.
Of Mice and Frogs was also released August of 2014. This one is also a collection of old time and Celtic tunes and songs dating from 17th century to early 20th played on fiddle, clawhammer banjo, and mountain dulcimer.
I have high hopes that the museum will carry them but until then they can be ordered off my website at: www.flyinfiddler.com
I will have them with me at the Living History Days.
Traditional Music of the Open Prairie
American Old Time & Celtic Music