The Old-Time Herald Volume 11, Number 9

“One of Them Scientific Fiddlers”: Mike Bryant of Tennessee
By Dwight Rogers
photo:Cedric N. Chatterley

Mike Bryant stood transfixed when he first heard a fiddle at the age of 23. He claims, “I never heard anything played before that affected me like that. I was convinced that if I could get my hands on a fiddle I could play one. I never felt that way about anything. There was never any type of instrument that grabbed me the way the fiddle did.” However, when he first picked up a fiddle and tried to play, Mike confesses, it was “the most awful thing I ever heard. Everything about it felt strange.”

Now, 31 years later, “Mike is one of the finest old-time fiddlers of my generation” says banjo and fiddle player Paul Brown. Banjo player and poet Molly Tenenbaum, describing Mike’s playing, exclaims,“ . . . oh my, it's so graceful and delicate and fierce and full and responsive and deep and absolutely raging." Fiddler Bruce Molsky says, “Mike has always been one of my fiddle heroes. His fiddling never fails to reconnect me with that deep, soulful feeling that made me fall in love with old-time music to start with.”

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