The Old-Time Herald Volume 13, Number 8

Fiddling and Politics
By Paul F. Wells
collection of Paul Wells

Fiddling and politics. The two have been intertwined in Southern culture since at least the days of the famous “War of the Roses” in 1886, when brothers Alf and Bob Taylor ran against each other in a bid for the governorship of Tennessee. The Taylors fiddled and orated their way around the state, with the Democratic younger brother, Bob, emerging victorious over his Republican sibling. (He served from 1887-1891, then won a second term that ran from 1897-1899. Alf eventually earned a spot in the governor’s mansion too, and served from 1921-1923.)
Fiddler Roy Acuff was not as successful when he ran his own campaign for governor of Tennessee in 1948. His celebrity as one of the Grand Ole Opry’s biggest stars at the time did not prevent him from losing in a landslide to Gordon Browning—though as a Republican in that era Acuff probably had the proverbial snowball’s chance in Hades of carrying the day.


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