The Old-Time Herald Volume 14, Number 5


Every Note Should Have Its Own Say: Bobby Taylor of West Virginia
By Scott Prouty

Bobby Taylor
courtesy of Bobby Taylor

Fiddling goes back several generations in Bobby Taylor's West Virginia family. He was raised in Dunbar in the Kanawha Valley, near Charleston, and was steeped in the old-style fiddling of his father, Lincoln Taylor. Lincoln passed on his obsession with fiddling to Bobby, and also instilled in him an appreciation for the great fiddlers of the area, including Clark Kessinger, Mike Humphries, and Reese B. “Sam” Jarvis.

This was the beginning of a journey in fiddling that has encompassed the Kanawha Valley style, older archaic styles, Ed Haley's playing, contest fiddling, and more recent country music and bluegrass. In the interview from which this article is excerpted, held in June 2015, Taylor talked about the learning process and how it has changed over time for him, for those he learned from, and for those he teaches. A theme that emerged throughout the interview is that of adaptability: how his playing changes depending on the setting, how approaches to playing in contests should alter depending on expectations, and being open to suggestions to improve the events he runs. Bobby is constantly exploring new musical avenues and absorbs any and all influences, while retaining the best characteristics of his mentors. -Scott Prouty



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