Mary Jane Queen, Etta Baker, and the Herald Angel Band
were featured in Carolina Roots: Womens Voices in N.C. Music at Guilford
College in Greensboro, NC in March.
The Old-Time Fiddlers Fair at the Genesee County Village &
Museum in Mumford, NY will be held Aug. 19-20. Info: 716)-538-6822.
The Florida Fiddler Convention will take place on Oct. 20-22 at Camp
Crystal Lake near Keystone Heights, FL. Info: Allen Hood, Florida State Fiddlers
Association, 1485 Arapahoe Ave., St. Augustine, FL, 32086; 904-824-1649.
The Montana Fiddle Camp will consist of two one-week sessions; week one
(June 4-9) will feature Canadian-style fiddling, and week two (June 11-16) will feature
Southern-style music. Info: Jeanne Buckley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vivian Williams sends us the following list of Washington State events:
the Washington State Fiddle Contest is in Prosser, WA on the first weekend in May, the
Tenino Old-Time Music Festival, now in its third decade, is March 17-18 in Tenino, WA, and
the Washington Old-Time Fiddlers Assn. Workshop is at Kittitas, WA July 31-Aug. 1
American Music & Dance Week at Pinewoods Camps, Plymouth, MA will
be Aug. 5-12. Paul Brown will be Program Director and Jody Stecher, Kate Brislin,
Lightnin Wells, Rod Miller, and George Higgs will be among the staff. Info: Steve
Howe 413-268-7426, ext. 3; www.cdss.org.
The Second Annual Bluff County Gathering will be held May 18-20 in
Lanesboro, MN, with Bruce Greene, Vesta Johnson, Bob Carlin, Geoff Seitz, Dick Kimmel, and
Clay Riness on staff.
The Appalachian Womens Alliances Ironwood Festival is
scheduled for Sept. 9 at the Appalachian South Folklife Center in Pipestem, WV.
The Blue Ridge Jamboree will be held on May 20, June 18, and July 15 at
7:30 p.m. at the Andy Griffith Playhouse in Mt. Airy, NC.
Mt. Airy is also the location for the 29th Annual Mount Airy Bluegrass
& Old-Time Fiddlers Convention, June 2-3 at Veterans Memorial Park. Info:
Pinnacle, NC, hosts a series of Toe-Tapping Afternoons in June at Home
Creek Living Historical Farm. Info: 336-325-2298.
Richard Powers Waltz Weekend will take place Apr. 28-30 at Split
Tree Farm Pavilion Studio. Total immersion in waltzing and other dances in which you
can turn, travel, and fly with a partner in your arms. Info: Seth Tepfer,
770-784-8487; email@example.com; www.splittree.org.
The Bones Fest IV will take place at Signal Mountain, TN on Sept.
22-24. This is the first anniversary of the Rhythm Bones Society. Register by August 15.
Info: Steve Wixson, 1060 Lower Brow Rd, Signal Mtn., TN 37377; 423-886-1744;
The First Annual Black Creek Fiddlers Reunion will take place May 26-28
in Altamont, NY at the Dutch Barn in the Altamont Fairgrounds. Info:
http://home.earthlink.net/~fiddlr/; Brian Sullivan 518-765-9310; firstname.lastname@example.org, or
Old Songs, Inc., 518-765-2815; email@example.com.
There will be a Fiddlers Convention on June 18, 11:00 am to 5:30 p.m.
at the Campbelltown Fire Co. Carnival Grounds, Campbelltown, PA. Included will be an open
stage, fiddle contest, and Fathers Day breakfast sponsored by the Ladies Auxiliary.
Info: Bob Kain, 717-838-8732.
The Champlain Valley Festival will take place Aug. 4-6 at the Univ. of
VT, Redstone Campus, Burlington, VT. Info: http://www.cvfest.org.
Artists & Agents
David Holt will be spending some time in Alberta, Canada for the
Calgary Intl. Childrens Festival (May 25-27) and the Northern Alberta Intl.
Childrens Festival (June 1-3), and in England for the Festival at the Edge (July
14-23) and a month-long tour until late August.
Fiddler Jerry Lundy is undergoing radiation therapy for a brain tumor
which has left his left side paralyzed. A second tumor was surgically removed. He is at
The BRECC Center, 3900 Loch Raven Blvd., Baltimore, MD 21218. His room phone is
Bob Bovee & Gail Heil will be appearing at the Gays Mills (WI) Folk
Festival on May 18, Harkin Store Historical Site near New Ulm, MN (May 28), Festival of
the Wild Rose Moon, Middleton, IN (June 3-4), Long Steel Rails Festival in Ely, NV (June
9-11), Summer Arts Festival in Vermillion, SD (June 17-18), Festival of American Fiddle
Tunes in Port Townsend, WA (July 2-9), Red Wing, MN, Arts in the Park (July 12), Rockford,
IL, Public Library (July 17), and Pinewoods Camp Folk Music Week in Plymouth, MA on July
The Weasel Creek String Band will be busy in May and July: Ferrum, VA
(May 13). Greenville, SC (June 14), Transylvania Arts Council, Brevard, NC ( July 3 &
July 8), Abbeville, SC (July 22), Bele Chere Festival, Asheville, NC (July 30). Info:
Marion Boatwright, 828-884-5257; firstname.lastname@example.org; Dean Watson, 800-768-9876
Paul and Win Grace performance dates include: June 3: Fort Scott, KS,
info: Rosy Frey, 316-223-0310; June 4: Liberty, MO, info: 816-792-2655; June 7: Lake of
the Ozarks, MO; June 10 & 11: Land Between the Lakes, TN, info: 270-924-2020; July 1,
2, & 4: St. Louis, MO, info: 314-655-1750-ext. 468; July 9: Columbia, MO, info: Terry
Hume, 573-214-4708; July 17: Normal, IL, info: 309-438-5386; July 23: Higginsville, MO,
info: 660-584-6104; July 29-30: Dundee, MN, info: Sharlotte Jass, 507-468-2704 or
507-468-2439; Aug. 5-6: Deer River, MN, info: Dick Kimmel, 507-359-1163,
email@example.com; Aug. 12-13: Florida, MO, Salt River Folklife Festival, info:
Leela and Ellie Grace performance dates include: May 21: Kansas City,
MO area, info: Jean Denney: 753-296- 3335; June 23-25: Battleground, IN, info: Kirk
Hallman, 765-742-1419; July 15-22: Capon Bridge, WV, info: Steve Howe 413-268- 7426; Aug.
12-13: Florida, MO (tentative), info: 573-565-3449.
Information can also be obtained through their Web site: www.folkfire.org/graces.
WV fiddler, Melvin Wine, was part of an old-time/Spanish cross
cultural concert--Voices of the Mountains--on Mar. 21. Other performers included
Doug Van Gundy, Anne Lund, Alvin Medina, Rube Figuora, and Roberto Rivera. The event was
sponsored by Appalshop and the Hostos Center for the Arts and Culture.
In Print, In School & On The Net
Old Hat Records, whose 1999 release Violin, Sing the
Blues for Me has generated considerable attention in the national media, has recently
announced a new Web address: www.oldhatrecords.com.
The fall, 1999 issue of Folklife Center News, published by the American
Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, contains a wonderful tribute to retiring
director (and ace fiddler), Alan Jabbour. There is also a good article documenting the
Lomaxs 1939 Southern States field recording trip.
Bob Dalsemer has a new Web address at Brasstown, NC:
Joseph Weidlich has announced his latest publication, Frank
Converses Banjo Instructor, Without a Master, a collection of mid-19th century songs
The Maury River Fiddlers Convention has a new Web site: Its
Carol Elizabeth Jones and James Leva have a new Web site:
Dean Watson shared the following links for a comprehensive coverage of
old-time music events and happenings in the Southeast: www.tedsims.com/atloldtime/;
Bruce Molsky has a new Web site with up-to-date calendar info:
Brad Leftwichs new Web site address is www.bradleftwich.com.
Besides calendar information for Brad it will also have calendar information for Tom, Brad
Recordings, Instruments & Labels
Document Records, based in Vienna, Austria has been purchased by Gary
Atkinson managing director of the new company, Document Records Ltd., which is now to be
based in the United Kingdom. Johnny will continue to produce for the company. In
production are the first four of six volumes of the Skillet Lickers (DOCD-8056, DOCD-8057,
DOCD-8058, DOCD-8059, DOCD-8060, DOCD-8061.) The company has a Web site providing all
catalogue information and E-Commerce ordering facilities www.document-records.com. Info:
Document Records, Ltd., 12 St. John St., Whithorn, Newton Stewart, UK;
Iowa Public Television will be releasing an album in May called Great
Takes, Traditional Acoustic Music (Iowa Public Television IPTV02A). This fundraising album
features 20 instrumental and vocal performances from the PBS television series
Old-Time Country Music (originally produced by Iowa Public TV). In order of
appearance, musicians include: Stoney Lonesome and Peter Ostroushko; Druha Trava; Kenny
Baker and Josh Graves; Bill Grant and Delia Bell; Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain
Boys; Jim and Jesse and the Virginia Boys; Don Edwards; Cathy Barton and Dave Para; Mac
Wiseman; The Makem Brothers; Molly Mason and Jay Ungar; and Bob Bovee and Gail Heil. All
performed their songs in only one take before a studio audience at Iowa Public Television.
Hence the title, Great Takes. Info: Mark Foust, 800-532-1290.
Copper Creek Records of Roanoke, VA has just released three new CDs:
Dick Kimmels Fishin Creek Blues (CC-0173) which features his clawhammer banjo
playing with assistance from Bob Bovee & Gail Heil as well as band mates Jed Malischke
and Paul Horrisberger; Jones & Levas Verties Dream (CC-0180), which
features their original songs as well as some traditional material, with additional backup
by John Reischman, Mike Seeger, Dave Winston, and Dave Grant; and the new CD by Tom, Brad
& Alice, Holly Ding (CC-0179).
Jim Roberts has a new CD, Two Traditions which features the blending of
fiddle and banjo music with ethnic percussion.
It features Jim Roberts, Nery Arevalo, the Horseflies, Chad Crumm, Rickie Simkins and
Nancy Sluys. Info: Callin the Kettle Black Music, 5062 Lakeview Dr., Nashville, TN
The Music Maker Relief Foundation, Inc. is a nonprofit organization
dedicated to helping the artists who pioneered the southern blues music traditions. Info:
www.musicmaker.org or write Rt. 1, Box 567, Pinnacle, NC 27043.
On The Air
Bill Moffett, of WCOJ 1420AM in Coatesville, PA has launched a new
program, Country Corner, every Sunday from 1-4 pm, featuring old-time and traditional
bluegrass, live and recorded. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to WCOJ,
3721 East Lincoln Hwy., Thorndale, PA 19372.
WXYC 89.3FM, Chapel Hill, NC has a regular show on Sundays from 1-2pm
that features music from the Southern Folklife Collection. Hosts will vary.
Sessions & Jams
There is an old-time jam on the second Wed. of each month at the
Cultural Arts Center, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro, NC. Info: Sarah Peterson 336-335-3010
Bill and Fritzi Wisdom host old-time jams in their home (brave souls!)
in the western suburbs of Philadelphia almost every Friday night were
home. Info: 610-527-7080 or email@example.com.
The California Old-Time Fiddlers Association, District 9, has a regular
monthly jam on the 3rd Sunday of each month (moves to 4th Sunday if its a holiday)
at the United Methodist Church in Castro Valley, CA. Info: Bob Palasek at
Mt. Airy, NC is the site of several jams on a regular basis, including:
Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Jam every Thurs. at 7 p.m. in the Andy Griffith Playhouse,
every Sat. from 9-11 am at the Downtown Cinema Theater, and the Merry-Go Round every
Saturday from 11 am-1:30 p.m. at the Downtown Cinema Theater, live broadcast on WPAQ-AM.
Final Notes Earnest East, the last living original Camp Creek Boys fiddler, died in early January, a few weeks after his wife, Fannie Sutphin East. Earnest was thoroughly grounded in the Round Peak tradition and played in a style that, while uniquely his, left no doubt as to its origins.
Woodrow Boone, 76 old-time fiddler and banjo player of Turkey Branch (near Mars Hill) NC, died of a heart attack at home on Dec. 3, 1999. Woodrow, his brothers Cecil and J.C. and their uncle Clarence played for many years as the Boone Brothers and were the house band for Bascom Lamar Lunsfords Mountain Dance & Folk Festival in Asheville. Woodrows music was documented and released on a series of recordings in 1992 by Roger Howell. A 10th generation descendant of Daniel Boone, he was always willing and eager to share his music and stories.
Pee Wee King, 86, Western swing bandleader and songwriter, most notably co-author of Tennessee Waltz with Redd Stewart, died at his home in March.
John Morris Rankin, Nova Scotia fiddler and member of the Rankin Family, was killed in a traffic accident on Cape Breton Island on Jan. 18.
Keith McReynolds, 44, son of Jesse McReynolds of Jim & Jesse and the Virginia Boys and singer and bass player, died on Feb. 2 after a long battle with multiple sclerosis.
Derroll Adams, old-time banjo player, singer and songwriter, died in Antwerp, Belgium on Feb. 6. He had lived in Europe since the late 1950s and was a mainstay of the European folk scene.
Martin Douglas Doug Wallin, 80, of Crane Branch, died on March 15 at a local hospital. A native and lifelong resident of Marshall, he was the son of Lee and Berzilla Chandler Wallin. In 1990 he traveled from his home in Madison County to Washington, D.C., to receive a Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. This is the nations most prestigious award for traditional artists. The presentation tribute pointed out that this quiet and modest man is widely regarded as quite simply the finest living singer of unaccompanied British ballads in southern Appalachia. Only the year before, the Arts Council of his home state had honored him with a North Carolina Folk Heritage Award for his natural artistry and his reverence for the meaning and heritage of the old songs. For the last decade he has performed widely with his brother Jack Wallin.Brent Cantrell
Missouri fiddler and contest champion, Pete McMahan passed away February 11, 2000. Pete was born in 1918 in the rural Bluffton community of Montgomery County in the Little Dixie region of central Missouri, famous for its many influential fiddlers. Like many in Little Dixie, McMahans family came to Missouri in the early 19th century from central Kentucky, and from North Carolina a generation before that. The first McMahans in America came to North Carolina from County Mayo, Ireland, in 1734. Pete started playing fiddle at age six, in a family of musicians. His mother played violin and accompanied local dance fiddlers on the parlor organ. Petes first mentor was a legendary dance fiddler named Clark Atterbury who lived on the neighboring farm. Pete played everything in chorded A or D when he was learning to play. He played at countless dances in the 1930s. He won his first contest at age 15 in St. Charles, MO while working as a stone quarry laborer (the prize was a sack of groceries). Pete moved to Columbia (a regional center and college town) in 1937 and began playing tough hornpipes and reels in F and B-flat under the influence of contest and radio fiddler, George Morris, as well as fiddlers like Aaron Oliver, Jones Cuno, and Ed Tharp. McMahan served in the Army in the Second War as an infantryman in North Africa and Italy.
Pete won his first big fiddle contest in Columbia in 1945 playing
Money Musk and Zig Zag Hornpipe (B-flat) with a piano and tenor
banjo as his backup (familiar backups in our region in those days). McMahan had the
admirable ability to play complicated melodic tunes but keep as the foundation his amazing
drive and danceable tempo. After the War, he played fiddle in a dance band in local
honky-tonks and taverns with two guitars, electric bass, piano, and B-flat saxophone. Pete
married Sarah Ronimous in 1954, and, moving to Arizona to find work, McMahan stopped
fiddling from then until 1965 in order to make a living for his family. They moved back to
Columbia in 1965 and his old friends Taylor McBaine and Cleo Persinger got him to fiddling
again. In the late 1960s, McMahan devoted himself solely to contest fiddling and began a
fascinating process of dressing up tunes specifically for the contest arena.
Pete competed successfully at Weiser, Idaho national contests and judged there for several
years. He won and then judged many major contests after that, and won first in contests in
Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee, and South Dakota, and of course at countless Missouri
Pete recorded four LP records in the 1970s, and the Missouri State Old-Time Fiddlers Association put out two cassettes of his music in the 1980s. He was four-time Missouri State Champion, a gifted fiddle teacher in the Missouri Folk Arts Apprenticeship Program and at various fiddle camps. He performed at the Smithsonians Festival of American Folklife, National Folk Festival (Lowell MA), the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes (Port Townsend WA), etc. A profile of Pete by John Griffin appeared in the Old-Time Herald in 1994. His individual version of the Little Dixie fiddling style focused on hard-driving rhythm, driving accent, and great clarity in his clean noting and precise double-stops. McMahans music, a very difficult specific style to emulate, is being carried on quite well by younger fiddlers who played with Pete, such as Charlie Walden (Evanston, IL), John Griffin (Fulton, MO), his last student John Williams (Madison, MO), and, to a much smaller and unfulfilled degree, the writer of this death notice. It was my great privilege to travel with Pete McMahan to countless contests and sessions over the last years of his life and I am grateful for that friendship and experience. Pete McMahan, a giant among contest fiddlers in the U.S.A. in the 1970s and 1980s, will be missed. --Howard (Rusty) Marshall
John Currie is a musician and singer who lives in Jacksonville, NC. He plays fiddle
with The Floyd Pond Ramblers.