Jess Moore, 94, of Henagar, Alabama, died February 6. Born in 1911, he started the first radio station in Fort Payne after he returned from World War II. He began fiddling when he was a teenager and often won the important DeKalb County Fiddlers Convention, held at the county courthouse. His first paying gig was on a “Flying Jenny,” a portable mule-powered carnival ride that also started the career of the Louvin Brothers.
Jess Moore’s fiddling can be heard on the CD Possum Up A Gum Stump: Home, Field and Commercial Recordings of Alabama Fiddlers. Matt Downer (firstname.lastname@example.org), a musician who is dedicated to documenting and preserving the songs and stories of the older generation of musicians in the Sand Mountain region. He has produced a hand-made recording which features Jess Moore’s fiddle tunes, memories of early settlers, fiddlers’ conventions, first phonographs and life on the mountain in days past.
He was a respected and beloved person in the area and over 300 people attended his visitation and funeral.