Has it really been so many days since the last tune? I’m really having a hard time keeping up with this after having stopped. On the up side, while I wasn’t learning new tunes, I was learning some things that might even be better, and straight from the source. And it led me to Temperance Reel.
The place you should check this tune out is in John Showman’s ‘Bluegrass Bowing Technique: Teaching Manual with Play-along CD’. This is easily worth the twenty Canadian dollars you’ll pay for it. Not at all coincidentally, in the notes he tells of one of his earlier violin teachers who told him what my violin teacher told me: it’s all in the bow. So get this book, and you’ll also get increasingly challenging and, dare I say, educational verions of Temperance Reel, Arkansas Traveller, The Cuckoo’s Nest, Cattle in the Cane, Bily in the Lowground and Two O’Clock in the morning. Each new version of a tune adds an element of style and technique, so there’s plenty to practice and apply across all your tunes.
And if you don’t already know who John Showman is, what the heck are you waiting for! He’s one of my favourite fiddlers and one of Canada’s greatest. He’s got plenty of style and a great sense of musicality, and manages to bend your expectations just far enough to keep your two feet on the ground (stomping) and twist your head into the clouds. He plays with a few different groups, Foggy Hogtown Boys being my favourite of them, but you should also check out Creaking Tree String Quartet (possibly the best band name I’ve ever heard). He recently released a self-titled solo album which features a really nice mix of influences, and almost all original tunes.
The Foggy Hogtown Boy’s new album ‘Scotch and Sofa’ is kickass, so don’t tarry and get on it!