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Archive for the ‘Bluegrass’ Category

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!

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This one’s for you, Gillian!

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This is such a pretty  tune. I first heard it off of Jayme Stone’s “Africa to Appalachia” album, played with Mansa Sissoko (kora) and Casey Driesen (fiddle). It’s a gorgeous interpretation, in that I feel they somehow manage to really get to the heart of what this tune is.  It certainly is a favourite of mine, because in addition to its inherent quality,  the Stone album was a gift from a close friend, and then a sweetheart taught it to me [but this is not cheating, I really do need to work on it as I’ve alsmot forgotten the B part] and finally, today,  it was a suggestion from an accomplished player and friend. So hurray for Chinquapin Hunting!

Also, check out the new links on the right.

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Tune 43: In the Pines

In the pines

in the pines

where the sun never shine…

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I skipped yesterday. I just plain forgot. The moral of the story: don’t fall off the wagon, because it’s harder to get back on the second time. What I mean to say is when I first started this tune a day committment, it started at such a time that it was easy to stay focused and then when I stop due to arm injuries, other time constraints made it harder to get back into it with the same zealousness. I suspect it would have been a tad easier to keep up if there had been no break. In any  case, to make up for yesterday’s absent-mindedness, I learned two tunes today, Lonesome Fiddle Blues being the first.

I don’t know anything about this tune, but I suspect it’s a Vassar Clements original. Incidentally, if any one has a recording of his live blues fiddle performance that sounds like it’s recorded on a tape deck, I would be quite grateful for a copy!

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This is getting pretty closed to cheating. I’ve never learned this tune, but I somehow already know it…a little, um, careful study can’t hurt though. I promise to learn the harmony in the next days to make up for this blatant example of including a tune I already know well enough to fake.

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This is such a beautiful tune! Bill Monroe tune is it? I’m not sure, but I have a great version off a four-disc compilation of his stuff that I’m combining with this fiddler’s take.  What a pretty, yearning melody.

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