A great tune suggested to me by a fellow Franco-Ontarion.


Well, I dropped the ball (i.e. fiddle) on March 11. So to make up for missing my tune-a-day on day 40, tune 40 (on day 41) is kick ass! Thanks goes to my good buddy Paul, who suggested Old Greasy Coat, and an awesome crooked version of it. I’ve listened to Molsky’s version quite a bit, but I have to say I’m really diggin’ this backyard recording Billygoat and Grandaddy. I checked out the several different versions in the fiddle hangout library. It’s amazing how much a tune can change and mutate into idiosyncratic interpretations but still hit all its reference points and be recognizable.

So check out Old Greasy Coat (a possible reference to condoms, one forum contributor informed me) and rip it up in cross G.

I don’t drink and I don’t smoke and I don’t wear no greasy coat

I don’t smoke and I don’t chew, and I don’t kiss boys like you

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.

Seneca Square Dance, also a tune suggestion from James W. There are a few recordings at the Fiddle Hangout (see links), but I quite enjoyed this version off youtube from FiddlinRed.

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.

And we’re back on the wagon.  After a good three weeks off, which saw very little fiddling happen, the tune Forked Dear gets me back to some good ol’, ol’ time sawing. This tune was a recommendation from James W. I really like the Bruce Molsky version of this one, so I’m working from that.

Practicing the last 9 tunes (27 to 35) is…hmmm…a bit of a cold shower. It seems like I have to learn them all over again, especially as a few of these were learned fairly off the cuff (like “Raleigh and Spencer”, which was learned while being performed). So, in addition to a lot of practicing ahead, there’s also a lot of listening to do. That, actually, is what I feel I am most disconnected from – the simple and quiet act of listening to music. Listening is also, I feel, one of the best things you can do to improve. But than entails careful, attentive, focused listening; not background music. Which reminds me, I better get to planning the tunes a few days in advance if I want to be able to absorb them through listening first…

Outta tune

Oh dear. I’m afraid a series of unfortunate events has delayed the return of the tune of day experiment. Maybe this week I’ll start it up again? It’s a sad day, a day with no music : (

Though learning a new tune a day brings on some slight insanity, it also  goes a long way in maintaining a certain sense of groundedness.  Maybe it was not playing for two weeks that brought along the crazy?