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Tuesday, June 29, 2010


crouse house fiddlers

Some mighty fine fiddle music going with Wade Petty and Erica Godfrey hearing each other's sounds together flowing through the music, neither trying to outplay the other, but to use their different styles and sound to complement the other, weave their different ways of playing into a single sound that gives the tune a new dimension. They were having the kind of enjoyment only musicians know. The way I hear it, they are artists of sound creating a new sound together, 100% totally in the now. It's like music of all sorts is going with the ongoing now giving it varieties of waves, sound, every note a present moment high and low, the music riding the waves of the tune.

The musicians took a break, some of them to the kitchen for a cup of coffee and anything from a variety of cookies, some home made, some store bought. When the others got up to stretch their legs, Wade Petty pulled his chair to face Erica, and somebody whose name I don't know stayed with a guitar and kept rhythm for them. They played several songs in such a way it showed one of the spontaneous joys of musicianship. Two extra good fiddlers enjoying a chance to make music with another. I was watching them and hearing them, seeing the present day fiddlers in the tradition of our region, hearing the sounds they created in relation to each other. I felt like their musical aside was a concert in itself. I stood listening, thinking, this is quite a moment. Wouldn't it be great to record it? Wouldn't it be better not to? Allow it its own spontaneity. Let it be what it is. I felt like a snapshot without flash would be no disturbance to the music. I didn't want to interfere in any way.

Yesterday and today I went around to different people I wanted to deliver the cd of Jr, Cleve and Art to people I know who knew them, made music with them, love this music. Dropped in at the radio station Monday morning to see Sonya and deliver the cd for her and Bill. She wanted to play the 2 songs of Jr with Cleve Andrews. She asked me if I'd like to give some out over the air. Sure. I went to the car and brought some in. The telephone rang every time I clicked the off button. I knew several of the callers and we had a moment of being in touch. 15 called in a row. Then no more. It was wild. I was writing names, being certain that my imperfect hearing got the name as it really is. Like in this part of the mountains the names White, Wright and Wyatt are all pronounced the same. And these were my listeners, the ones I made the cds for. It gave me joy to talk with each one of them, sometimes someone telling me they used to make music with Cleve and Jr too. For bluegrass lovers, this is straight on mountain bluegrass picked by musicians who get the job done. And every one I talked with on the phone Monday and Saturday was somebody who knew at least one of them, most often Cleve and Jr. Several were in awe of hearing Cleve's fiddle again after 32 years since he's been gone.

Several hours today I went around to particular people I wanted to be sure had one, stopping to visit for a while, then on to the next one. I saw people both days I've not seen in awhile. Good spirit with everybody. Going from place to place leaving the cd and visiting for awhile, telling the story of how this music came together, where the recordings came from, Kilby Spencer, and how he came by them. The people of the county are becoming aware of heritage now that the old ways are gone. They're aware now, thanks to Ernest Joines, possibly the only one in the county who knew everybody who ever picked a string during his lifetime to assemble the 4-cd set of music from Alleghany County. Ernest's collection has done a great deal toward drawing interest to the musicians of the county. This collection of Jr's musician friends is something so rare of such good music and sound quality I couldn't keep it to myself.

It has been 2 happy days of talking with people I see too seldom. The love for this music is enthusiastic. It's like something that fell out of the blue into my lap. I chose to share it with my listeners, Jr's friends and kin, radio stations and archives. The joy I've received from this experience was a side effect I hadn't taken into consideration in advance, at all. It crept up on my by surprise.

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