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Old Time Jams in Dallas

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Old time music is alive and well in Dallas! The Dallas Heritage Village his invited us to make the Village our home for jams twice a month on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays. We get a wide variety of folks with an equally wide variety of skill levels and experience. Attendance fluctuates, but has been fairly consistent at 6-8 folks. The past two jams have been twice that!! 

What is incredible is that there is a core of musicians who have an incredible depth of experience in playing old time music.

  • Fiddle - 40+ years (me)
  • Fiddle - 40+ years
  • Fiddle - 25 years
  • Banjo - 50+ years (also mtn dulcimer - 50+years)
  • Guitar - 40+ years
  • Guitar - 40+ years 

So, when newer folks come, they will have the collective wisdom and knowledge of well-over 250 year of music-making. No one in this esteemed group has any problem playing "warhorses" or playing at a slower tempo. We were each new and these jam sessions are what kept us going. We want to pass it on!

At the jam last week, I was thinking about John Cohen and the New Lost City Ramblers and revisiting some of their recordings. One tune that I learned very early was the Milwaukee Blues from the recording of Charlie Poole. I later heard the NLCR do it. Anyway, it was in my head when I went to the jam. 

As we were getting organized, I started playing Milwaukee Blues. This tune had never been played before at the jams, but the experienced folks just jumped in as if it had been the regular play list rotation. I don't know the words, but someone else did -- and he sounded exactly like Charlie Poole! Golly, was that fun!

The neat thing was that the newer folks just joined in. Yes, they struggled, but soon got it. What was even better were all the questions about the source and the frantic scribbling to capture this information. 

So, here's a snippet of Mississippi Sawyer from the jam on Sept 21, 2019. It's one of the largest sessions we have had and the skill level vary quite a bit. However, it really is very good.



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Playing Since: 1977
Experience Level: Purty Good

Fiddler has made 49 recent additions to Fiddle Hangout 

[Jamming] [Socializing]

Occupation: chemist/professor

Gender: Male
Age: 65

My Instruments:
JBSchweitzer, GTL-Barnabetti, 1900's era German guild Strad copies.

Favorite Bands/Musicians:
Skillet Lickers, Tommy Jarrel, Clark Kessinger, Buddy Thomas, Lonnie Robertson, Earl Collins, Uncle Dave Hutchison, Art Galbraith, etc. My strongest influences have been the wonderful fiddlers of the Southern Ozarks/Northern Arkansas region. Additionally, playing for contra dances over the past many years provided exposure to New England style and repertoir.

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Created 6/22/2007
Last Visit 11/15/2019

Starting out playing mountain dulcimer and fiddle at the same time after attending the Ozark Folk Festival in Mtn.View, Arkansas in 1977. A few years later I was a regional finalist on MD. As much as I liked MD, the fiddle kept calling me. My decsion to play fiddle was essentially for two reasons - a) it was not heavy and b) I traveled frequently and it would fit in the overhead compartment on the plane. I learned much from old-timers in northern Arkansas, but I was also nutured by a strong OT music community in Austin, Texas. During my "career" I've played for uncountable square&contra dances and co-founded, with my wife, the North Texas Traditional Dance Society in Dallas. So, my repertoire and interest ranges from OT to New England to Celtic, but my style is decidedly of the Ozarks and midWest. In real life I teach chemistry/chemical technology, but it hasn't hurt my fiddling.

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