Most of us (fiddlers or not) are fickle when it comes to a lot of things.
But I'm curious for a lot of reasons.
I started out thinking that certain fiddlers hung the moon and were the epitome of old time fiddling. Over the years my tastes have changed. I think most of that has to do with me discovering how I personally like to play. As I have progressed to where I am now, I have discovered things that have lured me away from what might be described as "popular" (if there is such a thing in old time music) to things that have a more personal appeal.
The fiddlers I would say are my favorite - today - are: Art Stamper, Bob Townsend, Snake Chapman, Rhys Jones, Geoff Seitz, Sammy Lind - I guess because I have learned so many of their tunes.
Certainly, there are a lot more that I like - but I have honed in on the a lot of the tunes these guys play. I'm looking for a common thread between them that peaks my interest.
But I also thought it would be good to ask where your taste in old time music has taken you? Who has your attention these days?
These days, I'm just trying to play better the things I know. I don't seek out new tunes, though I pick some up just playing in jams. My list is large enough that I try to play tunes that I haven't played in a long time, but don't want to forget.
I find that who I like that pops up on Spotify mirror your list some, Tony. I have some CDs of Clifftop jam recordings that feature Rhys Jones and Bigfoot joined by Grace Forest that are just stellar. I like Rafe Stefanini(sp?), Dan Gellert, and Emily Shadd too. Lots that I don't own CDs of but hear via internet radio. Oh, Claire Milliner and Walt Koken, they have a delightful, together way of playing and have fun tunes.
Otherwise, I'm still a fan Emmett Lundy, Ed Haley, Stephen B. Tucker, William Stepp, Henry Reed, Uncle Bunt, Luther Strong, you know, some of those ODG (original dead guys) from 78s and early field recordings.
And like Carl, I don't actively seek much in the way of new tunes but they creep into my repertoire occasionally. Often I find myself in a jam saying, "This is a good dance tune," and if it sticks in my head later, it enters the dance list. This year after Clifftop I have "Twin Sisters" and "Cuffy" added. My records show I've played both tunes a bunch but like so many tunes that float by in a jam, neither were in my head permanently. Go figure.
I'm not sure I consider it being fickle --- instead it may be just that early on the number of fiddlers and types of fiddle music I had heard was limited. As you progress and start venturing out further into 'fiddle world' it's almost inevitable that you're going to prefer the sound of some styles over others and some players over others.
Having been at it for some time now I find myself pulled toward perfect rhythm and hypnotic tunes rather than tunes with a lot of notes, which I previously had been compelled to learn.
I never did have any finger speed. So Cyril Stinnett style technique was never attainable. That's not to say i don't appreciate it. I'd be a poorer man if i never met Red Lamb. But i can only do what i can. I guess, according to what they say, i have a pretty good ear. So that's my fort'e. Impovisation. This means i can sorta play along to that OT stuff but purists don't like that so . . .
I really had fun surfing that Johnny Gimble stuff last night. Y'know he went along way not playing much OT. There's still too much to play, even if i don't play much OT, Irish, Scottish, Cape Breton, or Classical.
There is no such thing as being fickle. Our tastes chance as we mature. Different styles resonate with us.
When I started to play, I was attracted first to Celtic (Irish, Scottish, Shetland) music (I list a dozen or more bands and fiddlers here, but Aly Bain was a huge inspiration for me!) , then Jean Carignan, then Cape Breton, then old-time, then Missouri/Ozarks. I have found that much of old-time is uninteresting musically, even though it is incredibly fun to play with others. The playing of Cyril Stinnett, Pete McMahan, and all of the other wonderful Missouri fiddlers, past and present, attract me and are accessible for me.
However, I am more strongly pulled to the playing of Jean Carignan and the wonderful Cape Breton fiddlers! If only my finders didn't grow roots on my fret board. I have reverted back to influences early in my journey - those who initially piqued my interest.
Now having moved to music for English Country dances, I have greatly improved my sight-reading skills, my ability to play in different time signatures (3/2, 6/8, 9/8 etc) and my ability to play in flatted keys. I am no longer intimidated!!
So, at this point in my life, I sometimes wish I had started playing violin seriously as a kid. However, I probably would have hated it and I would not be playing at all. So, no regrets for my life's journey. I'm just enjoying where I am at the moment.
'Walter Mettal Violin Bow' 11 hrs
'Thinner necks' 16 hrs
'Just got a fiddle' 16 hrs
'Gustav Henning Violins' 1 day