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Apr 18, 2021 - 6:02:45 AM
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381 posts since 7/31/2018

This week's tune is Icy Mountain from the playing of James Warden "Ward" Jarvis (19 March 1894--18 September 1982). He was the son of Josiah "Si" Jarvis (1831-1901) and Amanda Melissa Siers (1855-1942). He married Susie Ellen Fulks (1902-1956) on 3 June 1920. (source for above: Ancestry and public documents)

According to Milliner-Koken, Jarvis moved to Athens County, OH, in the late 1940s to work in the timber industry. They also state that he played banjo with Ed Haley and John McIlwaine, frequently visited Henry Reed, and never recroded commercially but was recorded by various people in field recordings.

Jarvis' repertoire was typical of his West Virginia origin with many archaic-sounding cross tuned pieces as well as other, later tunes that were popular in the 1920s and 1930s.

I was able to find very little about this unusual tune. Tradtional Tune Archive relates that there is a tune collected in Kentucky called Icy Mountain which is in D mixolydian that is a variant of My Home's Across the Smoky Mountains/Blue Ridge Mountains. TTA states that "it seems unrelated to this breakdown piece." They show written notation of a tune in D mixolydian, and that tune certainly is related to Jarvis' Icy Mountain (which TTA says Jarvis learned from a Clay County, WV left handed fiddler named Frank Santy). The B part of the tune TTA notates clearly is the A part of Jarvis' Icy Mountin, just a perfect fifth lower. The A part of the tune TTA shows some similarity in the phrasing of Jarvis' B part, but that's about it. It's very confusing to follow what TTA is saying about these tunes. I cannot tell if they are making any connection with Jarvis' Icy Mountain and the D mixolydian tune they notated (it seems the are not).

I wish to thank friends Stephen Rapp on banjo (Kent, OH) and Sean Fen on guitar (Wooster, OH) for recording this tune with me earlier this year.

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Apr 18, 2021 - 7:02:53 PM
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11899 posts since 9/23/2009
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Nice tune and you all sound good together!

Apr 18, 2021 - 7:12:57 PM

381 posts since 7/31/2018

Originally posted by groundhogpeggy

Nice tune and you all sound good together!

Thanks, Peggy! 

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