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Jul 28, 2021 - 12:47:54 PM
1464 posts since 7/26/2015

Who in your opinion would be on the Mount Rushmore of fiddlers. Should each genre/style have its own Mount Rushmore of fiddlers rather than applying this concept to just "fiddle"? Aside from this, who are your top four fiddle heroes, in no particular order.

Jul 28, 2021 - 4:02:14 PM
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Swing

USA

2051 posts since 6/26/2007

Junior Daugherty... south west fiddling I would easily have Junior Daugherty, Graham Townsend, Canadian, Blaine Sprouse, Just great fiddling, and myself, because I want to be there.....

Play Happy
Swing

Jul 28, 2021 - 5:52:50 PM

1464 posts since 7/26/2015

I had the pleasure of meeting Junior Daugherty. I liked him and his fiddling very much. If I remember correctly, he is from New Mexico, which I don't think is considered part of the cultural south, but he certainly seemed like a southerner to me.
quote:
Originally posted by Swing

Junior Daugherty... south west fiddling I would easily have Junior Daugherty, Graham Townsend, Canadian, Blaine Sprouse, Just great fiddling, and myself, because I want to be there.....

Play Happy
Swing


Jul 29, 2021 - 7:01:22 AM
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509 posts since 9/1/2010

My list for the Mount Rushmore of fiddlers would be:

Edden Hammons

Ed Haley

Tommy Jarrell

Eck Robertson

As far as my personal favorite four:

Edden Hammons

Ed Haley

French Carpenter

Dave Bing

Jul 29, 2021 - 11:20:48 AM
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1249 posts since 10/13/2010

I think each genre probably needs its own but some of my favorites.

Tommy Jarrel
John Hartford
Stephan Grappelli
Stuff Smith
Vasser Clemons
Kenny Baker

I don't think that's a bad list.

Jul 29, 2021 - 12:25:45 PM

1464 posts since 7/26/2015

I'm still wrestling with who to put on the Mount Rushmore of fiddlers. Arthur Smith, Doc Roberts, Clark Kessinger, Eck Robertson, Lowe Stokes, and Clayton McMichen all appear to have made a huge impact on fiddling as a whole. I get the impression that all of these people listened to each other's work. Right there, we have five states; Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Texas, and Georgia. I'd say at least one of these people would have to be on the Mount Rushmore of fiddlers. I'd put Tommy Jarrell up there as well. I've read that the following violinists had an impact: Grapelli, Szigeti, Venuti, and Kreisler.

Jul 29, 2021 - 2:36:58 PM

2394 posts since 10/22/2007

Pendleton Vanderveer (Uncle Pen)
Josh Goforth (Gene, Cecil, and Lonnie's Grandfather)
Lee Stoneking (Fred's Father)
Uncle Bob Walters

Modern/
Steph Grappelli
Kenny Baker
Vassar Clements
Johnny Gimble

Jul 30, 2021 - 8:23:16 AM
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4303 posts since 6/23/2007

Fiddlers tend to be biased and like fiddlers who play their favorite style. If I were a well known fiddler, I would avoid comparisons against Mark O'Connor. He has phenomenal natural musical talent, and that is something you can't learn.

Calvin Vollrath, a Canadian, is my favorite fiddler. On Youtube I saw Joey McKenzie ask Calvin to play some difficult tunes made popular by famous fiddlers. Calvin "whipped" the tunes out with no problem.

Popular and ability are not synonymous.

Jul 30, 2021 - 9:53:33 AM

gapbob

USA

765 posts since 4/20/2008
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There are so many great fiddlers that get no attention. As fine as these fiddlers are that have been mentioned, they all learned from someone, heard someone. I remember reading that Michael Coleman's brother (James?) was a better fiddler.

O'Connnor has great virtuosity, but I really don't enjoy his playing from a style viewpoint.

It is like the "Best 100 (insert category here)s of all time" crap we get sent on facebook, etc. If someone has been around in the last 20 years, they get a boost of about "double their talent", compared to those who came before.

The category "Mount Rushmore of Fiddlers" would essentially be those who were commercially successful and showy. For example, Don Messer is held in high regard, but a very fine fiddler I won't name disparaged his simplification of "Trip to Windsor." He was a showman, not a great fiddler.

I seem to remember reading once that Kenny Baker was asked who the best fiddler was and he said something to the effect that "That fiddler from southern Missouri is awful good."  (Referring to Cyril Stinnett).

Found this here:
https://www.fiddlehangout.com/archive/2938

I keep thinking on this and I would say that the fiddlers who just "play the tune well" are better than those who use the tune as an avenue to show off.  So some of those fiddlers mentioned earlier might not get a vote from me.

Edited by - gapbob on 07/30/2021 10:01:06

Jul 30, 2021 - 12:57:01 PM

9340 posts since 3/19/2009
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quote:
Originally posted by Swing

Junior Daugherty... south west fiddling I would easily have Junior Daugherty, Graham Townsend, Canadian, Blaine Sprouse, Just great fiddling, and myself, because I want to be there.....

Play Happy
Swing


Would that be the Yound SWING, or the Old SWING?

Jul 30, 2021 - 1:07:16 PM
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Swing

USA

2051 posts since 6/26/2007

Lee, that would be the OLD Swing, much better bowing....

Play Happy

Swing

Jul 30, 2021 - 3:14:23 PM

3117 posts since 6/21/2007

Well, that ol' Devil (down somewhere in Georgia) would have to be the most prominent, don't you think?

Jul 30, 2021 - 6:24:21 PM
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Old Scratch

Canada

794 posts since 6/22/2016

I feel like I have to come to the defence of Don Messer - even though I've never been a real fan of his fiddling. I don't know what the criteria is for a 'great' fiddler - but Messer developed his own simple, clean, bright, fast style, and performed an uncountable number of tunes flawlessly and consistently, in a full schedule over 50 years or more, and was widely admired among fiddlers - he was not without his detractors, of course, but even among them, you would have a hard time finding any who would deny the man's ability on his instrument.

Odd to hear him described as a 'showman' - he certainly was in the sense that he put shows together and performed in them, but on stage, he just stood and played, with a bit of a half-smile.

Trip to Windsor is a Cape Breton tune, of course, and Messer adapted it to his style. That kind of thing is always going to rub some people the wrong way - but it's what many fiddlers do, and why we have so many versions of Soldier's Joy. Messer was always on the look-out for good tunes, and when he found one, he grabbed it.

Here's a bit of the man in action, for those who are wondering:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzAzShZVw_g
 

Jul 30, 2021 - 6:54:13 PM
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DougD

USA

10264 posts since 12/2/2007
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I was just reading a bio of Don Messer, where he was described as a modest person who was always glad to have others share the spotlight.
Graham Townsend, who was mentiined earlier in this thread, recorded an album called "I Like Don Messer" and I do too.

Jul 30, 2021 - 10:46:56 PM

52 posts since 7/30/2021

quote:



I keep thinking on this and I would say that the fiddlers who just "play the tune well" are better than those who use the tune as an avenue to show off. 
Agree so much with this!
Recently l listened to a version of "Take Me Home, Country Roads" and the fiddler came in and blasted away at a high fast solo that seemed to have nothing to do with the tune at all. As a listener I was like ???  I've found that there are actually a lot of fiddlers who do this...like they just inserted a bunch of cool, wild notes that are unrelated to what the singer/band just did...the faster the better. The ones who have a sensitive poetic relation to the tune, who make it sound even better and give it that little twist or harmony that makes it sound even more beautiful...those are the creative artists I admire...and what I aspire to. I haven't got a "list" yet but I'm working on it! 
 

Edited by - NCnotes on 07/30/2021 22:48:17

Jul 31, 2021 - 5:46:30 AM
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2379 posts since 10/1/2008

Well ... A Mt. Rushmore would have to be "firsts" wouldn't it........ First Bluegrass fiddler Chubby Wise.... First jazz fiddler Stuff Smith ..... First Country fiddler Eck Robertson? First OT fiddler of record IDK .... help me here ... Clayton McMichen maybe First Texas contest style fiddler Benny Thomasson ...... First rock fiddler ...... Jean Luc Ponty

Jul 31, 2021 - 6:16:54 AM

2394 posts since 10/22/2007

quote:
Originally posted by NCnotes
quote:



I keep thinking on this and I would say that the fiddlers who just "play the tune well" are better than those who use the tune as an avenue to show off. 
Agree so much with this!
Recently l listened to a version of "Take Me Home, Country Roads" and the fiddler came in and blasted away at a high fast solo that seemed to have nothing to do with the tune at all. As a listener I was like ???  I've found that there are actually a lot of fiddlers who do this...like they just inserted a bunch of cool, wild notes that are unrelated to what the singer/band just did...the faster the better. The ones who have a sensitive poetic relation to the tune, who make it sound even better and give it that little twist or harmony that makes it sound even more beautiful...those are the creative artists I admire...and what I aspire to. I haven't got a "list" yet but I'm working on it! 
 

I know it's off topic, but I noticed it too. It must be an Era thing. If someone pulled that at our jam, we'd all just think, he ain't got it.  Nothing would be said. After all, it's just a jam.

Jul 31, 2021 - 7:37:24 AM

Old Scratch

Canada

794 posts since 6/22/2016

It's show biz - what can ya say?

Aug 1, 2021 - 8:36:36 AM
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4303 posts since 6/23/2007

I watched a Youtube video where Aly Bain, Junior Daughterty, and Johnny Gimble played together at Johnny Gimble's house. Junior remarked that he moved from Texas to New Mexico because Texas had too many exceptionally good fiddlers.

Sep 11, 2021 - 5:31:49 PM

1464 posts since 7/26/2015

It's hard to narrow it down to four. I think it would be pretty hard for anybody to sweep these five guys under the rug. Clayton McMichen, Doc Roberts, Eck Robertson, Arthur Smith. Also, I suspect they all listened to and stole tunes and licks from each other. Four more names who quickly come to mind as having a massive impact on Country music are Kenny Baker, Dale Potter, Tommy Jackson, and Buddy Spicher. In terms of fame, as far as I know, there's no fiddle player who is more widely known than Charlie Daniels, but I don't know how many people have been directly influenced by his fiddling. For what it's worth, Mark O'Connor considers Charlie one of his heroes.

Sep 11, 2021 - 5:53:41 PM
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9340 posts since 3/19/2009
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quote:
Originally posted by Swing

Junior Daugherty... south west fiddling I would easily have Junior Daugherty, Graham Townsend, Canadian, Blaine Sprouse, Just great fiddling, and myself, because I want to be there.....

Play Happy
Swing


Yes, I think that the OP assumed that You would be number 1, and that we have to figure out who Else will be up there next to you.

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