Old-Time TOTW #173 is Road to Westfield composed by Garry Harrison (16 August 1954--4 September 2012. He was the son of Clifford Harrison and Pauline Mason. Garry was a native of Charleston, Coles County, Illinios.
At the age of 16, Garry learned fiddle from his father. In a 2008 interview for Old-Time Herald, Garry said:
"My dad’s old fiddle and my older brother’s banjo were both at home, and my twin brother Terry and I started playing those. I played the fiddle and he played the banjo. We didn’t know what to play, so we’d just make up little pieces. My dad waited until he saw we wouldn’t just lose interest, where we had a few little pieces that we’d made up that we could play again. Then he came in and showed me some real fiddle tunes..."
Garry later taught himself to build fiddles and other string instruments. He collected and restored many autoharps and zithers before donating them to the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, AZ.
Garry began collecting and recording music from Illinois folk musicians in the 1970s. Those tunes became part of a collection housed in the Library of Congress and were included in his book, Dear Old Illinois: Traditional Music of Downstate Illinois, co-authored with Jo Burgess.
His band, The Indian Creek Delta Boys (proclaimed the “Official Traditional Illinois Old-Time String Band” by the state’s 82nd General Assembly), of Charleston, Illinois, were active from the 1970s through the 1990s. The band’s backbone was formed by brothers Garry and Steve Harrison, along with Chirps Smith, John "Doc" Holiday, David Danner, John "Bish" Bishop, and Gaye Harrison (source: Ray Alden)
Garry formed another band called the New Mules with himself and his daughter Genevieve (fiddle), Smith Koester (banjo), Andy Gribble (guitar), and Abby Ladin (bass).
Garry composed many new tunes in the "old-time" style. Red Prairie Dawn, hs CD of mostly original tunes, was named Best Fiddle CD of the year 2000 by County Sales.
Above information from Garry's obituary and an article in Old-Time Herald.
Joining me are friends Melinda and Josh Jamrom on fiddle and guitar, respectively (Gibsonia, PA), and Stephen Rapp on banjo (Kent, OH). We recorded this tune in November 2018.
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Interesting to see your different bowing styles. Yours is very dance fiddler looking, hers very long bow classical looking. And of course Garry's playing was very single bow filled.
You are so observant, Billy, I love that. I always appreciate your thoughtful observations and comments.
I'm definitely more of a rhythmic bowing fiddler, and Melinda is more melodic. Interestingly, those different styles can work very well together.
Melinda is one of my friends with whom I love to play. I've learned a lot of great tunes from her. And we play them quite differently!
One of my fave A tunes. Sounds like you're tuned with your A a little below 440. Or do I need to candle my ears?
I'm pretty sure we were at A440 bc Josh doesn't like odd or low tunings...he won't even accompany fiddlers playing in cross G!
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