Way back in 1976 or so.. I was just beginning to fiddle. I sought out old fiddlers in my area of Bedford, Indiana and had little luck getting someone to take me under their wing.. Finally, I met some guys who got together regularly to play Cowboy songs. You know, like Tumbling Tumbleweed... They were willing to give a 'listen'. Problem is, they had been playing with this young fiddler, RON STEWART.. (now quite famous..) At that time he was just about 9 years old and had been fiddling since he was 3....and Boy could he fiddle..
So... when I met with the Cowboy band, they expected me to be able to play like Ronnie.. They'd say, "OK, you can 'kick in' any time on this tune.'' thinkin' I could do what Ronnie did.. Well I wasn't even IN TUNE and couldn't tap my foot and play.. They were comparing me to Ron and I didn't stand a chance..
Looking back, it wasn't good or bad, just another story to tell about the trials and tribulations of learning to fiddle without guidance..
So!! Do YOU have a story about when you 'didn't have a chance"??????
Edited by - TuneWeaver on 12/06/2022 22:22:32
There was another child prodigy fiddler in that area named Timmy (can't remember his last name).. His dad was a friend of mine and he told me that he had been asked to bring Jimmy to Nashville, Tennessee for an audition with promoters... Well, the dad was just a 'local bumpkin' kind of guy.. not very sophisticated. When they got to downtown Nashville (so he said to me), he was very intimidated by the big city.. He took Timmy into the large building where the meeting was to happen. When they arrived at the office area several flights up the dad panicked.. He said that there were guys standing around, in suits, just like in the movies where mafia goons stood guard for the 'boss'. He was so scared that he took Timmy by the arm, left and never looked back...(true story, I swear)..
Edited by - TuneWeaver on 12/06/2022 13:45:00
That was Fiddlin' Ronnie Stewart, as he was known as a kid; one of the best bluegrass fiddlers and banjerpickers breathing. He won the International Bluegrass Music Association fiddle player and banjo player of the year, and has played with a bunch of top bluegrass bands. He's the best there is when it comes to channeling the early bluegrass fiddlers of the 40s and 50s.
Y'know, I couldn't spin my journey around. I feel pretty lucky to be somehow placed where I am, within a very supportive group. Maybe not Nashville grade, but supportive jams a plenty. Tho, I wouldn't call any of them slow jams. There was no such thing. It taught me "real" jam etiquette and protocols. Only sad thing, so many are passing away. But it's sort of the culture. A young farmer here is 50 years old. Kids are in their 40s. Here, if you have kids, they go to college, and are never seen again. You can't get upset over an empty soda-pop machine, if you want to live here.
Never had a chance really. Fortunately the good fiddlers around here took you seriously and were pretty forgiving if you were serious about their type of music. Have to say I learned pretty quickly to follow etiquette and play quietly and make sure I was in the back row. Over time I got better, though I cringe to think of what it sounded like back at the beginning. Have to say that early experience and kindness of the really good players has hopefully helped me to be nicer and share what little I can with new players. So maybe I should say I did get my chance and can pass it on.
'Mamoo' 4 hrs
'Sour Grapes' 14 hrs
'Do My Dissertation' 1 day
'Improv in Cross tuning' 1 day
'Back up guitar ' 3 days