Friday, July 17, 2009

Arkansas Fiddler: Tim Crouch Interview

One of Arkansas' finest fiddlers, Tim Crouch has graciously agreed to participate in an interview for the blog. The following is an excerpt from that interview.

FA: Hey Tim! Thanks so much for giving your time to answer a few questions! I hope this interview will inspire and motivate fiddlers not only from Arkansas or of an old time, bluegrass or swing style, but violinists as well. You grew up playing old time, swing and bluegrass here in Arkansas. Where did you learn to play?

Tim: At the house. I had a lot of help.. My Dad got me started with a few notes of what he could do, then a local old time fiddler, Colonel Bruce, got me to playing Ole Joe Clark , and it was up and goin’ from there..

FA: And, what would you say is your favorite type of music to play?

Tim: I love the world between old time and Swing… I like all of it. But the tunes and the styles of Terry Morris to Bob Wills is some of my favorite..

Tim jamming with BJ Cherryholmes, Hunter Berry and more. Did you see Rhonda Vincent in the back?

FA: Who are some of your biggest influences musically?

Tim: Every fiddler I’ve ever heard.. I think styles influence me as much as the players sometimes.. Some of my favorite fiddlers though are, Johnny Gimble, Kenny Baker , Tommy Jackson , Buddy Spicher, Dale Potter, Chubby Wise .. I’m also influenced by other instrument players.. I learn ideas from piano players, guitar players, etc.

FA: How has learning fiddle tunes and competing in fiddle contests helped you succeed in the music business?

Tim: I played the fiddle contest when I was young and it gave me something to strive for.. Not just the money or a trophy, but competing more against myself to improve and get better hopefully.. And that still carries on today...

FA: There are times when we get frustrated, even unmotivated to play. For instance, a tune catches my ear and I want to learn it. I go to the record and listen. I watch YouTube videos to see others playing it hoping to maybe catch a fingering or two; however, when I get stumped at a place I just can’t seem to figure out, it’s VERY discouraging. Has this ever happened to you?

Tim: Yep.. I’ve had to learn songs to play behind singers and they’ve had to be note for note.. I just keep noodlin’ till I figure it out.. Sometimes a cup of coffee or just get up and get away from it and clear out helps.. Or I’ll use a mandolin to help find the notes.. Just a different tone instrument makes things come to light better sometimes..Unless I have to, I never try to copy someone’s solos note for note though.. I’ll come up with my own interpretation of the tune and play my own thing.. for better or worse…

FA: So, what inspires you to play and how to you go about getting inspired?

Tim: Inspiration comes different ways for me.. Hearing other players play can inspire me, or just a mood at the time can do it… I get to play a lot, so I stay inspired too..

Tim with Byron Berline, Mike Compton, Tim Stafford to name a few...

FA: In terms of Arkansas fiddlers, who are some of your primary influences hailing from Arkansas?

Tim: The late Jerry Hodge, Roger Fountain, Colonel Bruce, the late Faye Green, Brandon Apple, Pete Brown, Lonnie Collins, Caleb Cobb, Mary Mickler, and a slew of these young fiddlers.. They are really something…

FA: You’ve traveled all over playing for people. Is there a style or particular type of fiddling that you tend to see stand out in Arkansas? In other words, is there a brand of fiddling that you hear here more than anywhere else?

Tim: Old time fiddlin’ is what I think of first I guess… more of a cross between old time and Texas style...

FA: Now, could you comment on the current state of Arkansas fiddling?

Tim: I think it’s in good hands, especially with as many young fiddlers as I see popping up everywhere… And they can get it !! I hope that continues to grow and grow and we could see more events for fiddlers to have to go to.. Not just contests, but hopefully camps, and such…

FA: Anything you’d like to add?

Tim: I appreciate your asking me to do this.. Thanks to every fiddler I’ve ever heard, I get to play, and I hope Arkansas Fiddlin’ stays strong… Thanks.

FA: Thanks so much for your time, Tim! As one of the greatest fiddlers to come out of Arkansas, your opinions are highly valued. Your contribution here is greatly appreciated! Thank you Tim, for keeping Arkansas fiddlin’!


Tasha said...

And would that video be the famous Mickler Girls ??? LOL, Anyways, It's cool :)

Sherry Tinerella said...

That was a nice chat! Love Cooley's real, hadn't heard of the Mickler's. I'll keep my eyes out for them as well as Mr. Crouch.