Hello from Fiddlin Arkansas! I must admit, my stomach is just churning in anticipation of the Arkansas Pickin and Fiddlin Championships coming up in just a couple weeks. If you love good fiddlin', you're really in for a treat. Current raining Grand National Fiddle Champion, Katrina (Pearce) Nicolayeff (nick-oh-lie-eff) has agreed to judge this year's championships. Katrina is a 3 time National Fiddle Champion and has also won the Grand Masters Fiddle Championships held in Nashville, TN each October. Katrina lives in Meridian, ID. Click here for a Youtube video of Katrina playing Beaumont Rag.We also have Arkansas native and Nashville sideman, Tim Crouch judging this year. Tim has worked with the likes of Glen Campbell, Dolly Parton, Marty Stuart, Sara Evans, George Jones, Billy Bob Thornton, Vince Gil, Dierks Bentley and others. Click here for a video of Tim playing with George Jones.Nationally renowned fiddle player, Junior Marriott is our third judge. Junior is from Ava, MO where he teaches music and plays fiddle with the Honkytonk Renovators. Junior is nationally renowned for his fiddle playing and owns more state fiddle championships than hunting dogs - which is saying something. Junior has worked with Rhonda Vincent and Mark Chesnutt among others and won the Arkansas Master Fiddle Championships last year. Here is a video of Junior playing Bill Cheatum and discussing rhythm styles.Workshops featuring the judges will be held on both Saturday and Sunday of the Championships. Workshops are open to the public and only $10 to attend. A full tentative schedule can be found at www.fiddlinarkansas.com. New this year is an Accompanist division. Fiddle players are only as good as their rhythm section! The idea is to develop and encourage folks to play rhythm guitar. How does it work? Grab a guitar and get someone to play fiddle with you just like in a fiddle contest, only the rhythm is scored. The contest pays out the top 3 so why not give it a go?
Also new this year is an added division for kids. Youth divisions include PeeWee (age 0-10), Junior Junior (11-13), and Junior (14-16).
Hope you are all enjoying the drop in temperature we have had here in Arkansas the last few weeks as much as I am. Here's to hoping the weather will continue to cooperate as our contest scene heats up...
I sure had a blast hanging out with 7 time World Champion Fiddler, Jim "Texas Shorty" Chancellor in Grove, Oklahoma over Labor Day Weekend. Jana Jae hosted her annual fiddle camp and invited me as a Coach. It sure is tough to turn down an opportunity to hang out and learn from world class musicians! See photos from past years and learn more about Jana's Fiddle Camp by visiting www.grandlakefestivals.com.
If you missed the opportunity to hang out with Shorty, don't worry! He'll be in Arkansas this weekend at the Arkansas State Fiddle Championships. Below is a video of Shorty during his performance at the Kennedy Center for receiving the National Heritage Fellowship last year. If the below embedded video does not appear, you may use this link to see the video.
Have you ever wanted to wrap your fingers around some of the chords and rhythm techniques used in accompanying old time fiddle music? Friday, September 16th from 3:00 - 4:30 pm, 2 time Arkansas State Accompanist Champion, Jonathan Trawick will conduct a workshop focusing specifically on accompanying fiddle players. Jonathan has worked with World Champion and Grand National Champion Fiddlers and hosts guitar workshops across the country. Visit www.ozarkfolkcenter.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org to register for this wonderful opportunity. I hope you enjoy the video below of Jonathan accopanying Aarun Carter in her National Championship winning round in Weiser, Idaho in June of this year. If the embedded video does not appear below, you may follow this link for the video.
The next Master Fiddler Series is brewing! This fall, World Champion and Grand National Fiddle Champion, Dale Morris, Jr. will be coming to Arkansas. Dale has worked with many of today's country stars including Ray Price and Willie Nelson. If you are interested in hosting a house concert or workshop, or would simply enjoy private lessons with Dale or myself, send me an email. I can't wait to hear from you!