Roots of Fiddle Symposium

Red Clay Ramblers (Chapel Hill Stars Calendar)

Red Clay Ramblers from the Chapel Hill Stars Calendar (Dave Robert Papers, 20504)

A Roots of Fiddle Symposium starts tonight at Nightlight featuring a number of friends of the Southern Folklife Collection. The symposium features three nights (over 4 days) of old time fiddle music at the Nightlight organized by folklorist Cece Conway. We’re excited to be able to enjoy and learn from so many excellent musicians in 3 stacked shows. The final night features CRAVER HICKS WATSON & NEWBERRY who are 3 former RED CLAY RAMBLERS (piano player Mike Craver, fiddler Bill Hicks, Jim Watson on mandolin) and award winning songwriter Joe Newberry on banjo. We pulled some items from the Dave Robert Papers (20504) in honor of this rare event. Dave Robert was the owner of the Cats Cradle when it existed at 405 1/2 West Rosemary, the current location of Nightlight. As the Ramblers were something of a house band at that venue, the symposium is an opportunity for a welcome homecoming celebration.

Above is the Red Clay Ramblers page from a unique calendar of “Chapel Hill Stars” (Red Clay Ramblers were February, in case you are curious).  We also found this monthly calendar from the Cradle, which shows the Ramblers playing at the venue virtually the same days almost 40 years ago. (Also check out that four night run of Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee! WOW!).  Details on the Roots of Fiddle Symposium are below.

September Cat's Cradle PosterThursday, September 21
7:30-8:45 round robin featuring: JON NEWLIN, PETER WHITE, JOSEPH DECOSIMO, BOB HERRING, CARY MOSKOVITZ, ANDREW SMALL, and ASHLEE WATKINS

8:45-10:30 ANDREW SMALL and ASHLEE WATKINS with BOB HERRING – Presenting a range of traditional dance music from North Carolina and Virginia, mountain ballads, and early country songs, the New Macedon Rangers offer a fresh and compelling take on classic repertoire. The duo, comprised of Ashlee Watkins and Andrew Small, taps into the essence of traditional mountain music while also moving the tradition forward with original songs and instrumentals. Performances feature stirring vocal harmonies accompanied by driving fiddle, mandolin, banjo, and guitars.

Friday, September 22
7:30-9:30 – round robin featuring JOSEPH DECOSIMO, PETER WHITE, BOB HERRING, CARY MOSKOVITZ, JAKE BLOUNT, and TATIANA HARGREAVES.

9:30-10:30 fiddle and banjo duo TATIANA HARGREAVES & JAKE BLOUNT. Their “Reparations” CD presents tunes from Black and Native American communities as stripped-down duets for banjo, fiddle, and voice. In 2016, Jake became the first African American to win in the traditional band category at Clifftop, WV and in 2009, Tatiana was the second woman to win the Clifftop Fiddle contest.

Sunday, September 24
We’ll start with a round robin of fiddlers:
7:00-7:20 – PETER WHITE – “Native American Roots & Spanish Influences on Fiddle.” Peter teaches fiddle making at the University of New Mexico. In 1989 in Albuquerque, Peter’s fiddle shop had a shrine to NEA Heritage Fiddler Tommy Jarrell. He has a fascinating theory that New Mexico Native Americans, taught by Jesuits, may have been the first makers and players of the fiddle in this country.

7:20-7:30 – JON NEWLIN

7:30-8:10 – fiddle and banjo duo TATIANA HARGREAVES & JAKE BLOUNT. Their “Reparations” CD presents tunes from Black and Native American communities as stripped-down duets for banjo, fiddle, and voice. In 2016, Jake became the first African American to win in the traditional band category at Clifftop, WV and in 2009, Tatiana was the second woman to win the Clifftop Fiddle contest.
plus: CARY MOSKOVITZ and FIDDLIN’ AL McCANLESS !!!

8:30-10:00 – CRAVER HICKS WATSON & NEWBERRY featuring 3 original members of the RED CLAY RAMBLERS (piano player Mike Craver, fiddler Bill Hicks, Jim Watson on mandolin) and award winning songwriter Joe Newberry on banjo!!! Do not miss!!!

Record of the Week – Hopscotch Edition: Charles Rouse’s “Two is One”

Before I head off to see Run the Jewels and Kaytranada this evening at Raleigh’s Hopscotch Music Festival, we at the SFC thought we’d mark the occasion by sharing an aptly-titled tune from another funk disciple – Charles Rouse’s “Hopscotch” from his 1974 album Two is One (FC-24141). “Hopscotch” has its own link to hip-hop history in its brief appearance in the Beastie Boys’ “B-Boys Makin With the Freak Freak” from their 1994 classic Ill Communication. 

Check it out here –

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Complete Keynote Collection, Record 5- Charlie Shavers Quintet featuring Earl Hines

Despite what the name might suggest, holdings in the Southern Folklife Collection span the globe, including Japanese imports like today’s featured record (FC-21963). This the fifth volume of a rare Japanese 21-record box set released on Nippon Phonogram in 1986. The set compiles all of the jazz ever recorded for the Manhattan-based Keynote label, spanning from 1941 to 1947. This LP presents the recordings of the Charlie Shavers Quintet featuring Earl “Fatha” Hines, one of the most influential jazz pianists of his time. Among the recordings are three takes of the tune “Rosetta,” a Hines original.

Presented here is a portion of the second take, featuring portions of both Hines’ and Shavers’ solos

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Brownie McGhee – Blues

Brownie McGhee was a Tennessee-born bluesman (and very briefly an off-broadway actor) who recorded his fingerpicked delta-blues for hallowed labels such as Okeh and Savoy from the early 40’s all the way until his death in 1996. His second album Blues (FC-5898), was released on the short-lived 10-inch, 33 1/3 rpm album format by Folkways Recordings in 1955, and was accompanied by notes written by early influential jazz critic Charles Edward Smith and art by the prolific David Stone Martin

Here’s a snippet from the song “Me and Sonny,” referring to McGhee’s frequent collaborator and North Carolina native Sonny Terry —

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.