Fiddle-L Anthology 1999

A Tour 'Round The World Of Fiddling

Performer Bio


23.

Fletcher Bright, Lookout Mountain Tennessee (FBright797@aol.com)

Fletcher was born June 27, 1931 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He holds an LLB and an MBA from Davidson College and works in real estate.

HERITAGE, HISTORY, FAVORITE TUNE

Both of Fletcher's parents were also born in Chattanooga. He is the first in his family to play the fiddle; he started playing at age 10 and says he benefited from lessons. He has also participated in workshops with Mark O'Connor and Barbara Lamb and at Augusta Heritage Center. The first fiddle tune he learned was Down Yonder which he heard on the Grand Ole Opry. Today he has too many favorite fiddle tunes to list. His favorite fiddler from the old days was Tommy Magness; favorite current fiddler is Byron Berline.

TYPES OF TUNES, INSTRUMENTS, VENUES

Fletcher enjoys playing old time tunes as hoedowns and waltzes, and might occasionally utilize cross tuning. He plays piano, guitar and mandolin in addition to the fiddle; favorite backup instrument for fiddle tunes is banjo. He plays for dances, and has also played wedding parties, wakes and funeral services

FIDDLE CONTESTS

Fletcher plays in some fiddle contests and enjoys attending them. His first entry was in 1954 in Chattanooga, where he played Grey Eagle with backup provided by Ray Brown. Tommy Jackson was judge, and Fletcher won first prize. He has judged in Athens, Alabama but does not prefer the duty.

STYLE

When asked to describe his fiddling style, Fletcher responds "I am all I have heard". He notes there must be "several" fiddling styles in existence; southern fiddling prevails in his region. He and his bluegrass band have recorded the following albums: Fletcher Bright Fiddle Band (2), and Fiddle Tunes: They All Sound Alike.

THE INSTRUMENT

Fletcher's violin was made in Nashville, 1988, by Reapkavich. It has a strong sound. He uses a Kun shoulder rest and prefers Jargar strings and a bow made by Frank Tista.

WHY DO YOU PLAY THE FIDDLE?

"Because I can."

THE TUNE

Fletcher chose the tune Katy Hill to record, which he learned from many sources in the 1950's. Mark Raborn provides banjo accompaniment.