Fiddle-L Anthology 1999

A Tour 'Round The World Of Fiddling

Performer Bio


39.

Tim Hodgson, Tucson, Arizona (Fiddlinman@aol.com)

Tim was born January 9, 1966. He is "slowly working on a master's degree in English" and was formerly a high school English teacher. Currently he works as a musician, singing and playing western music.

HERITAGE, HISTORY, FAVORITES

Tim's heritage of German and Irish origin; his parents were born in Pocatello, Idaho and Indiana. He is the first in his family to play violin, which he began at age 10 in a school program. He adds that he has had a few informal lessons with fiddlers Joe Sites and Dick Barrett. The first fiddle tune Tim played was Boil Them Cabbage Down; "My school instructor would teach us fiddle tunes on Friday if we had done well during the week on the classical." Tim has too many favorite fiddle tunes to list but mentions a few with his best liked renditions: Sally Goodin (Benny Thomasson), 49 Cats in the Water (Orville Burns), Billy in the Lowground (Jimmie Don Bates), and Tom and Jerry (dozens of folks). Those fiddlers are some of his favorites, as are Norman Solomon, Major Franklin, and Texas Shorty.

TYPES OF TUNES, INSTRUMENTS, VENUES

Tim most likes to play hoedowns, hornpipes, reels, rags, polkas and swing tunes Texas swing). He plays several tunes cross tuned, mostly as influenced by Benny Thomasson. In addition to the fiddle, Tim plays the mandolin, guitar, and a little banjo. He adds that guitar is the backup instrument he prefers for fiddle tunes. Since Tim plays fiddle for a living, he is familiar with many performance situations, some with his western band, including dances, weddings, and funerals "(some it was hard to tell which it was I was playing for :-)", plays in church periodically "(lucky enough to attend a church with many talented musicians)" and he also enjoys jamming at contests.

FIDDLE CONTESTS

Tim enjoys fiddle contests, ever since his first entry, at the Nationals in 1980; he placed 33rd of 37 in the Junior division, playing Whiskey Before Breakfast, Dreamer's Waltz and Clarinet Polka, with a guitar backup. Just a few years later, Tim won the Nationals, Men's division in 1984 and 1985. He also placed in the top five of the Nationals, Championship division in 1987-90 and 1992-93. He won the U.S. Open twice and is currently the champion of the Western Music Association Nationals. Tim has been in demand to judge contests; he has judged many in the Northwest and South and judged the Nationals in 1994. "I enjoy judging fiddle contests and consider a good judge one who can play well and is open to anything -- any style, any version, etc."

STYLE

"I play primarily "Texas style" with some swing and jazz thrown in for good

measure." Many musicians have influenced Tim's style: Eck Robertson, Major Franklin, Benny Thomasson, Orville Burns, Norman Solomon, Lewis Franklin, Bryant Houston. In Tucson and region, the prevalent style is one Tim calls "Northwest style": "It includes Texas sounding music with Mark O'Connor and a bit of Canadian mixed in." Tim's western band has released six recordings, and he also has two of his own available.

THE INSTRUMENT

Tim owns two violins, a Johann Jerner made in 1793, and an "older German box." He plays without a shoulder rest, using Prim strings with a Dr. Thomastik Dominant wound E string. His bow is a newer, fairly light pernambuco stick. "I do all of the work on my instruments myself and rehair bows. I am currently re-graduating a violin in the white."

THE TUNES

"I chose Sally Goodin for the tape because it seems to be the determining tune for Texas style players. The bowing is intricate enough and the drive necessary enough that those who "master" it are usually seen as competent Texas style players. I will have favorite tunes periodically, but I always seem to go back to Sally Goodin. I backed myself up on it."