Fiddle-L Anthology 1999

A Tour 'Round The World Of Fiddling

Below are the 88 tunes that are on the Fiddle-L Anthology 1999 recordings. These tunes are in MP3 format. Clicking the number to the left of each performer's name will bring up a short bio. Scroll down to read project coordinator Chris Mabry's original introduction to the Anthology.

The Music

Volume 1 (tune list)

Volume 2 (tune list)

Volume 3 (tune list)

#1. Nicholas James (Nick) Day
Horfield, Bristol, England
#18. Francis LeRoy (Bo) Bradham, Jr.
Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S.
#36. Zack Kline
Boulder, Colorado, U.S.
CD1-01-Day.mp3 CD2-01-Bradham.mp3 CD3-01-Kline.mp3
CD1-02-Day.mp3 #19. Woodrow Lee (Woody) McKenzie
Blacksburg, Virginia, U.S.
#37. Larry Kyle Hartsfield
Durango, Colorado, U.S.
#2. Tom Paley
London, England
CD2-02-wMcKenzie.mp3 CD3-02-Hartsfield.mp3
CD1-03-Paley.mp3 #20. Larry Don Holland
Hiram, Georgia, U.S.
CD1-04-Paley.mp3 CD2-03-Holland.mp3 #38. Sharon Goldwasser
Tucson, Arizona, U.S.
CD1-05-Paley.mp3 CD2-04-Holland.mp3 CD3-04-Goldwasser.mp3
#3. Elaine Bradtke
London, England
#21. Callahan Dylan Miller
South Bend, Indiana, U.S.
#39. Tim Hodgson
Tucson, Arizona, U.S.
CD1-06-Bradtke.mp3 CD2-05-cMiller.mp3 CD3-05-Hodgson.mp3
CD1-07-Bradtke.mp3 CD2-06-cMiller.mp3 #40. Larry Brandon
Boise, Idaho, U.S.
#4. Ian Douglas King
Waukford Kirk Yetholm, Kelso, Scotland
CD2-07-cMiller.mp3 CD3-06-Brandon.mp3
CD1-08-King.mp3 CD2-08-cMiller.mp3 #41. Roger D. Olsen
Liberty Lake, Washington, U.S.
CD1-09-King.mp3 #22. James Orvin (Jim) Eaton
Frankfort, Kentucky, U.S.
#5. Eric Cullingworth Falconer
Kelso, Roxburghshire, Scotland
CD2-09-Eaton.mp3 #42. Christine Renee Traxler
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
CD1-10-Falconer.mp3 CD2-10-Eaton.mp3 CD3-08-Traxler.mp3
#6. Thomas Alexander (Tom) Gilland
West Calder, Scotland
CD2-11-Eaton.mp3 #43. Mimi Torchia Boothby
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
CD1-11-Gilland.mp3 #23. Fletcher Bright
Lookout Mountain, Tennessee, U.S.
CD1-12-Gilland.mp3 CD2-12-Bright.mp3 #44. Vivian T. Williams
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
CD1-13-Gilland.mp3 #24. Robert Norman (Bob) Townsend, Jr.
South Pittsburg, Tennessee, U.S.
CD1-14-Gilland.mp3 CD2-13-Townsend.mp3 CD3-11-Williams.mp3
#7. Gordon G. Gunn
Wick, Caithness, Scotland
CD2-14-Townsend.mp3 CD3-12-Williams.mp3
CD1-15-Gunn.mp3 #25. Lynn W.B. "Chirps" Smith
Grayslake, Illinois, U.S.
#45. Ramon Selby
Bremerton, Washington, U.S.
#8. John Paul Erdman
Orono, Maine, U.S.
CD2-15-Smith.mp3 CD3-13-Selby.mp3
CD1-16-Erdman.mp3 CD2-16-Smith.mp3 CD3-14-Selby.mp3
#9. Lawrence J. (Larry) Warren
Brookfield, New Hampshire, U.S.
#26. Paul Tyler
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
CD1-17-Warren.mp3 CD2-17-Tyler.mp3 #46. Alice Holt
Salem, Oregon, U.S.
CD1-18-Warren.mp3 CD2-18-Tyler.mp3 CD3-16-aHolt.mp3
#10. Peter Yarensky
Barrington, New Hampshire, U.S.
#27. Robert Thomas (Bob) Borcherding
Brentwood, Missouri, U.S.
CD1-19-Yarensky.mp3 CD2-19-Borcherding.mp3 #47. Lew Holt
Salem, Oregon, U.S.
#11. Andrew Kuntz
Wappingers Falls, New York, U.S.
CD2-20-Borcherding.mp3 CD3-18-lHolt.mp3
CD1-20-Kuntz.mp3 #28. Howard (Rusty) Marshall
Fulton, Missouri, U.S.
#12. James W. (Jim) Kimball
Geneseo, New York, U.S.
CD2-21-Marshall.mp3 #48. B. Starr McMullen
Corvallis, Oregon, U.S.
CD1-21-Kimball.mp3 CD2-22-Marshall.mp3 CD3-20-McMullen.mp3
CD1-22-Kimball.mp3 #29. William Alford (Bill) Shull III
Warrensburg, Missouri, U.S.
#13. Steven W. (Steve) Miller
Asbury, New Jersey, U.S.
CD2-23-Shull.mp3 #49. Ruth Temple
Aptos, California, U.S.
CD1-23-sMiller.mp3 CD2-24-Shull.mp3 CD3-22-Temple.mp3
#14. Chris Mabry (no bio)
Lawrenceville, New Jersey, U.S.
#30. Betse Ellis
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
CD1-24-Mabry.mp3 CD2-25-Ellis.mp3 #50. Jan Tappan
Pasadena, California, U.S.
#15. Robert C. (Bob) Buckingham, Jr.
Red Lion, Pennsylvania, U.S.
CD2-26-Ellis.mp3 CD3-24-Tappan.mp3
CD1-25-Buckingham.mp3 #31. Glenn Godsey
Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.
#51. Harry Gardner
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
CD1-26-Buckingham.mp3 CD2-27-Godsey.mp3 CD3-25-Gardner.mp3
#16. Jerry Agin
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
CD2-28-Godsey.mp3 CD3-26-Gardner.mp3
CD1-27-Agin.mp3 #32. Sherry Fawn Hill McKenzie
Burleson, Texas, U.S.
#17. Philippe Varlet
Silver Spring, Maryland, U.S.
CD1-28-Varlet.mp3 #33. Joey McKenzie
Burleson, Texas, U.S.


#34. Chris Ann Vance-Daring
Arvada, Colorado, U.S.


#35. Michelle Jewel Huber
Golden, Colorado, U.S.



On the campus of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, there is a place that allows fiddle players from all over the world to come together and discuss their art. But even though I have personally taken part in these discussions, I have never been in this place, nor anywhere near it. And even though many other musicians participate in these discussions, you aren't likely to ever hear them play their fiddles there -- you'd never hear them play a strathspey or hornpipe, a hoedown or breakdown, a polska or a jig. This may seem strange, because wherever you find fiddlers, you would expect to hear fiddle music. This riddle has a solution, of course, and a rather simple one at that. The place at Brown University is not a concert hall, not a practice studio and not a music classroom. Rather, it is a room in the basement of the Center for Information Technology that houses a computer, and on this computer, there is set up something referred to as an electronic mailing list. This mailing list is maintained by George Keith, and goes by the name of Fiddle-L. Anyone with access to electronic mail (e-mail) can subscribe to the list (see the Internet site, for details). [Note: the web address referred to in the original introduction was outdated, so I have changed it. Tony] After subscribing, you can bring up topics of discussion by sending e-mail messages to the list computer. These are forwarded to all of the other subscribers, who can then read and respond to them, or bring up new topics.

If you are a member of the Fiddle-L list, then you probably know most of this already. If you are not a member, but are interested in learning about fiddling from a large group of fiddlers, then I encourage you to join. The subjects that come up on the Fiddle-L list vary greatly. For instance, over the last two years, members of the list discussed the origin, history and performances of the fiddle tune "The Rustic Dance"; Lew Holt shared with us the joys of performing fiddle tunes for the residents of certain nursing homes; the relative merits and characteristics of different brands of violin strings were discussed by Glenn Godsey; Tony Ludiker, Joel Shimberg and others debated the merits of fiddle contests; and the music and playing of many different fiddlers, past and present, was spoken of by many list members. Many other topics were discussed, which can't all be listed here. One other topic I will mention is that we often discuss our playing techniques, styles, and the types of tunes we play and the reasons we have for playing the fiddle. In one such discussion, that took place during the winter of 1997, John Burke wrote about his playing, "I don't care what style comes out. In fact, I don't much care what my own playing sounds like as long as it doesn't scare the children." After reading this comment, I became curious to know exactly what John's playing sounded like. To satisfy my curiosity, I thought about asking him to send me a recording of his playing. But why stop there? There were many other fiddlers subscribed to the Fiddle-L list. Why not make a recording that would include music by many list members - fiddle music by anyone who wanted to participate? I sent a message to the list asking if anyone was interested. Only five minutes later, the first response came back: Wendy Galovich said she thought it was a great idea. Such a quick response seemed like a good omen and this soon proved to be true. Over the next few weeks, more than eighty fiddlers said they were interested.

The selections in this anthology consist of performances from fifty-one of the original eighty people who responded. For various reasons, the other thirty members had to drop out. This is understandable. After all, other things besides fiddling do occasionally come up in a fiddler's life and they need to be attended to. But if another anthology such as this one is produced, I hope those fiddlers will be on it. As for the members of the Fiddle-L list who did contribute performances there are certainly some very accomplished musicians represented. These fiddlers come from many different walks of life and from many different parts of the world. In the following biography section, you can read a little about each of them, including why they play the fiddle. But I think it's just as easy to figure this out by simply listening to them. They play to communicate an emotion or a certain feeling, a joyful memory or a sad one. They play in order to express something that can only be expressed with music. But there's more to it than that. To be more specific, they play to express something that can only be expressed with music made with a fiddle.

The tunes on the anthology are arranged according to the current geographical location of each musician. By doing this, it's possible to note similarities and differences between the fiddlers who live relatively near each other. These similarities could be a common style, a likeness in tune choice, a similarity in the overall 'feel' of the tunes, a certain way of tuning the fiddle or in many other things. In some cases, such similarities are readily apparent, and could have come about since the musicians all grew up and learned to play in the same area; at other times, any similarity may be hard - or impossible - to discern. After all, since people do tend to move around a bit these days, it's possible that some fiddlers have moved into regions where their style is different from the other players in that area. And of course, some fiddlers may have simply opted to play in a style that isn't common where they grew up or where they now live. As you listen to the tunes, you will be able to follow the progression of styles and decide for yourself how they are similar and how they are different. As for myself, when I listen, I feel as if I am taking a trip around the world, following one of the many paths that lead through the world of fiddling. There are many such paths. Since many of the styles represented on this anthology can ultimately be traced back to the United Kingdom, the itinerary for our trip was chosen to reflect this. The trip starts in England and then moves on to Scotland. From there we continue westward, through the United States and finally end up in Australia. Along the way, you will hear a lot of wonderful music. I think you'll agree, it's a very satisfying journey.

Putting together an anthology such as this is hard work. The people who worked on this project are all members of the Fiddle-L list who volunteered their services free of charge. Most all of us live in areas separated by considerable distances, so we were never able to meet each other in person. Most of the communication between volunteers was done over the Internet via email, with an occasional phone call thrown in. When you consider these facts and that many of us have never worked on such a project, you might think it would never be completed. The anthology you have in your possession is testament that such a worry is unfounded - and that fiddlers have more talents than just fiddling. The people who worked on this anthology, and the tasks they performed include Howard Marshall, who developed a questionnaire that was sent to the musicians who recorded performances. Betse Ellis used the responses from these to write the biographies that appear below. Betse and Alana Musselman contributed to the design of the format and layout of these liner notes. Bob Townsend transferred all of the performances onto a master tape and helped coordinate the duplication of the anthology. Jody Littlehales did all of the graphic design for the anthology. Sue Songer and Kerry Blech identified the composers of some of the tunes when the identity of the composer was unknown to the fiddler. Special thanks go to Akiko Okamoto, my wife, who (even though she isn't a fiddler) helped in addressing and mailing the anthology to those people who ordered it.

In addition to the people mentioned above, many other list members volunteered to help on this project. Unfortunately, we weren't able to use their services. This was simply due to the fact that it would have been very hard to coordinate, over the Internet, the efforts of a larger number of volunteers than actually did participate. If a second anthology is made, perhaps they can work on it. I certainly encourage them to do so. Working on this anthology has been a satisfying and enjoyable experience for all of us.

I would like to tank all of the members of the Fiddle-L list who made suggestions about what the anthology should contain and how to best get it made. Thanks are also due to George Keith for maintaining the Fiddle-L list and to the folks at Brown University for allowing it to be housed on their computers.

Lastly, I want to thank the people who were most instrumental in making this project worthwhile; the many fine musicians who have put in so much time and energy into their fiddling and given us all such great music to hear.

-Chris Mabry
Project Coordinator
June 1999