Fiddle-L Anthology 1999

A Tour 'Round The World Of Fiddling

Performer Bio


 

13.

Steven W. (Steve) Miller, Asbury, New Jersey, U.S. (scmiller@interpow.net / www.users.interpow.net/~scmiller/kneedeep.html) Steve comes from Indiana.

HERITAGE, HISTORY, LESSONS, FAVORITE TUNE

Steve's parents were born in South Carolina and Maine. He is the first of his family to play the violin; he started in 1991, learning on his own. He has attended Swannanoa and Augusta workshops. The first fiddle tune Steve learned was Been All Around This World, which he got from the Highwoods String Band recording. His favorite tune today is Queen of the Earth Child of the Stars, best played by Dirk Powell. Steve's favorite fiddler is Brad Leftwich.

TYPES OF TUNES, INSTRUMENTS, VENUES

Steve usually plays fiddle in school programs, for history classes or stringed instrument demonstrations. He often uses cross tuning, and also enjoys playing guitar, hammer dulcimer, banjo, mandolin, pennywhistle, and cajun accordion. He prefers banjo for fiddle tune backup.

FIDDLE CONTESTS

Steve enjoys attending and competing in fiddle contests.

STYLE

Steve considers his style to be southern old time. He names Tommy Jarrell as an early influential musician who helped develop that style. He says he's still counting the various styles of fiddling. Celtic music dominates where he lives.

THE INSTRUMENT

Steve built his standard tuning fiddle in 1991, which he describes as a bright and tight sounding instrument. The fiddle he uses for cross tuning is a 1926 Ole Bull model with a dark and mellow sound; both fiddles are Strad style. He does not use a shoulder rest and prefers Dominant strings; his bow is a very light Vorlin. Steve enjoys collecting fiddles, and he builds stringed instruments and also handles set up, maintenance, repairs, and bow rehairing.

WHY DO YOU PLAY THE FIDDLE?

"Biggest challenge and greatest emotional release..."

THE TUNES

"I first heard Dwight Diller perform Fine Times At Our House at a fairly informal setting at Augusta. He has a recorded version of this Hammons Family tune on his Piney Woods tape. Dwight, in turn, learned this tune directly from the Hammons family, and recorded Burl Hammons' version for the Old-Time Music of Pocahontas County (West Virginia) tape. I use a GDGD tuning on my version." Steve overdubbed himself on banjo for backup.