Monday, November 30, 2009

Gordon McCann

In 2004 I discovered the Rounder three disc series, Traditional Fiddle Music of the Ozarks. When I fired up the cd player I was instantly transfixed towards that sound that seemed to shake me down deep and lift me back up into joy. I still feel that way when I listen to them. This was early into the growing appreciation of fiddle music and I knew I really liked Ozark fiddling.I went on to discover more styles and the Appalacian fiddlers that are so renown and revered. While I really enjoy these other styles, it's Ozark fiddling that seems to get me good.
The story behind these recordings was a middle aged business man who ran a Blueprint company in Springfield Missouri. His name is Gordon McCann, who upon reading about an Old Timey jam in a nearby small town, went and became enraptured with the music he found there. This was in the early 70's.
In time, he got out his guitar and went to work on learning to back up a fiddler. At about the same time Art Galbraith, a local fiddler was searching for a dependable back up guitar player. The two found each other in the late 70's and they went to work on his playing skills.
They played togther for many years until Art Galbraith passed away in 1993.
During this time, Gordon was meeting other fiddlers across Missouri and recorded them and their sessions. After several years, he accumulated a large number of taped sessions. The result was the Rounder series as well as a few other individual cd's.
What he did was save cultural treasures money cannot buy. While a few of these players had done a small amount of recording, most had not. Now these tunes are safely preserved for posterity and our continuing enjoyment.
As a guitar player I noticed his backup playing and recognized how good it really was. He uses a nice combination of turn arounds/runs and boom chuck chord strums that flatter the song and the fiddler and does not call too much attention to himself. He is my favorite back up player at this time.
I should also mention that he accumulated a rather large library on the Ozarks and his interest in the Ozarks led to a relationship with noted Ozark authority, Vance Randolph. He actually helped Randolph write and publish his last book.
Gordon is one of the most important figures in ozark culture and music in our liftime. Fortunatly, he has donated his papers to the Universtiy of Missouri for preservation and use by future scholars and researchers.
I have yet to have the pleasure of meeting him but I sure want to. I have talked to those who have and they tell me that he and his wife are wonderful people to know and to jam with. I am not surpised to hear that.
My next post will be specifically about the Rounder series "Traditional Fiddle Music of the Ozarks. Be sure to tune in for that.
Check out these links for other articles about Gordon as well.
There is a fine article about him in The Old Time Herald, vol 10, # 4.
I am still having trouble with hyperlinks so copy them here and paste onto your browser.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Event notices on the left

Please take note of the event notices on the left hand side of the page. There is more than one there so don't stop with the top notice. I will try to keep this up to date as best I can.
Cathy and Dave Para have one this wednesday. Prairie Acre has one coming in a couple weeks from now.

Stringband Rendezvous next May

I can't say that I have cabin fever yet because the snow has not really been blowing yet and I do get out. Still, I guess I am in pre cabin fever mode because it's too cold for any outside playing and events and things are going to be slow for Old Time venues in our area. There will be some folks out playing for the Christmas season and I will be posting some dates and venues to watch for later this week.
One event I missed last year was the Stringband Rendezvous at the Clinton Lake campgrounds near Lawrence Ks. So far they don't have anyone booked yet. In the past they have had a good turnout of local bands and groups with a wide variety of styles and types within the Stringband genre. There is something for everyone.
I will be posting on this from time to time when I get more info on this spring time event. The reason I am posting now is to keep this before you all, so you don't forget! This is a great example of an event that many people never hear about but would love to come out to. Maybe I can help.
Lots of people have to plan well ahead for such things. Well, mark your calanders for May. I will give you the exact days later, as we get closer.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Shout Lu Lu

Shout Lu Lu is one of my favorite Old Time Bands and definitely one of the most fun to watch. I ran into them some years ago on MySpace and there was something about them that just made you smile.
They combine Old Time playing with dance that is unique in the midwest. I don't know of any other bands that do that here in the Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas region.
There is something catchy in the way they play thats just a little differant. Perky and fun is the best I can do to describe it.

They now hail from Northwest Arkansas, at Fayettville.

Band members are Skye and Paul McGowen and Pete Howard and Seth Shumate. Paul and Skye were from the Seattle area and performed there previously to moving to Arkansas in 2007. There, they met up with Pete Howard and made Fayettville their homebase.In 2008 Seth Shumate joined up.

The video below is from when they were in Seattle and it was just Skye and Paul

This clip of them playing "Bowling Green" is one of my Favorite Shout Lu Lu songs

Check out their websites to see more.

Again, I am still having trouble inserting hyperlinks so copy and paste off this.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Roy Wooliver, Missouri Fiddler. Big influence

If your like me, you really enjoy John Hartford's CD "Hamilton Ironworks. In this album he takes us down a musical memory lane of his early years in Missouri playing with Gene and Cecil Goforth, the Dillards, Leo Persinger, and so forth. A name that comes up in his commentary while playing, is that of Roy Wooliver who apparently had a huge influence on many of the Missouri fiddlers that we are more familiar with. Gene Goforth also mentions him on his CD "Eminence Breakdown" which Hartford helped produce.
I always wondered what happened to this character? He is described as a crosseyed drunken thief who never owned a fiddle yet was a master player. He would sleep in barns of friends and drift around Missouri.
I assumed he was a lost soul that drifted into oblivion leaving no trace yet a online search revealed that he was from Dent County Missouri near Salem where the Wooliver family was from and still remain. Roy seems to have returned home to his family in later years and lived with them until his death in 1964. He is buried at the Barton Cemetary near Buick Mo.
My source is a forum called "Mudcat Cafe" in which this information is posted by family members.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Charlie "Possum" Walden

As you must have noticed, I am deeply connected to Missouri musicians and music. Long ago while I was casting about online to learn more about it, I ran into Charlie "Possum" Waldens website and blog. He has been doing good things for Missouri fiddling and fiddlers by helping keep the fire burning on the web.
He was kind enough to be one of the early bloggers who linked to my site. (Thanks Charlie)
Charlie is a Missouri fiddler of considerable talent and accomplishments. He now lives in Chicago and still plays an occasional dance.
According to the bio I was able to find on his website, he started fiddling when he was 11 yrs old. He has won numerous Fiddle contests over the years and still plays in them.
Charlie was fortunate enough to learn from Missouri fiddlers, Taylor Mcbain, Cyril Stinnett, Pete McMahan.

In 1979 he co-founded the Missouri State Old Time Fiddlers Association in order to help facilitate fiddle contests in Missouri. If you love Missouri fiddling like I do, then you MUST proceed to Charlies websites and get an education. Charlies websites are a fountain of information on Missouri fiddling and fiddlers.
For me, Missouri Fiddling is where it's at. After living all across the bottom of Missouri in the 70's and returning there every other year for decades, the spirit of the place seems to have infused itself into my musical soul in such a way that it was Missouri fiddling that set me on fire and bade me rise and search for more. When I discovered the Rounders three disc series, Traditional Fiddle Music of the Ozarks, I was hooked.
So, it's Charlie "Possum" Walden that will help you understand this wonderful music He has provided a valuable contribution to the continuance of this cultural treasure.
Between him and Gordon McCann and Howard Marshall and Mark Wilson and Drew Biesswenger, we can know about it and hear it and thereby, play it and keep it alive.
And Charlie is a personal link to the past with his contacts with well known Missouri fiddlers who now are mostly gone.

Charlie is a real fine fiddler, as you can see from the video above!

I tried to pick some more recent photos and videos so we can see what he looks and sounds like these days.

If you don't know about Charlie, take time this holiday weekend to stop by these sites and find out.

While your stopping by, check out his recordings and buy some!

I am having trouble posting hyper links so I will give them below but you won't be able to click on them. See the blog and website listed to the left if you wish to just click to his sites. Otherwise, copy and paste these...

Colin Blair

Colin Blair is another of my favorite Old Time Musicians. And yet another St Louis guy! St Louis is another hotbed of Old Time music and hopefully we can link these two cities more closely and promote more cross fertilization between us! We should be seeing more of each others players than we do!
Anyway, back to Colin. I was fortunate enough to see him perform alongside the wonderful "Banjo Billy" Matthews at the Old but gone Mountain Music Shoppe here in Shawnee a couple years ago.
Colin is my kind of guy. He plays fiddle and banjo and numerous other instruments and that quite well. He has the spririt of Old Time oozing out of his playing. He loves what he is playing and his mastery of the genre is evident.
Right now, he is one of my favorite players period.
I think more folks need to know about Colin that do. Like all Old Time players, he does not get the big time venues or the radio play and the fancy write ups in magazines but it does not mean we can't know about him.
Colin works as a Luthier and Instructor at Music Folk, a St Louis area (Webster Groves) Music/Instrument store of renown.

All of these videos came from the "stlouismusicians" place on YouTube.

Colin has some interesting comments on Fiddling at Music Folks website.

Thank God he is still a young man and Lord willing will continue to keep our cups full with this wonderful music.
I expect to say more about Colin as I get more information.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Kathy and Dave Para

This is a duo that should be seen in Kansas City but have not been performing here in town. They have been to Winfield's Walnut Valley Festival and other venues to the east of the metro. They are based out of Boonville Mo. a wonderful old river town on the Missouri River.
They have been around for over 25 years and are well establish performers with several recordings under their belt.They sponsor two music festivals every years which we should all know about.
They have an interest in the Civil War and it's music which is covered in one of their albums.
These folks have paid their dues and if you get the chance to see them, GO! We need to see them in Kansas City one of these days!
Just another reason for us to find new venues for such wonderful musicians here.
Some of you have seen them in Winfield and know what I am talking about.
Their next concert will be in Fayette Mo. at Central Methodist College Recital Hall.
Dec 2, 2009 at 7 pm

Be sure to check out their website for more information.

Kathy and Dave Para

Monday, November 23, 2009

Diane Gillenwater, local fiddler, Pastense

This is Pastense, featuring Diane Gillenwater on fiddle. They are a Lawrence ks area group. More on them later

The future of fiddling is assured in Kansas

Here are some youngsters performing in the Kansas Fiddling contest in Lawrence a couple years ago. I don't have the young players names.

Art Galbraith

Enjoy this clip from YouTube that is really just a sound recording of Art Galbraith, a fiddler who was backed up by Gordon McCann on guitar for many years. You are hearing Gordon on this recording. I love his backup playing. Gordon should be recognized for his very fine guitar work on all those Ozark fiddle recordings he made. Enjoy!

The greater KC Old Time Music scene

I am speaking from my own experience and point of view when I say that living in KC and loving Old Time Music has two sides of the coin. On one side, we live in a real hotbed of Old Time music and players compared to other areas of the midwest. If you don't live in the S.E. USA which is the Motherland of much of the music we love, there is not too many other places where so many players live and play.We have Winfield and Mass St.Music and hundreds of muscians.
Yet, on the other hand, our "community" is fragmented and largely out of touch with each other. Lawrence seems to have an active Old Time scene with the preponderance of Bands being in that general area. Yet, there are quite a few folks in KC that love this music and play it too.
The Old Mountain Music Shoppe and Jim Curley had done a lot to help bring this community in focus and his concerts exposed a lot of new fans to this music and some fine muscians. He planted a lot of good seeds that sprouted and grew. Then Suddenly the Shoppe was gone and a huge hole was left to those sprouts.
For many of us in KC, it's hard to find where bands are playing, and places where folks gather around the music.
FolkJams has done a lot to help jams start in our area and it's based in JoCo Ks!
With all these assets in place, we should be more visible and there should be more venues and bands. At the least, people should be able to find out whats going on and where to go. Thats what I am trying to help with here. So help me help us all. Send me your links and link my blog to your sites. Send me your gig dates. Have a band but no website yet? Write me about your bands. Know about something interesting? Please send it on to me here.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Players you should know about

I will try to do an occasional posting about an Old Time Player-Musician you should hear about.
My first musician I am going to profile is "Banjo Billy" Matthews. Billy lives somewhere in Southern Missouri, I am told. He used to live in Northern Arkansas after moving from Colorado in 75. He took up the old Ozark ways and began his Old Time quest in lifestyle and music.
For a number of years he used to "build" Banjos, hence,the moniker "Banjo Billy".
While he can and does play banjo, it's the fiddle where he makes his deepest mark. I was fortunate enough to hear him play at the now defunct Mountain Music Shoppe a couple years ago or so. He and Colin Blair played fiddle and fretted and fretless banjos. They were really fine players who clearly loved their music.
Old time fiddle music is clearly the love of his life and he glows with it as he plays to us, the audience.
First thing you should do is check out his website for more about Billy.
I have his Silver Anniversary CD and I love it. He is in the process of recording 300 fiddle tunes and releasing CD's as he goes. These CD's will be a worthy addition to the Old Time Afficianado's collection.
The last time he was supposed to appear in the KC area, a flood where he lives stopped him cold and I missed out seeing him. Now that Mountain Music Shoppe is dead, the venues for him to play here are pretty slim. My dream is to change that at some point but that's for another post.

Friday, November 20, 2009

More Prairie Acre

Here is some more fine playing by Prairie Acre.

Prairie Acre playing hot at Mt.Airy

Here is a fine clip I found of Prairie Acre, an area band, playing at Mt Airy. This is some fine playing. Can anyone doubt they are having fun? I have yet to actually see them play live but I can't wait!

Thinking of starting a jam

As some folks know, I am thinking of starting an Old Time Jam in january in Shawnee ks. I have the use of my Lodge building so I have a place and a number of people are interested. If you read this and are interested, check out folkjams for the listing. I might end up calling it a Old Time/Bluegrass jam to be a bit more inclusive. Because so many of us play fiddle tunes much of the time, there may not be much of a differance in music being played anyway.
So, let me know if your interested. I am looking at mid to late january 2010

New Eliot Capo design out

According to the Bluegrass Blog Eliot has released a new Capo design which appears to be an improvement on the previous Eliot push button. It is thinner and looks to be a definate improvement. Check out the Bluegrass Blog for good pictures and text. It's not cheap. $160.00 for one of these. Did I say I love my NS capo that cost me 15 dollars? Or my Shubb?
If I had the money I might buy one of these new Eliots.
They are calling the new one, the Eliot Elite

Missouri Fiddlers are my favorite

Missouri fiddlers are my favorite. At least the old ones. This is Cyril Stinnett, a well known fiddler who is one of the best Missouri Valley Fiddlers. Actually Ozark style fiddlers are my most favorite of all but I will take Cyril Stinnett too!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

David Holt and Tommy Jerrell

The last post was a little sad so to cheer us up here is a real old video of two great players. Enjoy!

Fred Stoneking passed away

I just stumbled onto news that the wonderful Missouri Ozark fiddler, Fred Stoneking has left this world back in october. I had hoped to meet him someday but this will have to wait until I too cross that dark river.

Here is an article on Fred you will want to read.

Welcome to post # 1 and the new blog

Welcome to the new Kansas Old Time Music Blog. I am going to try to log as much info as I can concerning Old Time music in the Kansas area. Because I live in the Kansas City metro area, much of what I will write about will concern that area. However, this includes Lawrence and some of western Missouri.
It is my hope that I can have this blog be a regional clearing house for Old Time music info.