Midwest to the Blue Ridge - "Mini Tour"


The main intent of this blog has always been to help preserve rare, seldom heard field recordings and LP's, promote my friends new albums, and occasionally try to sell an instrument or two.  I haven't ever taken the opportunity to "toot my own horn" on my own website.  Well, here we go.  If you don't already know me and my passion for Missouri fiddling and old-time music in general, please check out an interview my friend, Rachel Krause, did a few years ago.  "Breathing new life into Missouri Fiddling".

What started out as just a joking text exchange between friends at the end of June quickly developed into a whirlwind trip halfway across the country in mid-July.

My friend Josh Johnson and I connected about eight years ago through the Missouri State Old-Time Fiddler's Association group on Facebook. With a shared interest in the rich history of Missouri fiddling, old field recordings, LPs, and dabbling in home recording we became fast friends.

Living states away and several miles away we never had the opportunity to meet in person.  Rather we swapped recordings over email, new tunes we were working out through social media, multiple attempts at multi track recording during the pandemic, and numerous phone calls discussing nerdy fiddle topics and trying to solve the worlds problems. 

I managed to get Josh to travel to northeast Missouri these past two years to be a master instructor at the Bethel Youth Fiddle Camp.  It was great to finally meet my friend from South Carolina in person and have a chance to play and swap tunes!

Now, how does a native South Carolinian get wrapped into such a niche, regional style dang near one thousand miles away?  

Here's what he told me;

"I've always been a tune hound, looking for the tune that I hadn't heard yet. I'd follow a tune to a fiddler. If I liked that fiddler's style I would dig around in that fiddler's set of tunes for tunes I really liked then I would follow that tune to other fiddlers that played it...always following the fiddlers I liked best.  That led me west-ward. JP Fraley, Buddy Thomas, Roger Cooper, George Hawkins, until I ran across the Lonnie Robertson CD on County Sales. I heard a snippet before buying and was hooked: the drive, his unique tunes, variations, and all of the amazing tunes I'd never heard of before. 

At that point I was firmly planted in Missouri [fiddling] so I started researching the internet (maybe 2004/2005) and from a local fiddler, Bob Buckingham, who was familiar with the Missouri style and would suggest other Missouri fiddlers to look into: Fred Stoneking, Art Gailbraith, Lyman Enloe, Taylor McBaine, and Bob Holt.

Probably around 2009 is when things really shifted gears and I was massively stock piling fiddlers and tunes as intensely as I could. Bob Walters, Cyril Stinnett, Dwight Lamb (the Missouri Valley trend). The last phase of major discoveries were CD's from Pete McMahan, Matt Wyatt/Justin Branum, and your CDs. John Hartford was in there somewhere along with knowing about but not knowing much of Cleo Persinger."

...back on track...

Josh and his overwhelmingly talented daughter, Molly, had been invited to play at the, "Banjo Extravaganza" being held at the historic Hagood Mill outside of Pickens, SC.  (I failed to mention that Josh is a tremendous clawhammer and two-finger style banjo player in addition to being an accomplished fiddler.)  His earlier texts were asking me to come and "be the fiddler" to highlight the various ways and styles the banjo is used as an accompaniment instrument in old-time fiddle music.  

With the full support from my financially conscious bride who whole heartedly supports this "hobby" of mine even when it doesn't make good sense monetarily. 
In her own words, "I knew I what I was getting into when I married a poor fiddler."  

God bless her, she's a saint and more supportive than I deserve!

"Sure, let's do something dumb for once."


While I was out there we might as well pick up another gig to finish out the weekend!
A ridiculous weekend trip deserved a tour name and the, "Midlife Crisis Tour" (while probably appropriate) wasn't catchy enough.

I'm going to share a few videos from the Hagood Mill event with Josh's daughter, Molly playing banjo.  Sadly we didn't get any videos of Josh and I playing on stage until Sunday afternoon and a jam session later than evening.

Sunday afternoon we had a two hour set at Jocassee Valley Brewing Co. outside of Salem, SC.  If you're ever in the area stop by!  It's a gorgeous location, the owners are wonderful, and the refreshments are top notch.  

A friend of Josh's, Kirby Allen, was in the audience that day and is a wonderful photographer. Be sure to check out his work on Instagram and if he's local to you definitely consider him as your photog.

Now some videos from Jocassee Valley Brewing Co.

And a few tunes from our little jam session that evening.

Thanks to my good friend, Josh Johnson, and his family for hosting me and setting up a memorable weekend in the mountains of South Carolina!

Thanks also to everyone who continues to follow me here on this blog and the support you show!  Feel free to email at BrokenBowFiddleCo@gmail.com.  I love reading the comments and receiving feedback!

I'm going to throw a few pictures from my trip at the bottom if you're still tuning in after all of this!  


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