Herman Johnson - New National Champion


As promised I'm going to be devoting more time to this blog, updating more frequently, and making these recordings more accessible to the old-time community.  

My last post about Cecil Johnson had me back on the search for more of his brother Herman's recordings.  There's not a lot that I can write about Herman and his contributions to old-time fiddling that hasn't already been said.  He was a generous teacher, a true gentleman, and a "simply perfect" fiddler.

Read his biography from the National Fiddler Hall of Fame.    

This recording was made right after Herman's first National Championship win in Weiser, Idaho in 1968 with his friend Ralph McCraw.  Herman went on to win the National Championship four more times after this and he still holds the record for being undefeated at this national level contest to this very day.  

You can download the album in its entirety by clicking the link below.

Herman Johnson - Champion Fiddlin

(It's a compressed .zip folder so downloading to your desktop will be easiest.)

I was fortunate to study with Herman at the Bethel Youth Fiddle Camp as a kid.  For those that haven't yet heard of the Bethel Fiddle Camps, they are one of the longest running, all inclusive, music and dance intensive camps in the country (one of the very few camps that focuses on one-on-one lessons versus group).  Taking place in Bethel, Missouri for over 30 years, they have hosted countless nationally renowned fiddlers as master instructors.  They do have a facebook page that posts updates and information for upcoming events.  **fingers crossed for summer of 2021**

Here's a great video from Charlie Walden's YouTube channel of Herman Johnson and Pete McMahan (on guitar!) from the Bethel Youth Fiddle Camp in 1990.  Check out Charlie's YouTube channel for hundreds, or possibly thousands, of great videos.  Charlie played a huge part in getting the Bethel Youth Fiddle Camp started in the 1980's and has spent a lot of time and energy helping to preserve old-time fiddling.  He's also one of a few folks to blame for taking me under their wing as a young fiddler, sharing his knowledge, and keeping me hungry for learning everything I could. 


I had opened up for donations on my last blog post but after some thought I'd rather put those donations towards something that will help preserve old-time fiddling here in Missouri.  My wife and I would like to start a scholarship fund in honor of Pete McMahan who was a guiding influence in my fiddling.  

This scholarship would benefit a young student's tuition who is attending the Bethel Youth Fiddle Camp. I benefited from a scholarship to this camp as a kid from the generous Missouri Fiddler's and Country Music Association some 30 years ago.  Times are tough, even tougher for kids right now.  If we can keep money from being a determining factor for at least one child or family who loves this music that's something to smile about (and for me to keep updating this blog more often!).

So, if you're enjoying the music posts, my ramblings that no one asked for, and have a few bucks to throw towards keeping this tradition going here in mid-Missouri we'd love to help you pay it forward.

We will be getting an account opened and linked to PayPal, Venmo, Ko-fi, etcetera in the very near future to make this whole process a bit easier.

To donate to the Pete McMahan Memorial Scholarship

PayPal -

Thanks to everyone that follows this blog here and supports my efforts.  There's a lot of hours after work, weekends, and money that goes into this blog and cloud storage.  Always enjoy getting feedback, stories, and whatever so please leave a comment or email me at BrokenBowFiddleCo@gmail.com.

John P. Williams


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