University of Missouri Journalism School student Erin Schwartz created this excellent photo essay of the Columbia Contra Dance in action. You’ll see some familiar faces in the photos, like Tom Verdot and John White. The music is provided by the F-150 band.
Dwight Lamb and friends have released a pair of exciting new recordings. The first is “Danish Melodies in America,” a disc featuring Dwight’s unique Danish accordion repetoire, and the second, “Old-Time Fiddle Classics,” re-releases a pair of classic LPs which feature Dwight at the height of his powers as a contest fiddler.
Bill Kearns died February 14, 2010, in Slater, Missouri. Bill had been battling cancer for several years, and his death was not unexpected. He was 86.
One of twelve children, all of them musicians, Bill Kearns (his real name was Bobby H. Kearns) was born on the family farm east of Slater, Saline County. His people were German and Scotch-Irish. Bill was a survivor of the Normandy Invasion in France during World War II and he served with distinction in the Army throughout the war. After the war, he returned to Slater, decided on a career as a railroad brakemen, settled down, and raised a family.
Fred Stoneking, fiddler, guitar and banjo player, son of Lee Stoneking, passed away in October 2009 after a fight with cancer. Fred was a fixture at local festivals at Harrison, Arkansas and Compton Ridge, Missouri, comfortable playing bluegrass, contest fiddle, or the Ozark tunes he learned as a youngster. He will be missed.
Nebraska fiddler Bob Walters is little-known outside Missouri Valley fiddle circles, but that’s about to change with the new release of eighty of Bob’s best tunes on “Bob Walters, The Champion: Classic Missouri Valley Fiddling from Dwight Lamb’s Collection.”
Long before the days of the iPod or even the portable tape recorder, Dwight Lamb was collecting recordings from Bob Walters on wire recorders, reel-to-reels, or whatever the latest technology might be. Now we’re lucky to have his amazing collection of Bob Walters recordings cherry-picked into this giant two-CD set which demonstrates both Mr. Walters’ mastery of the instrument and his breadth of repetoire. The set includes reels, waltzes, polkas and quadrilles, and even a few more rare birds, and tunes are sourced all the way from Kentucky to Canada and beyond.
“Mizzou,” the Missouri Alumni Association’s magazine, has a feature article about Missouri fiddle and dance in this summer’s edition. You’ll see some familiar faces in the excellent photos, like Kenny Applebee, Howard Marshall, Vesta Johnson, Richard Shewmaker, and Frances and Willie Harlan.
Fiddlers Howard Marshall of Fulton (left) and Richard Shewmaker (right) of Columbia won first place in the Senior and Junior division, respectively, at the old-time fiddlers contest in Troy, Missouri, May 3, 2009. The trophies awarded at this contest were unique and very special — miniature violins made by a local artisan. (Photo by John Shewmaker)
We’re sorry to report that Elvin Campbell, a long-time guitarist for Dwight Lamb and Cyril Stinnett, passed away on Sunday, March 15, 2009, in Fremont, Nebraska. He was 84.
Though Elvin was a fiddler himself, he preferred the role of guitarist and found his niche as Dwight Lamb’s preferred guitarist throughout his contest days in the 60s and 70s. He supported Dwight and Cyril Stinnett on their trips to the National Fiddler’s Contest in Weiser, Idaho in the mid 1960s. Elvin supplemented Dwight’s playing with a spare and elegant style of his own. Playing in the Missouri Valley repertoire requires a flexible, well-rounded guitarist who can play comfortably in many keys, change keys smoothly, and generally make it all sound easy, and Elvin qualifies on all counts.
Be sure to visit Elvin’s page to hear some of his top-notch guitar playing.
Now That’s a Good Tune: Masters of Missouri Fiddling was originally issued in 1989 as a set of two LP records and a 64-page book by the Missouri Cultural Heritage Center at the University of Missouri, Columbia. This newly revised edition was produced by Howard Marshall, Vivian Williams, and Phil Williams and includes 2 CDs packed with recordings of 13 Missouri fiddlers and a 98-page book. The fiddlers whose stories are featured in the book, and whose fiddling is heard on the CDs, are R. P. Christeson, Bill Eddy, Lyman Enloe, Gene Goforth, Carol Hascall, Vesta Johnson, Dean Johnston, Pete McMahan, Cyril Stinnett, Howe Teague, Charlie Walden, Bob Walsh, and Nile Wilson. The book also includes over 40 photographs and illustrations, and transcriptions for some of the tunes. This is a “must have” set for anyone interested in traditional fiddling in America and is available from Voyager Recordings.
Saturday, August 2
Annual fiddle contest held as part of festival music, cake, and ice cream making contest. The audience that braved the heat of an early August day was treated to superb fiddling on the shady lawn of the Fayette courthouse square. Continue reading