Phil Williams, Friend of Missouri Fiddling, Passes Away

Musician and music organizer Phil Williams of Seattle passed away last week in Seattle. With his wife and musical partner, Vivian, he ran Voyager Recordings which published CDs of many Missouri and Missouri-inspired musicians, including discs from John White, Howard Marshall, and Travis Inman. Brendan Kiley of the Seattle Times has written a wonderful remembrance of Phil, “Don’t fence me in: Phil Williams, who co-founded Folklife and fought to keep it free, dies at 80.” He will be missed.

Happy Birthday, John White!

Happy 80th Birthday to fiddler John White!

At 80, soft-spoken John isn’t resting on his laurels:  he keeps learning tunes and challenging the rest of us to keep up with him. He plays dances, organizes the long-running Hallsville Dance on the second Saturday of each month, teaches several fiddle students a week, and still finds time for his favorite students, his grandchildren. He is also a dance fiddlin’ machine: he played nine dances and performances in the month of October!

If you see John around town or at the Hallsville dance, be sure and wish him a happy birthday.

Charlie Walden has provided a little John White flashback:


And here’s John today, teaching at the 2016 Bethel fiddle camp!


The Art of the Second

Seconds are typically players who do not play melody, but back up the melody instruments with chords and/or rhythm parts. For Missouri styles, basic backup usually entails a guitar, a piano, or an organ (pump or electric). In southern Missouri, a five-string banjo is also often considered an essential, while north of the Missouri River, it’s a less common addition. Other instruments are used as additions as well, including bass, mandolin, tenor banjo, and more unusual choices like steel guitar, piano accordion, or cello. Continue reading

Podcast Documents Missouri Fiddler Bill Driver’s Story

American Public Media podcast “Historically Black” has just released an episode exploring the life and times of Missouri fiddler Bill Driver.  Bill was a very popular fiddler in central Missouri, and there are still folks here who play his tunes.

Listen to the podcast here!

And if you’d like to learn a little more about Black fiddlers in Missouri, you might enjoy reading this.

If you know more about someone who is or was an African-American fiddler in Missouri–even if it’s just their name–we’d love to hear from you!



Remembrance: Fiddler Hal Martin Sappington

Submitted by R. M. Kinder

Hal SappingtonHal Martin Sappington, a consummate gentleman, educator, engineer, and beloved fiddler died in his home in Warrensburg on September 6th 2016. He was 85. Hal leaves a legacy of kindness, courtesy, respect, and talent that reaches far beyond his loving family and innumerable friends to music itself. He played for the love of it, yet built a reputation as a Little Dixie style fiddler who, through reviews and biographies, is now recorded in Missouri history. Continue reading

Missouri Fiddle Champion Leroy (Red) Canaday Passes at 88

By Howard (Rusty) Marshall

Leroy Canaday on his front porch in Moberly, 2000. (Photo by Howard Marshall)

Leroy Canaday on his front porch in Moberly, 2000. (Photo by Howard Marshall)

I am sorry to convey the news of the death of Leroy Canaday. Leroy and Betty had moved to the Houston, Texas, area in 2005 to live with their daughter, Kathy Kadletz, and family. Leroy had been in failing health for several years; Betty died in 2006. Local services will be held in LaPorte, Texas. Continue reading

Ozark Jig Dancing Demonstration

In this video from the 1995 Bethel, Missouri summer fiddle camp posted by Charlie Walden, Larry Schuyler, Gary (sorry, I don’t know Gary’s last name!), and Cathy Marriott (née Davis) demonstrate some terrific Douglas County-style jig dancing with fiddling by Bob Holt, accompanied by Kenny Applebee on guitar.

Ozarks Fiddler Ray Curbow of Blue Eye, Missouri, Dies at 79

By Howard Marshall

Raymond F. Curbow (1936-2016) grew up in the farming community of Ridgedale in Taney County, Missouri, near the Arkansas line. He later settled in Blue Eye, Missouri, in next-door Stone County, a village straddling the border with Arkansas. He was employed in his working life as a mechanic and school bus driver. Curbow was from a long line of fiddlers and musicians.
Continue reading

Happy Eighth of January!

Celebrate fiddle music’s annual holiday, Missouri style, with these recordings from Dwight Lamb, Cyril Stinnett, Bob Holt and Charlie Walden.

Dwight Lamb with Lena Hughes and Dave Copeland

Continue reading

Lloyd Lalumondier, 1924-2015

By Howard Marshall

Lloyd Lalumondier, Oct 3 2009 at Ste. Genevieve senior center dance, photo by Howard Marshall

Lloyd Lalumondier, Oct 3 2009 at Ste. Genevieve senior center dance, photo by Howard Marshall

Lloyd Lalumondier, the legendary French-American old-time, bluegrass, country, and swing fiddler from Festus, Ste. Genevieve County, Missouri, died June 30, 2015 from the cumulative complications of ill health. Lloyd was 91, and had been in failing health since the death of his wife and musical partner, Georgena, in 2013. Continue reading