Elvin Campbell poses with his fiddle wearing engineer-striped bib overalls.

Elvin Campbell

Hooper, NE

Elvin Campbell is best known for his top-notch guitar backup for Dwight Lamb and Cyril Stinnett.

Clark’s Waltz

Players: Dwight Lamb, fiddle; Elvin Campbell, guitar

Iowa State Folklorist David Brose recorded this tune while visiting with Dwight Lamb and Elvin Campbell in 1988.

Comin’ Down From Denver

Players: Dwight Lamb, fiddle; Elvin Campbell, guitar

From the LP “Old-Time Fiddlin’ Left-Handed Style” (1970).

Natchez Under the Hill

Players: Dwight Lamb, fiddle; Elvin Campbell, guitar

From “Old-Time Fiddle Classics,” a re-release of Dwight’s two LPs from the 1970s.

Elvin Campbell was born in Elmo, Missouri and grew up in a highly musical family in a community near fiddler Bob Walters. His grandfather, Hiram Allen, was an accomplished fiddler and is the source of several “Hiram Allen’s Tunes” which are part of the Missouri Valley repetoire. Elvin spent most of his working life as a trucker; when off work, he was typically back in the car and on his way to a contest, dance, jam session, or visit with one of the Missouri Valley fiddlers active at the time. An anecdote from longtime friend and fiddler Dwight Lamb tells that Elvin once got a tune so stuck in his head that he drove to Cyril Stinnett’s house in north central Missouri, arriving around 2 a.m., and knocked on the door. Cyril got up, and played the tune with him, then another, and another….several hours later, Elvin was on his way home.

Though Elvin was a good fiddler himself, he 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 repetoire 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.

As his health declined, Elvin’s sense of humor and intense enjoyment of music remained very much intact; any trip to Dwight Lamb’s was incomplete without a phone call to play a few tunes for Elvin.