Back by popular demand — Freaky Fiddle Friday Scotty Stoneman Edition.

The people have spoken, and we have listened. Back by popular demand is the Freaky Fiddle Friday!

We kick it back off with the man that Jerry Garcia called his inspiration for his endless jamming — Scotty Stoneman — the Jimi Hendrix of the Fiddle.

Man could that guy play the fiddle, great stuff here.

Jump to 2:10 for the fiddling fireworks!

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Speycasting and Fiddle Tunes

Midcurrent pointed us toward an interesting article today about Alexander Grant, one of the pioneers of  Speycasting.

Wouldn’t you know it, the man was a musician! And not just a musician he played the Fiddle! Yet another dot connecting the Fiddle and the Creel. Pertinent quotes below…

Born in 1856 at his family’s croft at Battangorm near Carrbridge in the Highlands of Scotland, Grant began his illustrious fishing career in the silvery waters of the River Spey system. As a young boy he was also exposed to his other great passion in life – playing the fiddle. So much was his early interest in the acoustic properties of these instruments that he once refused to attend fiddle lessons from the local school teacher because he disliked the tone of his tutor’s fiddle. This early appreciation of tone and vibration was something he used in later life to outstanding effect in the design of his famous ‘Grant’s Vibration’ range of fly rods.

Later in the article it gets to the heart of an issue I’ve been wanting to explore in more detail, the relationship between building acoustic instruments and building rods. I knew there was a connection, now I have PROOF! Well, if nothing else then at least it’s proof that someone else in human history was just as savagely deranged as I.

The real secret to success of the greenheart rod however, was the rod’s specific taper, which was worked out acoustically, rod by rod. As a talented musician, Grant also handcrafted his own fiddles and in doing so began experimenting with the principles of vibration frequencies. The information he learned was applied with great effect to his rod making room. He realised that as a natural product, the density of wood varied. This meant that two rods made to the same length, diameter and specifications different actions. Grant tuned each individual rod section as such that he could produce a rod that flexed in total unison. This meant that instead of each section ‘springing’ slower or quicker than the others, the rod’s action was totally married, resulting in a very powerful through-action.

Unbelievable! The connection between music and fly fishing is unmistakable!

Freaky Fiddle Friday: Luke Abbott

Well I haven’t done a Freaky Fiddle Friday in a while. But I miss it, so here goes. Today I bring you the fantastic straight ahead and old timey pair of fiddle tunes by Luke Abbott. He plays two classics, Angeline the Baker and Apple Blossom. Do yourself a favor and also check out his album called, Take Me Home. It sounds like this young man has a very promising career as a solo musician. It’s difficult thing to make this material interesting as a solo artist, but he sure pulls it off convincingly. His guitar and banjo work is also quite solid and voice perfectly workable in a traditional sense. Good stuff.

Fiddlin Foresters Website Gets Axed

Via the Federal times comes news that in an effort to save money the Obama administration has decided to consolidate websites in order to save the government money. While in principle I think this is a good idea and generally speaking support the theory of consolidation, he has, by calling out this group, given this action a face and a human personality.

The danger here is for people like me who support all things folky and traditional to use that face and personality as leverage to mount a campaign against this action, and yet again make him look like a buffoon. If he hadn’t been specific and called them out by name, then how could you argue with it, right? But now there will be legions of people using this as a lever against him. Well, ok, maybe not legions, a half-a-dozen maybe, but the point is, its a bit of Americana, and there ARE legions of people out there, who think our society is loosing great things such as string band music, like Brazil is losing rainforest, and these things need to be conserved.

Obviously, he isn’t breaking up the band, or telling them they can’t exist, but the headlines on this one write themselves, and anymore, our Hamsterized little brains only pick up the headlines, oooh look squirrel. Take a peak at the top of this page for goodness sake, thats all anyone will see, nobody reads down this far, not even my mother!

Here is a video purported to be the Fiddlin Foresters providing the soundtrack to a little movie about the Man Gulch Fire. If you don’t know about the Man Gulch, you need to get out more.

If the Fiddlin Foresters weren’t very well known before, I bet they’ll be getting an agent and record contract and a book deal now. TLC won’t be far behind with a reality TV show too.

Details and quote form the story below.

The Fiddlin’ Foresters may live on, but their web site’s apparently defunct.

Monday morning, the U.S. Forest Service string band found itself in the unenviable position of being panned by President Obama. Not for its music, but for a web site that Obama held up as an example of a taxpayer-funded Internet presence in urgent need of pruning.

“Did you know that the federal government pays for a web site devoted to a folk music ensemble made up of forest rangers?” Obama asked in a video posted on the White House’s own site. The video then features a screen shot of the group’s site, accompanied by what is presumably a sample of the band’s playing.

“I’ll put their music on my iPod, but I’m not paying for their web site,” Obama continued. “And there are hundreds of similar sites that we should consolidate or just get rid of.”

Ouch.

A Google search quickly turned up fiddlinforesters.gov, but the url had vanished from a government server.  A cached version described the four-member ensemble as “the official ‘old-time string band’” of the Forest Service, adding that “we are proud to bring conservation and stewardship messages alive through story and song to all who value natural and cultural resource conservation on America’s public lands.”

The site was up as recently as Friday, the cached version indicated. Asked today whether it has since been shut down because of Obama’s criticism, the Forest Service bounced the question to its parent agency, the U.S. Agriculture Department, where Press Secretary Matt Herrick had no answer Monday afternoon.

Freaky Fiddle Friday: Royal Wedding Edition

Ok so in honor of the royal wedding today’s Freaky Fiddle Friday features Brad Leftwich playing Bonaparte’s Retreat. There is all sorts of Folklore surrounding this one. I was always assumed it to be in favor of the Brits, but apprently Wikipedia thinks it’s an Irish tune in favor of Napolean, who knew.

The Bonny Bunch of Roses” Lyric goes like this so feel free to sing along.

Near by the swelling ocean,
One morning in the month of June,
While feather’d warbling songsters
Their charming notes did sweetly tune,
I overheard a lady
Lamenting in sad grief and woe,
And talking with young Bonaparte
Concerning the bonny Bunch of Roses, O.
Thus spake the young Napoleon,
And grasp’d his mother by the hand:-
“Oh, mother dear have patience,
Till I am able to command;
I’ll raise a numerous army,
And through tremendous dangers go,
And in spite of all the universe,
I’ll gain the bonny Bunch of Roses, O.”
Oh, son, speak not so venturesome;
For England is the heart of oak;
Of England, Scotland, and Ireland,
The unity can ne’er be broke.
And think you on your father,
In the Island where he now lies low,
He is not yet interred in France;
So beware of the bonny Bunch of Roses, O.
Your father raised great armies,
And likewise kings did join the throng;
He was so well provided.
Enough to sweep the world along.
But when he went to Moscow,
He was o’erpower’d by drifting snow;
And though Moscow was blazing
He lost the bonny Bunch of Roses, O.
“Oh, mother, adieu for ever,
I am now on my dying bed,
If I had liv’d I’d have been brave
But now I droop my youthful head.
And when our bones do moulder,
And weeping-willows o’er us grow,
Its deeds to bold Napoleon
Will stain the bonny Bunch of Roses, O.”