Thursday, September 20, 2007

Fiddlin' Around: Texas

The last region that we will visit on our quick tour of American fiddle music is Texas. Just as there were overlaps between the fiddle playing of the Ozarks and the Appalachians, there are a few similarities between the fiddle music of Texas and Oklahoma and that of the Ozarks. But, there are plenty of differences as well.

The music of Texas doesn’t contain the very strong influences of English folk music that is so prevalent in the Appalachians or the Ozarks. Oh, it’s still there, just diluted a bit. It’s more of a big ol’ Texas fiddle salad with a bit of everything thrown into the bowl.

Once again, there is an African influence. I hear the influence Tin Pan Alley in many Texas fiddle tunes. I also hear something else that wasn’t in the blends we have sampled so far; an Eastern European influence. Now we know that the German, Polish, and Czech immigrants added their unique signature on the music of Texas, so we shouldn’t be surprised to find that influence in the fiddle music.

Then there’s the unmistakable sound of jazz that makes its way into much of the Texas string band tradition. It was this blend of folk music from the UK, Eastern European, jazz (mostly swing), and blues that brought forth western swing. The fiddle played the lead role in early western swing bands, just as it did with the music of the music of the Piedmont, Appalachian, and Ozark regions.

The fiddle was the lead instrument across much of America until the invention of amplification. The amplifier was the catalyst that moved the guitar from the rhythm section into melodic lead. For most of this continent’s history that spot had been held firmly by the expressive voice of the fiddle.

Oscar & Doc Harper - Dallas Bound.mp3

Fort Worth Doughboys - Nancy Jane.mp3

The Nettles Brothers String Band - Dan the Banana Man.mp3

Quebe Sisters Band - Goldmine In The Sky.mp3
I first saw the Quebe Sisters Band at last year's National Folk Festival. These three young ladies sure can pull some bow! Learn more and order a CD at

Y'all have a good weekend!


Anonymous G-Dub said...


You're really on a roll. I especially liked the Quebe Sisters Band.

September 21, 2007 10:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now that we've fiddled around for a week, I have a quick reminder to my fellow riders. This Sunday will mark the "two year anniversary" of when the old blue bus first pulled away from the curb.

Congratulations old buddy on another milestone. Your second year had the cream rising to the top with the excellence we now expect, but hopefully don't take for granted.

September 21, 2007 11:40 AM  
Blogger Ed said...

Those young ladies are even more impressive live.

September 21, 2007 12:22 PM  
Anonymous rockin'n'rollin' said...

Great selection.
like usually

September 21, 2007 1:24 PM  
Anonymous Rockin'n'rollin' said...

Ah! Fort Worth Doughboys featuring Bob Wills & Milton Brown...

September 21, 2007 2:01 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Yee-Haw! Thanks for closing out with The Great State of Texas. (You knew I wouldn't fail to comment on this one, right?)

September 21, 2007 2:58 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Thanks for the musical education, Ed, but next time don't fiddle with it. Wow, that's a corny joke! Seriously, I've learned a ton from these posts, and I'm greatful. And congratulations on keeping the Bus on the road for two years. It's been a delight to be a passenger, and I intend to continue to occupy a seat for a long, long time.

September 21, 2007 6:08 PM  
Blogger Black Dog said...

Jubilations ! two years of driving slide guitars, fiddles, singers and spoon players. I've just arrived so not too sure about the spoon players but your river anthology has a memory somewhere about them. I'm sure of it.

Spreading the word about the bus. Keep rollin'

all thoughts fly... k.

September 22, 2007 3:46 AM  
Blogger Ed said...

Thank you all, friends, for your kind words, but mostly for your participation.

It is the exchange of ideas, corny jokes, and good conversation that have made this journey worthwhile.

September 23, 2007 8:16 PM  

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