Fiddly things, piano things

Clifftop recap (which means fiddle videos), and then a bunch of piano tunes. Sorry about the month-and-a-half-long radio silence—sometimes life just happens.


Clifftop ended two weeks ago and I’m only just now coming down from the (purely music-induced) high. There were loads of fantastic musicians there, a few of whom I got to play with; others, I just got the chance to listen to.

I especially liked hearing Erynn Marshall play Piney Woods in the fiddle finals (VIDEO). I feel like it really has the lonesome sound that makes solo old-time fiddling so special.

I had the privilege and the joy to learn quite a few tunes from Ralph Roberts, to whom I was introduced by my newfound Japanese friend Shohei Tsutsumi—who, himself, has been, in the aftermath of Clifftop, uploading videos of some of Ralph’s tunes, like Yew Piney Mountain (VIDEO) and Greasy String (VIDEO).

I accidentally wrote a waltz in a power jam late Thursday night, and the bass player had the idea to name it Blue Moon Waltz, after the blue moon that was in the sky. That was an adventure.

Then Brennish Thomson did a video recording of Autumn Rose Lester and me playing twin fiddle for a few tunes—including Blue Moon Waltz. He edited them up and put them on YouTube: The Road to Malvern (VIDEO), Blue Moon Waltz (VIDEO), and Chinquapin Hunting (VIDEO).

And then the best part, of course, was my jam-of-the-year with Rachel Eddy on guitar, Brian Slattery on banjo, and Charlie Shaw on bass. Those were the best two hours of my recent musical life. One of Charlie’s friends took a video of us playing Tippin’ Back the Corn (VIDEO), and then videographer Craig Evans used seven minutes of us playing Booth Shot Lincoln as the centerpiece for a documentary video of this year’s Clifftop, which you can see below.


Meanwhile, in the world of whatever-my-style-of-piano-music-is-called, I made quite a few audio recordings. Here they are.

This one’s a modern classical guitar piece called Rose in the Garden, written by some Italian dude called Carlo Domeniconi. He seems like a cool guy. Here’s my best attempt at pretending that the piano can express music with as much depth as the classical guitar.


Here’s a piano version of Red Prairie Dawn, a wonderful fiddle tune written by Garry Harrison. I had the idea to play this on piano after playing a slow rendition of the tune in a jam at Clifftop.


This is a tune that just sort of happened while I was messing around on the piano at my grandparents’ house. I might add more to this later.


This tune appeared rather unexpectedly a few hours ago today. Sometimes days are good like that.

(Part of the melody and most of the chord sequence are roughly similar to the first part of Someday, but the mood and execution are rather different.)

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