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If you take away from our reality the symbolic fictions which regulate it, you lose reality itself.

Slavoj Žižek


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Sunday, February 7th, 2010

Some new songs -- "the jig is up!"

This weekend I started working on a couple of new songs, some solo fiddle tunes and a blues tune I could play with John.

I thought I would explore the latter half of the alphabet in my music book a little; paging through the R's I found "The Road to Lisdoonvarna" -- well! I've been to Lisdoonvarna -- on a bike trip in western Ireland, with Ellen about 13 years ago -- and remember it fondly, and I have a shortage of jigs in my repertoire; so I thought I'd give it a try. Looked it up on YouTube to get an idea what it sounds like, and I found Ryan and Brennish Thompson playing it along with two other Dorian tunes:

I like all of these songs and have set myself the task of learning them -- they're coming along pretty well, I think. "Lisdoonvarna" and "Swallowtail" are jigs -- i.e. fast tunes in 6/8 time -- and "Drowsy Maggie" is a reel, in 4/4.

Another song I took a look at last night, which I think will be great to play with John, is "If the River Was Whiskey", Charlie Poole's version of "Hesitation Blues." Here are The Dough Rollers playing it:

or you can listen to Poole at lala.com. It's a great fiddle part, a lot of fun, and it'll sound great with John's guitar.

posted afternoon of February 7th, 2010: Respond
➳ More posts about Fiddling

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Fiddle medleys

Something I really enjoy with learning traditional fiddle tunes, is figuring out which ones of them go together and creating medleys. Usually the impetus for this to happen comes when I'm playing one song and accidentally fall into a different tune, then I work out how I can make that transition happen on purpose. Here are two medleys I've been working on a lot recently: "The Road to Lisdoonvarna"/"Drowsy Maggie" (a little interesting because the two songs, while in the same key, have markedly different rhythm), and "The Red-Haired Boy"/"Bill Cheetham" (which seem like they might as well be actually the same song, they have so much in common).


posted afternoon of February 15th, 2010: Respond
➳ More posts about Music

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

A track (or two)

Here is a song John and I recorded last night, a medley of "Drowsy Maggie" and "Dancing Barefoot" -- we've been working on this for a few weeks and played it last week at the Menzel Violins open mic. I'm pretty happy with the way we've integrated the vocal melody with the fiddle melody.


Oh and here is another song I recorded recently that I'm pretty happy with:


This is a Leadbelly song also performed by Hazel Dickens (and many other artists), but the version I learned it from and which I always think of when I hear it, is my friends' band Other People's Children, Liam and Malcolm.

posted evening of May 13th, 2010: Respond
➳ More posts about Jamming with friends

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

Music in the fiddle

A mix with some of my favorite fiddle music, and a couple of my own performances... link and notes below the fold.

read the rest...

posted evening of June 5th, 2010: 2 responses
➳ More posts about Mix tapes

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