September-October 2009

Old Time Grindhouse

Fiddle Lesson #7:

Meg Gray


One of my students just returned from the Swannanoa Old-Time week in North Carolina. After learning a few Bruce Greene tunes from me she discovered that he was teaching fiddle workshops this year at the Swannanoa Gathering. She packed her bags for a week and a half of concentrated old-time instruction. When she came back she brandished two CDs that Bruce made for her. They are copies of his earlier cassette tape releases, Vintage Fiddle Tunes and Fiddler's Dozen. Go to his website and order them if they're still available! Until now I've obsessed on his Five Miles of Ellum Wood CD, hoping to come across these earlier recordings. Both recordings provide an excellent window into the old Kentucky fiddle sounds Bruce is known for. One track in particular struck me this past week: Meg Gray. It's a tune by George Lee Hawkins. Bruce's rendition is moving. It's bouncy yet haunting. Today's fiddle lesson is that tune. It's in standard tuning and has two parts. Enjoy.

David Bragger is a Los Angeles-based instructor and player of old time fiddle and banjo music. He also photographs, films, and collects the lore of traditional artists, from puppeteers in Myanmar to fiddlers of Appalachia.


All Columns by David Bragger