Voyager Recordings & Publications

Northwest Fiddle Field Recordings - mp3 Format

The U.S. Pacific Northwest has been a true "melting pot" of the many fiddle styles from around the world. Fiddling was brought to this region from many places over the past 200 years. While there undoubtedly were fiddlers on some of the ships that traded on the Northwest Coast prior to 1800, the first fiddlers of which we have documentation that they played in the Pacific Northwest were the two fiddlers who came to the mouth of the Columbia River with the Lewis & Clark Expedition - Pierre Cruzzatte and George Gibson. The next to come were the fur trappers, known today as the "Mountain Men." While the documentation on their fiddling is somewhat scanty, there is a record of some of the fiddle tunes they played at their camps and the famous "Rendezvous." The next big influx were the emmigrants who came out over the Oregon Trail, starting in 1841. There was lots of fiddling and dancing on the Oregon Trail, and the community dance was a very important function in pioneer communities. The folks coming over the Oregon Trail came from all over the world. Most in the early days came from the area around Missouri, where the Trail started, the states along the Ohio River and New England, with a large influx from Germany, Ireland, and England. Later in the 19th century, the Scandinavians began arriving in substantial numbers. The principal occupation in the pioneer West was mining, which employed more folks than all the other occupations combined. The mining camps and towns were major centers of entertainments and dancing. WWII brought an influx of folks from the South to this region to work primarily in the timber, shipbuilding, and aircraft industries. While some of the regional styles that came to the Northwest can still be found here, the need to put together a band to play dances resulted in an amalgamation of fiddle styles and a range of tunes played unique to this region. Even up to the middle of the 20th century, bands for playing traditional dances most often were put together with musicians from various musical backgrounds, and melded into a musical group that could do a good job of playing tunes for the popular dances of the day. This often required the musicians to learn tunes not from their culture, and to simplify the tunes and playing styles so everyone could play them and sound good together. An identifiable traditional Northwest style emerged from this amalgamation, which has mostly died out today with the absence of the community dances, which used to be common in local community centers, Grange halls, schools, churches, etc. until the rise of "rock 'n roll" in the 1950s.

For over fifty years we have been doing field recording of fiddling in the Pacific Northwest, and have also fallen heir to the fiddle field recordings of others in this region. Here we present a sampling from many hours of these recordings of some of the fiddlers who played in this region. Most of these fiddlers no longer are with us, but we believe their music should live on. The tunes are in mp3 format at 128 kbs. We have written up as much as we know of the fiddler and the circumstances under which the recording was made. This is an ongoing project and will be added to from time to time. We have selected the tunes presented here from only around five percent of our archive, and will add more as we continue to go through the rest of the archive. We appreciate any additional information that anyone would care to send us about the fiddlers and/or the tune they are playing. In some cases, we have not been able to identify the tune and know little about the fiddler.

Following is a list of the fiddlers included so far in these Northwest Field Recording selections, in alphabetical order. To read more about the fiddler and play their tunes, click on the fiddler's name. This will bring you to their section of the description and tune listing page. Then click on the tune name to play the mp3 file. To access all the information about the fiddlers and their tunes, and play the tunes in one page, click here on Northwest Fiddlers Field Recordings mp3 Listing.

The Fiddlers:

Accocello, Mary - Mary Acocello was born in Montana in 1909, and her family came out to Burlington, Washington when she was ten years old. Her father was an old time fiddler from Iowa.

Anderson, Jeff - Tune from Grandfather, name not known - Recorded at Mr. Anderson's hour near Olympia, WA, in 2005. Mr. Anderson is a noted Norwegian style fiddler, having learned it from his Norwegian fiddler grandfathers. He appears on two Voyager CDs - CD 346 and CD 364.

Bonar, Connie - Logs in the Rogue, White River Stomp - Recorded at a Seattle Folklore Concert in the 1970s. At the time Ms. Bonar was a young fiddler from Spokane, WA, who, along with her fiddler friends, brought back many great tunes from their trips to Canada.

Bradley, Hank - Red Apple Rag, Lee Highway Blues - Recorded at a Washington Old Time Fiddlers Association (WOTFA) in Renton, WA, November 9, 1974. Mr. Bradley is a well known fiddler from Seattle. He won the Washington State fiddle championship in the 1970s.

Brank, Ken - Cornflower Waltz - Recorded at the Washington State Fiddle Contest, 1970. Mr. Brank, originally from North Carolina, lives in Winlock, WA

Clevens, Archie - Andy's Schottische - Recorded at the WOTFA State Fiddle Contest, Buckley WA 1974. Mr. Clevens lived in Redmond, WA.

Cook, Phil - Three Reels, Reel in D, Portland Fancy - Recorded at the WOTFA State Fiddle Contest, Buckley WA 1974. Mr Cook lived in Richland, WA. He was a Mohawk Indian who learned to play on their reservation in upstate New York. He worked at the Hanford nuclear reservation.

Corvasier, Henry - House Party Jig - Recorded at the West Coast International Fiddle Contest, Abbotsford, B.C. September 21,1974. Mr. Corvasier lived in Salmon Arm, B.C.

Cowan, Ellis - Walk Along John, Hop Up Pussycat - Recorded at Mr. Ellis' house in the late 1960s. Mr. Ellis lived near Lynden, WA. He moved to Washington from Van Buren, MO.

Crawford, Steve - Corn on the Cob - Recorded at a WOTFA fiddle show in Puyallup, WA early 1970s. Mr. Crawford lived in Bremerton, WA.

Dahlgren, Marty - Listen to the Mockingbird - Recorded at a WOTFA fiddle show in Renton, WA November 9, 1974. Mr. Dahlgren lives in Renton, WA. He is a well known Western Swing and country fiddler.

DeJardin, Wilf - Hummingbird Waltz - Recorded at the West Coast International Fiddle Contest, Abbotsford B.C. Fiddle Contest, September 21,1974. Mr. DeJardin lived in Hatvik?B.C.

Evans, Jim - Bear Creek Hop - Recorded at a live radio show on Seattle's KRAB-FM, December 18,1996. Mr. Evans lives in Kent, WA. He was originally from Texas.

Gardner, Wade - Durang's Hornpipe - Recorded at the WOTFA State Fiddle Contest, Buckley WA, 1974. Mr. Gardner lived in Richland, WA

Calvert, Jim - Pride of the Ball - Recorded at the Washington State Fiddle Contest, Buckley WA 1974. Mr. Calvert lived in Puyallup, WA, and was a noted dance fiddler in this region, and also was the M.C. at many fiddle shows in Washington

Gates, Sadie - Dad's Waltz - Recorded at a live radio show on Seattle's KRAB-FM, December 18, 1996.

Gentle, J. C. - Christmas Eve. From a jam session recording made at Weiser, ID, by Phil Williams, late 1960s. Mr. Gentle lived in Wallowa, OR. Mr. Gentle came here from Limerock, AL. He learned from his mother.

Gish, Don - Yakima Waltz (later recorded by him under the name Don's Waltz) - Recorded at a jam session at the Astoria, OR, Fiddle Contest, January 20, 1973. At this time Mr. Gish was living in Spokane, WA. He was the founder of the Washington Old Time Fiddlers Association.

Griffin, Chuck - Evergreen Stomp, Orange Blossom Special, Roy's Rag, Minuet in Swing- Recorded at the Tenino Old Time Music Festival, March, 1978, and at a Seattle Folklore Society concert, November 13, 1971. Mr. Griffin lived in Olympia, WA. He was a popular dance and "show" fiddler.

Gubbe, Robert - Rocky Mountain Waltz - Recorded at the West Coast International Fiddle Contest, Abbotsford, B.C., September 21, 1974. Mr. Gubbe lived in Aldergrove, B.C.

Guernsey, Stan - New Century Hornpipe - Recorded at the West Coast International Fiddle Contest, Abbotsford, B.C., September 21, 1974. Mr. Guernsey lived in the Seattle area.

Hanson, Joe - Old Figary O' - Recorded at a WOTFA Fiddle Show, Seattle area, January 1975. Mr. Hanson lived in Bremerton, WA.

Jarrell, Tommy, John Brown's Dream (banjo), Cluck Old Hen (fiddle) - Recorded in the Williams' living room early 1970s when Mr. Jarrell was playing concerts in the Seattle area and stayed with them. He is backed up by Blanton Owen on fretless banjo. Mr. Jarrell lived in Poast, N.C.

Jenkins, Edna later Grise - Goodnight Waltz - Recorded by Art Nation at the concert presented by the Idaho Fiddlers at the Seattle World's Fair, 1962. Ms. Jenkings lived in Orofino, ID.

Johnston, Neil - Possum up a Gum Stump - Recorded at a fiddle show in Southeast Washington in 1976. Mr. Johnston, originally from Nebraska, lived in Tenino, WA. He founded the Tenino Old Time Music Festival

Kemble, Clarence - Whistling Rufus - Recorded by Art Nation at the concert presented by the Idaho Fiddlers at the Seattle World's Fair, 1962. Mr. Kemble lived in Payette, ID. He won the Weiser fiddle contest in 1954.

Koppel, Russell - Peek-a-Boo Waltz - Recorded at the West Coast International Fiddle Contest, Abbotsford, B.C., 1974. Mr. Koppel lived in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Maines, Alman - Harvest Home - Recorded by Art Nation at the concert presented by the Idaho Fiddlers at the Seattle World's Fair, 1962. Mr. Maines lived in Stites, ID at the time.

Modrell, Rusty & Yohey, Bill - Til We Meet Again - Recorded by Art Nation at the concert presented by the Idaho FIddlers at the Seattle World's Fair, 1962. Mr. Modrell lived in Terrebonne, OR, and Mr. Yohey lived in McMinnville, OR.

Norberg, Clarence - Lone Star Rag - Recorded at a WOTFA Fiddle Show, Puyallup, WA, early 1970s. Mr. Norberg lived in Centralia, WA.

Osborne, Ray - Dill Pickle Rag, Down on the Farm; Cacklin Hen - Recorded at the Washington State Fiddle Contest, 1970. Seattle, and a Seattle Folklore Society Concert, Seattle, 1971. Mr. Osborne lived in Tacoma, WA. He came to Washington from Kansas, where he was born in the 1890s and learned to fiddle.

Pancerzewski, Joe - Arkansas Rag, Bride of the Wind- Recorded at the Washington State Fiddle Contest, 1970. Enumclaw, WA, and the West Coast International Fiddle Contest, Abbotsford, B.C., 1974. Mr. Pancerzewski lived in Enumclaw, WA. He came to Washington from North Dakota, by way of Saskatchewan. He was a very popular fiddler in the Pacific Northwest and won nearly every contest he entered, playing in his impeccable old time dance style. He has a CD on Voyager - CD 341 - a compilation of the four Lps of him issued by Voyager.

Pruden, Stan - West 14th Jig - Recorded at the West Coast International Fiddle Contest, Abbotsford B.C.1974, where he entered the Senior Division. Mr. Pruden lived in Prince George, B.C.

Robichaud, Jerry - Abigweit Breakdown - Recorded in the Williams' dining room, July 7, 1980, during a visit. Mr. Robichaud lived in Waltham, Mass. He is Canadian style fiddler of French Canadian background. He as a CD on Voyager - CD 310.

Sanderson, Alvin - Do-Si-Do, Old Schottische in C, Minnesota Waltz, Old Two-Step in C - Recorded at the Washington State Fiddle Contest, 1970. Mr. Sanderson lived in Seattle, WA. At the time of this recording he was the current Weiser Senior Division Champion. Mr. Sanderson played in primarily Scandinavian style.

Snead, Fay - Unidentified Hoedown - Recorded by Art National at the concert by the Idaho Fiddlers at the Seattle World's Fair, 1962. Mr. Snead, originally from Arkansas, was living in Midvale, ID.

Stephens, Monte - Buffalo Girls - Recorded at the Washington State Fiddle Contest, 1970. Monte was a judge. He lived in Winchester, ID, having come to Idaho from Missouri.

Thomasson, Benny & Yohey, Bill - Whispering - Recorded at a jam session at the Astoria, OR, fiddle contest, January 20, 1973.

Thomasson, Benny - unidentified Swing Tune - Recorded at a jam session at the Astoria, OR, fiddle contest Astoria Fiddle Contest, January 20, 1973.
" " Mother's Reel

Williams, Vivian - Turkey in the Straw, Cabri Waltz, Pacific Slope - Recorded at the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, Pt. Townsend, WA, 2003, and at the West Coast International Fiddle Contest, Abbotsford, BC, 1974 Mrs. Williams lives in Seattle, WA.