At the Bluegrass Situation, we are fond of the fiddle! Sometimes its nuance will get overshadowed by the acoustic guitar or the banjo, but in our hearts, the fiddle always holds its own. Can it rouse a crowd of country fans in a dancehall in Texas? Yes. Can it make you weep when you hear it on an Alison Krauss record? Every time. Will we ever get tired of hearing “Orange Blossom Special”? Can’t even imagine that.
Throughout the month of February, we’re shining a light on some of our favorite fiddle content, like this excerpt from Mark O’Connor’s upcoming memoir, this Mixtape from Turnpike Troubadours’ Kyle Nix, or this interview with Becky Buller. It also seems like the right time for a (double) stop by our BGS archive. Here are five of our favorite clips along with a brand new BGS playlist at the end.
Jason Carter, “King of the Hill”
One of our newest videos finds Jason Carter and friends jamming in the Station Inn dressing room, just before an album release party at Americanafest. Joining him on this Bruce Hornsby song are Cody Kilby (guitar), Ashby Frank (mandolin), Cory Walker (banjo), and Alan Bartram (bass). Carter told BGS, “This song is for anyone who’s ever had a dead-end job or had a boss like a prison warden.”
Che Apalache, “Red Rocking Chair”
Joe Troop of Che Apalache brings an international flair to the fiddle, balancing his North Carolina upbringing with a South American history lesson. How does he bridge the gap? Find out in our BGS interview from 2018.
Watchhouse, “Hey Adam”
On their very first trip to Los Angeles in 2014, Watchhouse (then Mandolin Orange) shared a special performance of “Hey Adam.” The poignant narrative of the song, written by Andrew Marlin, is beautifully underscored by the elegant harmony and gentle fiddle of Emily Frantz. In 2019, we caught up with the duo for this BGS Cover Story.
Punch Brothers, “My Oh My / Boll Weevil”
You can count on Punch Brothers to consistently deliver something cool, even if you can never predict what they’re going to do next. Back in 2015, BGS filmed the guys outside of the Fonda Theater in Hollywood, California. A few years later, in 2018, we interviewed all five members individually for our Artist of the Month series. During our visit, fiddle player Gabe Witcher shared his childhood memories of meeting a very young Chris Thile at Follows Camp Bluegrass Festival and even playing with Bill Monroe at Strawberry Bluegrass Festival.
Sara and Sean Watkins, “You and Me”
The Bluegrass Situation emerged from the West Coast acoustic scene, so we have to give props here to California natives Sara Watkins and Sean Watkins. They’ve been friends of BGS from the beginning and we’re always delighted to follow along on their creative journeys. That includes the time we ushered them into a tiny gondola in Colorado, resulting in this wonderful 2014 live video of “You and Me.” We’re thrilled about the new Nickel Creek record coming in April, which follows Watkins Family Hour’s terrific collection (and conversation) last fall.