Alice Gerrard continues to be an inspiration to me, for her intense and melismatic singing, her down-home fiddle and banjo playing, and her deep knowledge of old-time music. For over 50 years she has immersed herself in southern music, making ground-breaking recordings with Hazel Dickens, then working with Mike Seeger, with the Strange Creek Singers, and more recently with Tom (Sauber) and Brad (Leftwich.) Along the way she founded the Old Time Herald, which she also edited for many years.
Alice has a repertoire of unusual old-time tunes learned from various older musicians that she used to visit when she lived near Galax, Virginia. I love to hear her tell about the people she learned from, like Luther Davis and Rosco Parish – in her hands their tunes become talismans of another place and time: the Blue Ridge of a century ago.
I’m pleased to welcome Rick Good to Fiddle Tunes for the very first time! His solid, kick-butt playing on a big resonator banjo – both two-finger and clawhammer style – his good-natured, relaxed approach to singing, his goofy smile, and his height are the things I remember most vividly about him. Rick has been part of the old-time music landscape for about 40 years now, first as part of the legendary Ohio old-time band the Hotmud Family, for the past several decades as a co-director (with his wife Sharon Leahy) of Rhythm In Shoes, a music and dance troupe featuring American traditions, and most recently as a member of the Red Clay Ramblers. Rhythm In Shoes has wound down after 23 years, so Rick and Sharon are finally able to come to Fiddle Tunes!
Rick will be teaching and accompanying Alice Gerrard, and Sharon will be teaching clogging – she was a member of the Green Grass Cloggers before forming Rhythm In Shoes. Check out this Youtube video of Rick from Cllifftop — the sound gets better as you get into it – Rick plays a gorgeous solo two-finger style piece that to me sounds like a mountain stream bubbling its way through a rocky bed, followed by a great rendition of “Don’t Get Weary Children” with frailed banjo and singing.