A Pretty Good Fiddler: Jerry Holland

In 1965, Jerry Holland’s father saw a fiddle for sale in the window of a local laundromat. Thinking that it looked like "a pretty good fiddle," Jerry Sr. bought it for fifty bucks as a present for his son. Years later, Jerry_holland_1 Jerry Holland discovered that the instrument was actually an extremely rare violin crafted by Leopold Widhalm, an Austrian luthier who worked in Germany in the 1700s. To this day, no one knows how such a rare violin wound up for sale in the window of a laundromat. "I still play that same fiddle today," Jerry says. "If I were to lose it, that would be the end of my playing. It does what no other fiddle has done for me, and coming from my dad, it’s something I want to leave to my son."

Jerry has released over a dozen recordings. He has also published two collections of fiddle tunes. Strongly rooted in the Cape Breton, Scottish, and Irish traditions, Jerry grew up with some of the last generation’s greatest Cape Breton Scottish fiddlers.

Because of the remoteness of Cape Breton, its fiddle music and dancing kept to the old Scottish style, a tradition that Jerry was raised to respect and support. And as an active performer and recording artist, many of Jerry’s turnes have entered the traditional repertoire around the world. 

Jerry_holland_2 Jerry Holland will be at the 2007 Festival of American Fiddle Tunes teaching, and jamming. He’ll perform in a mainstage concert at McCurdy on July 6. Click here to read an interview with Jerry; here to hear a sample of his music.

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