John Specker’s Bow

John Specker The post-Highwoods String Band era in upstate New York spawned many young, excited, and passionate old time musicians who formed bands such as the Henrie Brothers, the Swamp Root String Band, and later the Horseflies and Donna the Buffalo.

One outfit that left a serious mark was the Correctone String Band, led by the primal fiddler John Specker. Although Specker has lived in Vermont for decades, his influence can still be heard and felt in this region. His contributions to old time fiddling – blood red bow-driven backbeat, and playing chordally and in tune on three strings simultaneously – reverberate today in the music of many upstate players today.

The tunes he plays are simple and generally not rare, but he strips them down, chews them up, internalizes their essence, and then presents them “with an intensity that has to be seen to be believed.” You’ll never hear “Little Rabbit” in the same way after hearing John sing and play it. He comes from a state of complete abandon, which helps to create his highly individualized style.

So, we’re wicked happy that John has accepted an invitation to Fiddle Tunes this summer. It’s not something that he generally does – it’ll be his first time on a plane – and the richness of his music and his spirit will surely elevate the gathering.

You can listen to him with his daughters on his Myspace page, although recordings of John pale in comparison to hearing him in person.

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