About the blog
This blog is for anyone interested in old-time fiddle. The title, “Wait Till You Hear This One,” describes how I usually feel when I’m learning a new tune: I just want to play it with people and pass it on. (“Wait Till You Hear This One, Boy” is an actual tune, played here by Tony Gilmore, courtesy of Slippery Hill.) Most of the tunes are intermediate to advanced level, but I include some easy ones, too. For more advanced players, even if you’re not learning tunes from the blog, I hope you enjoy comparing my versions with yours. Please comment: the blog isn’t just for me to pontificate about the tunes. I learn a lot from people who post comments, too.
When I first started the blog, I had the idea it would be all about Uncle Bob Walters and midwestern tunes, since that’s what I was obsessed with. In fact, I talked about Bob Walters so much at the time that a friend of mine digitally grafted my head onto an old picture of him. I still love Uncle Bob, but I decided that focusing just on his playing was too narrow. I’m now using the blog as a place where I can share all kinds of tunes I’ve picked up over the years, as well as whatever I’m working on currently.
The common thread running through the posts is my interest in reconstructing old fiddle techniques and styles from source recordings. While I don’t have the encyclopedic mind for tune lineage and lore that some fiddlers do, I am passionate about finding great old versions and trying to be true to them, and I’ve gotten pretty good over the years at psyching out old fiddle recordings. There are quite a few old-time fiddle blogs and videos out there, but I haven’t found any that focus on this process of trying to figure out what’s going on in the originals. I love doing that, and so I include the sources and sometimes even have video of myself working with the source—because when I was learning fiddle, I would have loved that!
I’m Dave Mount, and I’ve played old-time fiddle for the last 20 years or so in Portland, Oregon. In the mid-nineties, before Portland became an old-time music hot spot, I was in the band Spud Mountain, with the late, much-missed Bill and Nancy Martin, as well as Judith Bows and Stefan Puchalski. After that, my wife Martha and I played with Bill in Uncle Wiggily, and that band still makes occasional appearances, though without Bill’s inimitable cello sawing.
Martha and I currently have a square dance trio, with Brent Martens on guitar, called Missouri Turnaround. Our tunes are mostly from Uncle Bob Walters, and our unusual instrumentation is inspired by Larry Edelman’s film about a rural PA square dance in the 1980s, “Dance to the Music and Listen to the Calls.” Like the band in the film, “The Mountain Express,” we have fiddle, piano, and western-swing-style electric guitar (they also had an electric bass player).
Thanks for reading. Hope you find something that inspires you. Please post comments and share the blog with your fiddler friends.
Here’s Missouri Turnaround playing Bob Walters’ “Thunderbolt Hornpipe” at the Every Sunday Square Dance in Portland, with Gabe Strand calling: