You Can be a FiddleStar

I post things about fiddling. And how we can all be better at it.

We’re getting an early start on #fiddlinarthursmith Tuesdays this morning. I started considering the fact that I’m always competing for views with #tongueouttuesday and I decided it was in my best interests to get a jump on things. It was either that or start trying to combine the two and that didn’t really appeal to me. Today, at FAST (I just now realized that the acronym for Fiddlin’ Arthur Smith Tuesdays is FAST, and the fact that I haven’t been using that the whole time I’ve been doing these has me shook.) we bring you the song that brought Arthur the most mailbox money, I’m assuming. Here’s Beautiful Brown Eyes, done as a simple but timeless fiddle tune. But you don’t have to take my word for it (that’s a pun about how I played it as an instrumental but it actually has words) - go check out the Rosemary Clooney version for a classic take or if you’re looking for a more soulful treatment, head on over to the Solomon Burke version. Not the Burl Ives version. That’s less soulful, bless him. It’s a short tune, so the whole version almost fits here, but if you really need to hear my restrained, arpeggiated ending, go to FaceBook or YouTube. #fiddle #fiddlestar #fiddlelesson #beautifulbrowneyes #ihaveblueeyestho (at Fiddlestar)
https://www.instagram.com/p/B1Y-pAqB3f1/?igshid=8fdst3a7e81x

Posted 2 days ago
<p>So you like jamming? Or you think you might like jamming but you don’t really know for sure or maybe you know you would like it but you think you might be horrible at it? And also you mostly just like old time music and not so much the bluegrass. And you play either banjo or fiddle, or a little of both. Well then, if this is you, boy do we have a camp for you! Registration for Nashville Fiddle and Banjo Camp opens on September 1st at 9am Central (August 25th for previous campers) and this one always sells out fast. For the 2020 camp we brought back the 2019 instructors, Adam Hurt, Rachel Eddy, Tyler Andal, and me 😊 (including special helper Emily with the flatfooting magic!) because they were just aces and we decided we hadn’t had enough of them yet. You can come as a pair - we get parents and children and spouses and friends and all manner of pairs - or you can come solo and we’ll connect you with someone to jam with. We focus on old time tunes you know and a few you don’t yet know but will soon love. This camp is in January and it’s a perfect way to shuffle off those winter blues. <a href="http://www.nashvillefiddlebanjocamp.com">www.nashvillefiddlebanjocamp.com</a> #fiddle #banjo #clawhammer #oldtime #nashville #musiccamp #fiddlecamp #banjocamp (at Fiddlestar)<br/>
<a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B1W-qfABMc0/?igshid=npvf5yg8t33g">https://www.instagram.com/p/B1W-qfABMc0/?igshid=npvf5yg8t33g</a></p>

So you like jamming? Or you think you might like jamming but you don’t really know for sure or maybe you know you would like it but you think you might be horrible at it? And also you mostly just like old time music and not so much the bluegrass. And you play either banjo or fiddle, or a little of both. Well then, if this is you, boy do we have a camp for you! Registration for Nashville Fiddle and Banjo Camp opens on September 1st at 9am Central (August 25th for previous campers) and this one always sells out fast. For the 2020 camp we brought back the 2019 instructors, Adam Hurt, Rachel Eddy, Tyler Andal, and me 😊 (including special helper Emily with the flatfooting magic!) because they were just aces and we decided we hadn’t had enough of them yet. You can come as a pair - we get parents and children and spouses and friends and all manner of pairs - or you can come solo and we’ll connect you with someone to jam with. We focus on old time tunes you know and a few you don’t yet know but will soon love. This camp is in January and it’s a perfect way to shuffle off those winter blues. www.nashvillefiddlebanjocamp.com #fiddle #banjo #clawhammer #oldtime #nashville #musiccamp #fiddlecamp #banjocamp (at Fiddlestar)
https://www.instagram.com/p/B1W-qfABMc0/?igshid=npvf5yg8t33g

Posted 3 days ago

Oh boy oh boy do I have some good news for you! It’s a whole new ballgame here at #fiddlinarthursmith Tuesdays. I am ashamed to admit I wasn’t very aware of Arthur’s incredible catalog of singing songs (It’s ridiculous that I knew he wrote Red Apple Rag but didn’t know he wrote Beautiful Brown Eyes. See? Shameful.) but I found the listing of songs from the Arthur Smith’s Original Folk Songs Folio and now you all better look out. Crazy Blues, this one I’m playing here, has words but on the record, Arthur doesn’t even start singing until he goes through three full rounds of the tune form and as you can see, it certainly stands alone as a great uptempo blues. Side note: I was recently contacted by someone who actually knew Arthur rather well and heard him play all of these tunes in real life and he was really complimentary about my little video series here and I can’t even tell you what that means to me. He lamented, and for good reason, that Arthur Smith maybe hasn’t been as celebrated over the years as he should have been, but that he felt I was doing something to change that. And if that’s true, even in the smallest way, then I’m just chuffed beyond measure. Full Crazy Blues on the Facebook and my YouTube channel. Go get crazy. #fiddle #fiddlestar #fiddlelesson #crazyblues #songshavewords (at Fiddlestar)
https://www.instagram.com/p/B1ILLsKB6zi/?igshid=r55nhxbt1a6e

Posted 1 week ago
<p>Happy #internationalcatday from our four hooligans. You may remember, Buster is the OG - we actually chose to bring him here on purpose. The Creamsicle Kids just sort of appeared over time. Side effect of living toward the end of a country road. But we love them all just the same. As you can tell from the two separate bowls, they don’t love each other all the same. But world peace doesn’t happen overnight. #buster #gretsch #gretchen #leohickman #orangeandwhitecats #blackandwhitecat  (at Fiddlestar)<br/>
<a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B05-oIcBbHb/?igshid=pzj6s5sbl8l7">https://www.instagram.com/p/B05-oIcBbHb/?igshid=pzj6s5sbl8l7</a></p>

Happy #internationalcatday from our four hooligans. You may remember, Buster is the OG - we actually chose to bring him here on purpose. The Creamsicle Kids just sort of appeared over time. Side effect of living toward the end of a country road. But we love them all just the same. As you can tell from the two separate bowls, they don’t love each other all the same. But world peace doesn’t happen overnight. #buster #gretsch #gretchen #leohickman #orangeandwhitecats #blackandwhitecat (at Fiddlestar)
https://www.instagram.com/p/B05-oIcBbHb/?igshid=pzj6s5sbl8l7

Posted 2 weeks ago
<p>Happy New Car Day to me! Many of you knew and loved the Vibe (or at least tolerated riding in it and trying to remember to lock your own doors) but it was time to upgrade. I saved up for three whole years and was able to pay cash (Adam and I don’t do debt, which has served us well in this unpredictable musician’s life but no shame if you roll a different way) for this very fancy 2016 Volvo S60. I don’t know how to do anything the car is capable of doing but it’s solid and pretty and Swedish so I’m feeling pretty good about it, overall. Swipe to the end to see the car dealership’s mascot, Bear. I loved him so much and probably paid twice the market value for the car because I was so enamored. Worth it. #newtomecar #imavolvodriver #yesiknowablackcarintennesseeisabadidea  (at Fiddlestar)<br/>
<a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B04VKHMhd3d/?igshid=51tc5f4bevjc">https://www.instagram.com/p/B04VKHMhd3d/?igshid=51tc5f4bevjc</a></p>

Happy New Car Day to me! Many of you knew and loved the Vibe (or at least tolerated riding in it and trying to remember to lock your own doors) but it was time to upgrade. I saved up for three whole years and was able to pay cash (Adam and I don’t do debt, which has served us well in this unpredictable musician’s life but no shame if you roll a different way) for this very fancy 2016 Volvo S60. I don’t know how to do anything the car is capable of doing but it’s solid and pretty and Swedish so I’m feeling pretty good about it, overall. Swipe to the end to see the car dealership’s mascot, Bear. I loved him so much and probably paid twice the market value for the car because I was so enamored. Worth it. #newtomecar #imavolvodriver #yesiknowablackcarintennesseeisabadidea (at Fiddlestar)
https://www.instagram.com/p/B04VKHMhd3d/?igshid=51tc5f4bevjc

Posted 2 weeks ago
<p>Going on a long and fraught journey. I will send reports. So, here’s the scoop… I have loved my Helicore heavies with a Kaplan non-whistling E (Yes, the fact that people actually call this the “Megan set” is pretty much the pinnacle of my professional career.) about as long as you all have known me. And I am an official D’Addario endorser, which I guess makes this even more awkward. But the consistency is, well, inconsistent. Many of my students have had a string break right out of the package (and some have had that happen more than once) and I can’t feel good about supporting and recommending a product that doesn’t serve the people I am committed to serve. I’m not announcing a breakup just yet, just keeping you all posted on my thoughts and letting you know that I’ve heard you and that your concerns are my concerns. In early results, my hand is already tired from turning the fine tuners but they sound pretty good. More to come… #fiddle #fiddlestar #whatkindofstringsdoyouuse  (at Fiddlestar)<br/>
<a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B0zcG1uhZI9/?igshid=z19sun4f878m">https://www.instagram.com/p/B0zcG1uhZI9/?igshid=z19sun4f878m</a></p>

Going on a long and fraught journey. I will send reports. So, here’s the scoop… I have loved my Helicore heavies with a Kaplan non-whistling E (Yes, the fact that people actually call this the “Megan set” is pretty much the pinnacle of my professional career.) about as long as you all have known me. And I am an official D’Addario endorser, which I guess makes this even more awkward. But the consistency is, well, inconsistent. Many of my students have had a string break right out of the package (and some have had that happen more than once) and I can’t feel good about supporting and recommending a product that doesn’t serve the people I am committed to serve. I’m not announcing a breakup just yet, just keeping you all posted on my thoughts and letting you know that I’ve heard you and that your concerns are my concerns. In early results, my hand is already tired from turning the fine tuners but they sound pretty good. More to come… #fiddle #fiddlestar #whatkindofstringsdoyouuse (at Fiddlestar)
https://www.instagram.com/p/B0zcG1uhZI9/?igshid=z19sun4f878m

Posted 2 weeks ago
<p>One of the big reasons for this #motherdaughterroadtrip was to spend some time at the nation’s oldest ballpark - Fenway Park. We took a tour of the park and then saw a game later that evening. You all know I’m not the athletic type, personally, but dammit, I love baseball. I grew up going to games and learning to keep score and listening to my Papa tell stories about all the players he loved and the games he saw. You all also know that @dancing_mur is a true @sfgiants fanatic and general lover of baseball. I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to share this passion with her and experience all these wonderful baseball parks together. Also, before you ask, yes, it was hot. These past few days I’ve been the hottest I’ve been in decades. That’s why my face looks like that. #redsox #yawkeyway #greenmonster  (at Fenway Park)<br/>
<a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B0lWD81B6Jz/?igshid=1khb30no2cp4e">https://www.instagram.com/p/B0lWD81B6Jz/?igshid=1khb30no2cp4e</a></p>

One of the big reasons for this #motherdaughterroadtrip was to spend some time at the nation’s oldest ballpark - Fenway Park. We took a tour of the park and then saw a game later that evening. You all know I’m not the athletic type, personally, but dammit, I love baseball. I grew up going to games and learning to keep score and listening to my Papa tell stories about all the players he loved and the games he saw. You all also know that @dancing_mur is a true @sfgiants fanatic and general lover of baseball. I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to share this passion with her and experience all these wonderful baseball parks together. Also, before you ask, yes, it was hot. These past few days I’ve been the hottest I’ve been in decades. That’s why my face looks like that. #redsox #yawkeyway #greenmonster (at Fenway Park)
https://www.instagram.com/p/B0lWD81B6Jz/?igshid=1khb30no2cp4e

Posted 3 weeks ago

Ah, the ol’ Paris Waltz, folks! I’ve already been playing today’s #fiddlinarthursmith Tuesday tune for years. But for most of those years, I’ve been driving Leo Hickman (the fiddler not the cat) crazy with my version. “So contemporary! What is that F natural doing there?” Today is a very special episode of our series in which I go back and relearn the tune in question much closer to the way Arthur Smith did it originally and the world gets back on its axis. By the way and not for nothin’, some of his other waltzes ramble a bit but this one makes perfect sense and works either slow and expressive or a little faster with an emphasis on danceability. Get out your fiddle and follow along, my friends. Get the whole version on the YouTubes and the Facebooks. #fiddle #fiddlestar #fiddlelesson #pariswaltzbutiminboston (at Paris, Tennessee)
https://www.instagram.com/p/B0jdA_hhroh/?igshid=1tj3nkzl9dgh9

Posted 3 weeks ago

If @fluevog knew what was good for them, they’d just hire @dancing_mur to travel all over the world and dance people over some excellent shoe recommendations. Anyone can just walk with a shoe. What she does is pure magic. #dancingmur #motherdaughterroadtrip #canigetthisforyouinanine (at John Fluevog Shoes)
https://www.instagram.com/p/B0hsBjXhOub/?igshid=orlj9yweirid

Posted 3 weeks ago
<p>We went to @harvardartmuseums to find a Rothko and we looked and looked and we didn’t see one so we almost left and then @dancing_mur said we can’t leave without making extra sure there really isn’t one so she asked a lady at the desk and that lady showed us exactly where there was one and wouldn’t you know it we had walked right by it and I said, “Well, no wonder, this looks really transitional so I didn’t recognize it” and then I when I looked at the little placard thingie it said that Rothko viewed this as one of his most transitional pieces and I felt pretty good that I knew that and that’s the that on that. #rothko #transitional #motherdaughterroadtrip   (at Harvard Art Museums)<br/>
<a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B0hrDJeBpjn/?igshid=y7tpli7aa5xe">https://www.instagram.com/p/B0hrDJeBpjn/?igshid=y7tpli7aa5xe</a></p>

We went to @harvardartmuseums to find a Rothko and we looked and looked and we didn’t see one so we almost left and then @dancing_mur said we can’t leave without making extra sure there really isn’t one so she asked a lady at the desk and that lady showed us exactly where there was one and wouldn’t you know it we had walked right by it and I said, “Well, no wonder, this looks really transitional so I didn’t recognize it” and then I when I looked at the little placard thingie it said that Rothko viewed this as one of his most transitional pieces and I felt pretty good that I knew that and that’s the that on that. #rothko #transitional #motherdaughterroadtrip (at Harvard Art Museums)
https://www.instagram.com/p/B0hrDJeBpjn/?igshid=y7tpli7aa5xe

Posted 3 weeks ago

 1/25/13
I am excited to embark on a new chapter of my working life - I recently gave my notice to the Pam Tillis organization and will no longer be touring with her or Lorrie Morgan (on their awesome Grits and Glamour Tour). I must admit, I'm sad to be leaving. It's been an incredible four years and I have learned so much. Thanks to Pam, her amazing husband/manager Matt Spicher, and my bandmates, especially the lovely and talented Mary Sue Englund, with whom I spent more time over the last few years than I did with my husband. And I wouldn't trade a minute of it...