Monthly Archives: January 2016

Fine Times At Our House

dance in london brit mus

Another favourite tune title! This great crooked West Virginia tune dances satisfyingly across the fiddle’s range. It’s fairly straightforward to catch by ear, but the double stopping’s a whole other ball game, so I’m posting several versions to help people find their best way in.

In order of appearance:

A string band playing the tune at speed

Two wonderful solo fiddle videos that show that pesky double-stopping fingering more clearly.

A slightly slower fiddle/banjo rendering that may help mastering the basic tune

And a bonus track – a haunting experimental recording that sent chills up my spine.


Key of A (mixolydian), with the fiddles cross-tuned ADAE (for more on cross-tuning, see blog post Newt Payne’s Tune)


As always, although this blog is fiddle-focused, the tune is intended for any instrument – I’d so love to hear it on border pipes or hurdy-gurdy!

Let’s begin with a great string-band performance setting out the tune for us.


Stephanie Coleman (fiddle), Adam Hurt (banjo), Beth Williams Hartness (guitar), Kellie Allen (double bass)

A rocking line-up filmed at a house concert.


(‘Fine Times At Our House – Stephenie Coleman, Adam Hurt, Beth Hartness, and Kellie Allen’ YouTube video, 3.30. Posted by Kabel Channel, 13 Sep 2011.


Scotty Leach (fiddle)

Filmed at a Seattle house concert on 31 May 2014, West Virginia fiddler Scotty leads with an introduction to the tune’s background.


(‘Fine Times At Our House’ YouTube video, 2.48. Posted by Doug Plummer, 4 Jun 2014.


Katie Davis Henderson (fiddle)

A very clear video from Katie’s wonderful New Tune A Day video archive.


(‘Fine Times At Our House (Old Time) NTAD’ YouTube video, 1.40. Posted by Katie Davis Henderson, 17 Dec 2011.


Stephanie Coleman (fiddle), Adam Hurt (banjo)

A slightly slower-paced rendering from these iconic players – and great for clawhammer banjo players, too.


(‘Stephanie Coleman and Adam Hurt play “Fine Times At Our House”’ YouTube video, 2.51. Posted by clawhammerist, 23 Nov 2010.


And finally…

Scotty Leach fiddles Fine Times At Our House – ‘recorded through the mic on a pair of Apple Earbuds,’ he tells me.

Cold Mountain meets The Revenant. Enjoy!



For further information:


Adam Hurt: website   Facebook  YouTube channel 

Beth Hartness: Facebook

Katie Henderson: Blog (where you can also buy her e-book of NTAD tunes)  YouTube channel

Kellie Allen: singer, bassist, guitarist with the Old Time Shifters

Scotty Leach: Facebook  Email:  wefiddleboy14 [at] gmail [dot] com

Stephanie Coleman: Website   Twitter



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Filed under American old-time, Uncategorized




Emily Askew, John Dipper, Nicola Lyons (fiddles), Adrian Lever (guitar)

almafiddlesTONIGHT, Thursday 14 January, at Islington Folk Club 







Dipper Malkin (John Dipper/viola d’amore, Dave Malkin/guitar), with dancers Hat Vail and Helen Penn

Saturday 16 January, Cecil Sharp House, 7.30-9.00 pm

Free event: details and booking 


Preview of work from their Creative Artist Residency – based on manuscripts from the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library – that explores ‘the unique relationship between music and morris dance, specifically the gravity defying ‘slows’ that allow dancers to showcase their expertise.’




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Filed under English folk/traditional

Halsway Schottische


‘Sing for the coming of the longest night’

This beautiful tune, composed by Nigel Eaton in 2011, is so well loved it has its own website – a project to record as many different renderings as possible. Anyone may upload their version; to date, there are 172 recordings on the site.



Nigel Eaton (hurdy-gurdy)

Played here in D – a great key for fiddling Halsway. I play it tuned ADAE and double-stopped, to catch something of the hurdy-gurdy’s drones. (Nigel plays it in G here)


(‘Halsway Schottische (Halsway Carol has words of course)’ YouTube video, 1:39. Posted by Nigel Eaton, 26 Feb 2012.



Halsway Carol

Nigel Eaton (hurdy-gurdy), with Julie Murphy (vocals) and the SE19

As a midwinter carol (in F), with lyrics by Iain Frisk.




Nigel Eaton: Soundcloud, YouTube, website

Iain Frisk: Soundcloud, website

Julie Murphy: tumblr, bandcamp


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Filed under English folk/modern, Uncategorized

Stop Press! Multi-instrumental folk courses about to start


Folk Music Retreat with Laurel Swift


Laurel’s retreats always need a pair of walking shoes as well as your instrument/s, but this one needs a torch as well! Fabulous teaching and playing in wonderful locations – can’t recommend too highly.



15-17 January

Tanner’s Hatch, Surrey

Full details and booking on Laurel Swift website



Old Time Music Course with Ed Hicks

A rare opportunity to focus on this delightful music in depth. (Warning: you may just lose your musical heart!)


Wednesdays 7.00pm-8:30pm

13 January to 17 February

14 Bacon St, London E1 6LF

Full details and booking: Trad Academy website





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Filed under American old-time, English folk/traditional