Monthly Archives: March 2016

Stop press! Multi-instrumental folk music retreat

Folk Music Retreat with Laurel Swift

April 8th – 10th 2016

Thurlby, Lincolnshire


Just a few places left on this amazingly good workshop with fiddler/composer/dancer Laurel Swift. Fabulous teaching, playing and walking (and food!) in an unspoilt Lincolnshire village – the kind of weekend where you play your socks off and go home feeling as though you’ve had a week’s holiday.


Don’t forget your walking shoes as well as your instrument/s!


Full details and booking on Laurel’s website


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Filed under English folk/modern, English folk/traditional

Great Uncle Henry


Fiddler Emma Reid’s composition Great Uncle Henry, played with Rob Harbron’s Waiting For Rain in a set of memorable tunes from the duo’s subtle, engaging album Flock & Fly.

But first…

Gig Alert!

Rob Harbron & Emma Reid play London’s Green Note

Monday 4 April

Details and booking here.


Rob Harbron (concertina), Emma Reid (viola)



You can hear and buy Flock & Fly on Bandcamp here, or by clicking on the player links above.

Rob Harbron:  website  Twitter

Emma Reid:  website


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Filed under English folk/modern, English folk/traditional, Nordic traditional, Uncategorized

John Stinson’s No.2


Originating in the Irish reel known as John Stenson’s No.2*, this lovely tune has made the transition to a new identity in America’s Old Time tradition, where it’s mostly played as a mountain dulcimer tune.

Here are two takes by fiddler Rachel Eddy and friends: video from a yard concert (played first, followed around 5:10 by a stonking rendition of Dance All Night with a Bottle in your Hand); and a rousing audio recording from Rachel’s Stockholm Old Time session.


Rachel Eddy (fiddle), Kristian Herner  (banjo),  Bill Fahy (guitar)


(‘John Stinsons Number Two – Rachel Eddy, Kristian Herner, and Bill Fahy’ YouTube video, 8.45. Posted by Bill Fahy, 8 Jul 2010.



Rachel Eddy (fiddle), and the players of the Happy Wednesday Oldtime Jam, Stockholm, Sweden




*The original tune was composed by accordion player John Stenson, of Co. Sligo, Ireland. There’s basic tune audio on The Session here,  along with information (scroll down) on its popularity from acclaimed Irish fiddler Kevin Burke’s album If The Cap Fits.


Rachel Eddy:  website  Facebook  YouTube

Kristian Herner:  website  Facebook

Bill Fahy:  website  blog  Facebook


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Filed under American old-time, American traditional, Uncategorized



Sometimes you meet a tune you know is just never going to let go. Acclaimed hurdy-gurdy player Nigel Eaton plays his tune ‘Lyvet’.

A wonderful tune to play against a drone string to catch those gurdy tones.


Nigel Eaton (hurdy-gurdy)

In G minor



In F minor  – on a hurdy-gurdy made by his father, master hurdy-gurdy maker Chris Eaton

(‘Lyvet’ YouTube video, 1:15. Posted by Nigel Eaton, 27 Feb 2013.


Nigel EatonSoundcloudYouTubewebsite

Chris Eaton,  hurdy-gurdy maker


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Old Time Billy in the Lowground


A great tune that deserves to be more widely known, this quirkily crooked melody was played in Franklin County, Kentucky, in the 19th century, and predates the better-known bluegrass tune that most people know as Billy In The Lowground*. The tag ‘Old Time’ was added to this version to avoid confusion with the later 20th century tune which had ‘borrowed’ the title. The origins of the title are widely debated online, with some relating it to William of Orange, others to Bonaparte or the Devil.


I’m posting two videos by the irrepressible Canote brothers Jere and Greg: a full-on concert performance at speed, followed by a slightly slower version where Greg’s amazing fingering is more visible. Then there’s an old recording of Franklin County, Kentucky fiddler Kelly Gilbert (1895-1991), who learnt the tune from his local mentor Lewis Goins. And to finish off, a slower teaching session audio from the Canotes’ Seattle string band class to help tunecatchers nail the tune.

Played in G, in standard fiddle tuning GDAE. Dots to this version are available on the great website Old Time Fiddle Tunes, and there’s a banjo tab here.

(*For the more common version of the tune, played Old Time style, see my very first Fiddletails post in May 2015 – Anna & Elizabeth’s great video here)


Greg Canote (fiddle), Jere Canote (guitar), Brendan Doyle (banjo)

The Canotes take the stage with banjo player Brendan Doyle at a Fiddle Tunes Showcase Concert in 2009.


(‘Fiddle Tunes 2009 The Canotes playing “Old Time Billy in the Low Ground”’ YouTube video, 2.29. Posted by Randi Leach, 6 Jul 2009.


Greg Canote (fiddle), Jere Canote (guitar)

Filmed during a teaching workshop at the American Banjo Camp 2009, Fort Flagler, Washington state.


(‘Greg & Jere Canote at the American Banjo Camp, 2009’ YouTube video 1.23. Posted by Peter Langston, 30 Sep 2009.


Kelly Gilbert (fiddle)

Recorded by John Harrod in June 1978.

Kelly Gilbert


(From the Appalachian Center Collection, Berea College Southern Appalachian Archives, John Harrod Collection.)

Hear the full Kelly Gilbert recordings here)


Greg (fiddle), Jere (guitar), Candy Goldman (banjo)

Slower teaching audio file of the Canotes and Candy Goldman playing, made for their Seattle stringband class.




For more tunes taught at the Canotes’ Seattle class, see Maya Whitmont’s astonishing archive of audio files and banjo tabs here

 Greg and Jere Canote: find out more about the Canote Brothers, including albums, gigs, and the Seattle stringband class, on their website

 For even more great tunes, see Peter Langston’s American Banjo Camp and other music videos on his YouTube channel

American Banjo Camp: 9-11 September 2016, near Seattle, Washington State. ‘87 classes, 23 scheduled jams, 2 concerts, 6 meals, 2 late-night snacks, and 2 optional sleep periods, all compressed into 50 hours!’ And it’s not just for banjos!


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Filed under American old-time, American traditional, Uncategorized


SUNDAY 6 MARCH 2016, 21:00 GMT

Live from The Convent, near Stroud, Gloucestershire.

Tune in live and watch in real time on Sunday night, or you can watch as many times as you like in the following week.
£7.50 to stream the entire gig into your living room in glorious HD.

Details and booking here.

Leveret are Andy Cutting, Rob Harbron and Sam Sweeney.

This gig is the last in their current tour launching their second album In The Round.


Check out their music on earlier Fiddletails posts Whitefriar’s Hornpipe, Jenny Pluck Pears, Purlongs and The Rising Sun

‘We’re very excited to be playing at this amazing venue and we hope that people will tune in all over the world. Please help us spread the word about it and get in touch to let us know you’re watching it’

Leveret are on  Facebook  and  Twitter (@LeveretBand)



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Filed under English folk/traditional, Uncategorized