Grigsby’s Hornpipe


To celebrate Christmas and the slow tip of the Earth from dark to light, here’s a lilting hornpipe that will fill you with a warm glow and dance you through these last days of the Old Year.


But this is a hornpipe with a difference – a Texas fiddle tune, known from the playing of Alexander ‘Eck’ Robertson, of Amarillo, Texas (1886-1973).


First up, Haas, Walsh and Marshall introduce the hornpipe with haunting Indian/world music overtones before whirling into their lyrical arrangement.

Second, icon of American fiddling Bruce Molsky plays a ringing, fast-but-clear rendering that will help musicians catch tune and chords.

You can hear Eck Robertson’s original 1929 recording on Larry Warren’s Slippery Hill here.



Grigsby’s Hornpipe is generally played with the fiddle tuned AEAC# – known as Calico tuning. Bruce and Brittany are both playing in Calico.

For more information on cross-tuning, see notes under Newt Payne’s Tune, or see Wikipedia’s excellent page here.

For more cross-tuned fiddling here on Fiddletails, search ‘cross-tuning’ in the Search Box.


Haas, Walsh and Marshall

Brittany Haas (5-string fiddle), Joe Walsh (mandolin), Owen Marshall (guitar and harmonium)

Filmed at a pre-Christmas house concert in Rhinebeck, NY, December 2013.

(‘Brittany Haas, Joe Walsh, Owen Marshal “Grigsby’s Hornpipe”’, YouTube video 5:31. Published by Owen Marshall on 29 April 2014.


Bruce Molsky (fiddle)

Bruce plays the hornpipe first in a set with Pickin the Devil’s Eye. Filmed during a live recording at the Magnolia Avenue Studios of KDHX, St. Louis, Missouri, March 2011.

(‘Bruce Molsky “Grigsby’s Hornpipe/Pickin’ the Devil’s Eye” Live at KDHX 3/26/11 (HD)’, YouTube video 4:07. Uploaded by KDHX on 19 Jul 2011.


For all the information you could ever want, including CDs, videos/recordings, news, gigs, tickets, and social media links, see:

Brittany Haas:  website

Owen Marshall:  website

Joe Walsh:  website

The trio’s EP is available on Bandcamp, here.

Bruce Molsky:  website Sign up here for music and news from Bruce’s fab ‘from the road’ newsletter, including tunes from his great band Molsky’s Mountain Drifters.


Wishing tunecatchers everywhere a very Merry Christmas, and a year to come that’s full of light and hope and joy for all. And music, of course!



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