Need kick-ass fiddle recommendations

I need an album of really awesome country/Appalachian type fiddle music. Modern, jazzy, rocking, fast and intense… I need somebody who’s done for fiddle what Tartanic has done for bagpipes.

I know they exist. I’ve heard them on Prairie Home Companion. I neglected to write down their band names.

Must be available for digital download from Amazon.


I don’t know how modern he was…but have you ever heard of Papa John Creach?

He used to play with Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna, and others. The above link has him with Hot Tuna. He has a rockin fiddle jam called John's Other from Hot Tuna's "First Pull Up, Then Pull Down"

Benny Martin knows his stuff, and apparently “bluegrass fiddle” is the term for what I’m after, but he suuuuure isn’t updated. Any remixes? With the bass cranked up? Something like that?

Sounds good. Hard to search for downloadable music of his. Rats.

So I headed to the back room to ask my audiophile, vinyl-collecting husband if he has any Papa John Creach. Our three year old is climbing on him while he’s trying to nap, so his brain isn’t working well, but–

Today is national record store day or something, and he spent the morning cruising stores with his buddies and they were talking about Papa John Creach in the car. And my husband is confused and wants to know if that’s the front man for The Mamas And The Papas. Which I think means that he doesn’t have any Papa John Creach though he probably has some Jefferson Airplane on vinyl…

If you want some good bluegrass fiddle, you want to look up Vassar Clements. He’s performed/recorded with Earl Scruggs, David Bromberg, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and others.

Some kick-ass fiddling going on in, “I Scare Myself” from Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks:

Do you have Itunes? A quick search of the Itunes store for “hot tuna john’s other” returned 3 downloadable versions (probably the same version) of that song. If you and your Hubby have Airplane on vinyl, you probably have him somewhere there, too.

Nobody mention Mark O’Connor yet? Best fiddle player in the world. He also plays jazz, fusion whatever.

Who i came in to mention. Amazing fiddler and guitar player.

Thanks for the recs. I don’t have iTunes installed on my brand new computer… I’m kind of avoiding it.

We’re having Easter dinner tomorrow (hasenpfeffer… really) with the buddy who knows all about where to find Papa John Creach.

In the meantime, I’m having fun watching flatfooting videos on YouTube.

If you heard it on PHC, check out an Icelandic group called Frigg.

No, seriously …

I agree with all of those recommendations. If you like Old Time Appalachian, current would be Erynn Marshall and Rayna Gellart. Old school would be Tommy Jarrell and Melvin Wine.

Another vote for Mark O’Connor. Thirty Year Retrospective is a fine introduction but just about anything he’s involved with is worth hearing.

For his bluegrass-influenced stuff try Appalachia Waltz. For Reinhardt/Grappelli style swing jazz listen to his Hot Swing Trio recordings. For classical influence try Midnight On The Water.

You might want to give Jay Ungar a listen also.

I’m rather fond of “Country Fiddle Band” conducted by Gunther Schuller. It might be too “classical” for your tastes. Out of print vinyl LP, but available on Ebay for decent prices.

Stuart Duncan is a fine fiddle player. His solo release is on itunes, and so is The Goat Rodeo Sessions with Duncan, Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile.

Edit: I see you don’t have itunes. You can find videos of Duncan here.