I am a Fiddler, Guitarist, Singer and Songwriter. I live in Valley Bend, WV. I play with the Sweetback Sisters and when I’m not on the road I repair fiddles at Smakula Fretted Instruments near Elkins.
My new album (Bucking Mule) was recorded at Joe “Bass” DeJarnette’s attic studio in Eggleston, VA along the New River and it’s famous train. We recorded two songs about that railroad: Bill Richardson’s Last Ride and John Henry. There are 13 songs in all, and two fiddle tunes. They come from people like Hazel Dickens, Lefty Frizzell, John Cephas, Merle Haggard and Flatt & Scruggs.
Like most musicians I hate to categorize my music, but we all have to say something about it. I’m happy to call it Old Time or Bluegrass, but purists in either of those genres would take issue. There’s also some Blues in the mix, and Swing, though not enough for naming rights. The safest course might be to call it country. But the vagueness of that term is a liability as much as an asset, and listeners to 104.9 “Hot Country Hits” would not recognize this as their preferred genre. In conclusion, call it whatever you want, just don’t call it Folk. (Unless you’re offering me a gig, in which case… sure!)
I was proud to have some great musicians join me on the recording. Chance McCoy played the fiddle on most of it, and we put an electric guitar in his hands for the two fiddle tunes (when I played the fiddle.) Matt Metz from the Foxhunt played mandolin and electric guitar on one number. Emily Miller sang harmony throughout and took the lead on one song, and Joebass, in addition to engineering the session, played upright bass.
About that electric guitar: I was on tour with the Sweetback Sisters in Colorado just before the recording session. We played a couple shows in the Northeast and then on our way to Virginia Emmy and I stopped at Retrofret in Brooklyn to pick up Joebass’s guitar. It probably never would have occurred to us otherwise, but I’m glad it did.
That truck in the picture is my first car. Sheila Rice gave it to me for free on the condition that I get it out of her yard. I drove it all over the mountain state and even took it to NYC and New England a couple times. When I moved to Nashville in 2008 I hauled it to the scrapyard. Now I wish I had it back.