top of page

Chapter 1~ "There was abuse in my family...mostly of a music nature..." from the film, A Mighty Wind

National Old-Time Fiddle Contest, Weiser Idaho circa 1979

...not really, my dad was actually a saint (my opinion), but I loved the Cohen Brothers film, A Mighty Wind, and thought that line from it was a hilarious way to start any story about kids whose parents decide they're going to have them play music.  If you haven't seen the movie, check it out.

At a very oung age my father seemed to believe that I asked him for a fiddle.  I vehemently deny this and always maintained that I wanted a guitar and to learn how to sing.  I have no memory of ever asking for a fiddle.  Alas, my dad had a different perception and at the age of 7, he insisted on taking me to downtown Portland to buy a violin.  I went through a series of teachers and found the entire experience quite unpleasant.  It was hard work and it didn't seem like it sounded good at all, and most of my teachers played  regular gigs, they didn't want to give up their weekends, so my lessons were often on weeknights leaving me tired for school the next day.  In addition, I resented the fact that I had to cut my fingernails short.  Around this time, my dad hosted two programs on KBOO radio in Portland.  One he called "The Joy of Fiddling," the other, "The Cajun Hour."  He always budgeted to go to a store in downtown Portland called, The Crystal Ship, where he'd buy vinyl records every week or so.  Our house was full of music all the time.  My dad was a built in alarm clock.  He'd blast Balfa Brothers every morning on the stereo to wake me up for school.  There was never silence from what I recall.  Eventually I became more interested in music just from listening to it.  Any Old-Time String Band, The Red Clay Ramblers, Odetta, Buffy Saint Marie, The Weavers, Woody Guthrie, Vassar Clements, Stéphane Grappelli...eventually I was converted from wanting to listen to pop music on the radio and these sounds made me wish I could play the fiddle better.  But who was going to show me how...(Chapter 2 under construction...)

bottom of page