One of the best things about living in a college town — one of the best things that I don’t take nearly enough advantage of, to the point where I put it on my life list — is all the cool free and cheap events that Carolina sponsors, throws, has, etc. Last night was the second of three symposiums on traditional southern instruments that the Southern Folklife Collection of UNC Libraries is putting on this year. (In the fall, there was one on the banjo that I missed; the third and final will be on the steel guitar, in March.) Four performers, all in fairly different styles, played short sets, and talked a little about their histories with the fiddle and with playing traditional music.
The Nashville Bluegrass Band, who headlined, play trad bluegrass; Matt Glaser, who teaches at Berklee College of Music, does a lot of interesting fusion between early jazz standards and trad fiddle; Emily Schaad is a classically trained violinist who’s studied trad music with most of the fiddle greats. The highlight for me, though, the downright twenty minutes I could have listened to this forever, was Byron Berline, who’s played with everyone who’s anyone, including Bill Monroe and the Dillards, and whose music you probably know: Berline is the fiddler on the Band’s ‘Acadian Driftwood’. So that was pretty magic for me, and he was amazing.
The symposium continues today at Wilson Library with talks and panels from 10am-2pm. Full set from last night is here. I can’t wait for the steel guitar concert!