Favorite Fiddle Albums

Recommended Listening for Fiddlers

This page includes links to MP3s of some of the best fiddle tunes — well, my favorites anyway!
You'll find several of my favorite fiddle albums ... and some fiddle tutorial DVDs.

I hope you enjoy listening and add some fiddle tunes to your fiddle playlists!

Old-time Fiddle  –  Texas-style Fiddle  –  Irish Fiddle
Bluegrass –  New Acoustic Music  –  Folk 

Please note, the page lists mostly 'current generation' artists, many of whom emulate and preserve the fiddling of early generations. Soon I'll create a new page of the great early recording artists like Tommy Jarrell, Martin Marcus, Michael Coleman, Bill Monroe, Flatt and Scruggs, Jimmy Martin ...

The following MP3 albums and individual MP3 tracks are available on Amazon. Just click on any album picture or 'favorite tune' link below. This will take you to an Amazon page where you can easily preview tracks, choose and buy directly with you existing Amazon account.

It's simplest if you click the album picture. This takes you to a single page where you can preview any of the tunes from the album—without changing pages you can buy individual tunes, or purchase the album. This 'album' page also includes a convenient 'Preview All' button that plays one track after the next, for hands free listening. Just sit back for eight or ten minutes and hear a 30 second preview of every track in sequence. That'll give you a true feel for the style and quality of the whole album as you go about your business.

Most Amazon MP3 albums only cost between $6.99 and $9.99. CDs cost significantly more, usually between $14 to $18. I haven't included many CD links but will add some soon.

 —  Be sure to support music artists by purchasing their recordings!  —

Also check out our list of most famous fiddle tunes.

If you have any trouble with downloads contact
Amazon's MP3 Download customer service at 888-802-3083


Artist(s) / Notes

Favorite fiddle tunes


Ruthie Dornfeld (Old-time)

Years ago after hearing track one (Old Belled Cow/ Drunken Billy Goat) I immediately ordered the album, without listening further. It didn't matter if I'd enjoy the remaining tracks, I just needed to hear that first tune again ... and so I stumbled upon a truly favorite album.

Ruthie //Dornfeld and Joel Bernstein reach fabulous heights, at times merging the timbres of fiddle and harmonica into some sort of fierce new instrument we've never before heard. Keith Murphy's guitar accompaniment is light, powerful, in the pocket, often bearing a flowing Celtic slant.

Ruthie plays the prettiest version of Dry and Dusty. (Unfortunately, not on the Amazon preview, because that track is a medley, and we only hear the first song, Boatsman. She starts in with solo fiddle after Boatsman ... then Joel comes plinking in on banjo, and Keith serves up a soppin' Texas-style backup, appropriately filled with a delightful non-stop weave of bass runs.

Old Belled Cow/ Drunken Billy Goat

Ducks On the Millpond/ 28th of January

Lady Hamilton

The Boatsman/ Dry and Dusty

Ways of the World

Sail Away Ladies/ Blackberry Blossom

Note: The Amazon preview above only includes Sail Away Lades, so I've created a Blackberry Blossom preview, right were Joel kicks it off Blackberry Blossom, followed by Ruthie's fiddling.

— Preview/Buy Album: Ways of the World


John Hartford (Old-time)

Great album! Simple but stellar. Just fiddle and old-time banjo ... oh, plus John Hartford and Bob Carlin, two musicians who really know how to listen and respond. They play many of the tunes at a nice relaxed 'Missouri tempo' which leaves room for lots of tempered inventiveness.

I always knew that Hartford was a fiddler, but for years I thought of him more as a songwriter, entertainer and a 'medicine show' comedian. Little did I know he's a truly remarkable fiddler.

Few fiddler's play with as much dynamic expression ... and I can't think of another fiddler who uses a nearly classical sautillé stoke, which Hartford drifts in and out of regularly on this album. Though this type of stoke is practically foreign to the genre, it's just another way that Hartford plays with expression, and I don't mind it at all! He had a marvelous mind for detail and variation.

Hartford is also responsible for getting the recordings of Ed Haley available to the public.

Many thanks to Gillian Welch for her recording of Hartford's In Tall Buildings on A Tribute to John Hartford.

Greenback Dollar

Bull At the Wagon

Dry and Dusty


John Hartford (Old-time) — Hamilton Ironworks

Hartford fiddles some great tunes on Hamilton Ironworks, and is accompanied by a solid string band.

Fiddlers usually learn they're tunes by ear directly from another fiddler (... at least that's the way it was in the old days.) Out of deference to his friends and mentors Hartford pays homage on each track, citing his source in short a narrative (actually in an improvised 'song.') This often includes an anecdote or two, describing encounters with fiddlers, and how he became acquainted with the tune presently under his bow.

At times Hartford's rambling tributes begin to wear ("Yeah!") and there's nothing particularly artful or poetic about them. Sometimes I just want to hear the uninterrupted tune. But for better or worse, Hartford's words embed historical notes which can't get lost, unlike liner notes! Assuredly that was the prime intent.

There's a long list of fiddlers with sound and clarity superior to Hartford's. He squawks his tone a considerable amount of the time, and occasionally shrills a whistled edge. Nevertheless these are fine recordings, excellent renditions of the tunes, well anchored rhythmically, true in spirit, with an indelible honesty and warmth, and a unique finesse. Personally, I enjoy the great majority of Hartford's variations and liberties.

White River

Hi Dad in the Morning

Greenback Dollar


Bruce Molsky (Old-time)

Bruce Molsky just oughta be a national treasure. While imparting his own sensibilities to these tunes, his way with the fiddle channels deep into America's musical past.

Not many fiddlers can play and sing. When Molsky does he's a regular one man band, and clearly one of the best. You should hear him sing live. In concert Molsky's singing and fiddling on Cotton Eyed Joe sound just like the recording.

He's has a great DVD on singing and fiddling, below.

From various albums:

Brushy Run

Arkansas Traveler

8th of January


Cotton Eyed Joe

Bruce Molsky: Singing with the Fiddle — Accompanying Old Time Songs and Ballads (Old-time; Educational DVD)

This tutorial DVD has 1 1/2 hours of instruction and demonstration ... and Molsky is an excellent teacher. He leads you through accessible steps, such as singing harmony to scales, and he explains how to pick fiddle notes that sound great with a melody, and thus he encourages you to pave your own path and find ways of fiddling accompaniment to songs you want to sing.


Southern Old-Time Fiddle Tour (Old-time; Educational DVD)

Get this DVD if you're ready to explore alternate tunings on fiddle. Molsky teaches six tunes, each in a different tuning ... none in standard GDAE tuning! He breaks down the tunes, teaching attainable sections with attention to slurs and details of style. The DVD includes a booklet with accurate standard treble clef notation, but no slurs. Beautiful tunes, great playing, excellent guidance.

Very enjoyable even if you just want to watch.

  Bruce Molsky (Old-time CD and notation booklet)    

Dirk Powell (Old-time)

A master of fiddle, banjo and song. There's something so pure and honest in Dirk Powell's musicianship.

He's such a great singer too. Just listen to Waterbound!

Sally Ann

Texas Bells

Backstep Cindy


Dirk Powell & Tim O'Brien (Old-time)

Here's a nice collection of tunes and songs. That's Tim O'Brien singing on Cluck Old Hen.

Cluck Old Hen

Raleigh and Spencer favs


Tim O'Brien Red On Blonde

If you love the songs of Bob Dylan, or even if you don't, this album hansomely highlights Dylan as author not only of protest, but of spiritual songs and ballads of intimate love. Every rendition bears an entirely appropriate bluegrass or Appalacian tone.

When I play this album people recognize only one or two songs, and they're are astonished when told that this entirely beautiful album is strictly a collection Bob Dylan compositions. Many thanks to those like Tim O'Brien who make Dylan's music accessible to the less astute ear.

Tim O'Brien is one of the spearheads of modern bluegrass, old-time, and vintage country/swing. There are few musicians of his caliber: he's an soulful singer, a compelling songwriter, a fiddler, mandolinist, guitarist, as good as any. He's a vertern performer who sounds as good on stage as in recording, and his stage presence always warm and witty.

O'Brien has taken on another huge and utterly successful project with "Red on Blonde", framing and presenting Dylan in an entirely delightful manner.

Red on Blonde CD format

More Tim O'Brien albums and recordings

Father (of) Night

Lay Down Your Weary Tune

Man Gave Names To All The Animals

Subterranean Homesick Blues


Freight Hoppers (David Bass on fiddle) (Old-time)

OK, as you can see, I'm devoting less time to some of these reviews. Please don't equate lack of words with lack of enthusiasm. I really dig the Freight Hoppers, and if you get a chance to see David Bass, don't pass it up!

Suffice it to say David Bass and the Freight Hoppers light a fire under these tunes.

Backstep Cindy


Hell Broke Loose in Georgia


More Freight Hoppers! Oh boy! (Old-time)

Shortenin' Bread

Four Cent Cotton


Tony Furtado (Old-time, New Acoustic)

What can I say, Tony Furtado does amazing things with banjo. I've always been a big fan on his tunesmithing — and I heard plenty of that in our days as bandmates in Heartland. His melodies are unique, engaging and natural ... and he's got a true penchant for endowing great titles.

Unlike may solo albums, this one's got a real band sound, and Tony wisely highlights those who participate: Stewart Duncan (fiddle), Tim O'Brien (fiddle and vocal), Butch Baldasari (mandolin).

I'm so the album includes Lyle Lovette's "Me Up on My Boat." I might have never heard it otherwise. And Tim O'Brien's fine rendition of Man of Constant Sorrow was recorded years before O Brother Where Art Thou hit the silver screen.

The Hoedown Polka 

Man Of Constant Sorrow 

Jeff Sturgeon/Indian Squaw 


Preview/Buy Album: Full Circle  


Rhys Jones (Old-time) All I've Gots Done Gone

Excellent reditions of these tunes, all 'round. A really delightful album throughout. Instrumentation is fiddle, banjo and guitar.

------- --------- -------

Rhys Jones has another album call Starry Crown The tracks are mostly fiddle and banjo duets or two fiddles, with Christina Wheeler. Favoite cuts:

Jenny Run Away in the Mud in the Night

Hog-Eyed Man


Art Stamper (Old-time)

A bluegrass fiddler for years, and a stalwart member of Ralph Stanley's Clinch Mountain Boys, Art Stamper's old-time fiddling has some delightful traces and traits of bluegrass style and finesse.

Art's father Hiram Stamper was an old-time fiddler, but not near the level of talent of his son.

Jenny Lynn

John Riley The Shepherd


Goodbye Girls I'm Going to Boston

The Rusty Gun



Skip Gorman (Old-time / Cowboy) A Greener Prairie

It's nice when you instantly enjoy an album and never stop liking it. This something appropriately simple, sincere, and satisfying about Skip gorman's treatment of cowboy songs and ballads. He's got the perfect voice. Though Gorman's a fine fiddler too, there are only a couple of fiddle instrumentals on this album, but they are quite nice, and there's plenty of fiddling on the song.

I guess Buffalo Hump, Old Paint and Blue Mountainare my favorite pieces on his album. Here we have fiddle in a cowboy context, celebrating songs of the Prairie.

Buffalo Hump

Blue Mountain

Old Paint

Daily Welters Waltz/The Clayhole Waltz

Orvetta/Old Madera Waltzes




Adam Hurt - Banjo (Old-time)

OK, I should start a 'favorite banjo tunes' page too, but in the meantime ... here's a delightful album from a young artist.

Great tone and detail here ... and the subtleties are easily heard because the album features small ensemble playing: just guitar and banjo, just banjo and fiddle, or fiddle banjo and guitar ... plus some solo banjo.

And Hurt plays a few tunes at delightfully 'slower than normal' tempos, like Old Dangerfield. Beautiful guitar backup.

Have a listen!


Camp Chase

Rebel Raid / Temperance Reel

Bonnie Prince Charlie

Cumberland Gap / Johnny, Don't Get Drunk


  Any Old-time String Band Falls Of Richmond / Camp Chase  

Texas-style Fiddle


Mark O'Connor (Texas-style)

Fiddle fame came early to Mark O'Connor in the fiddle contest circuit, and he matured rapidly into one of the most brilliant fiddlers and improvisationalists on the planet.

In his contest years O'Connor won national fiddle contest championships over and over again. At the Grand Master Fiddle Contest in Idaho Gary Lee Moore once said, "Let's just give Mark the trophy send him home and have a real contest!" A few years earlier Mark won the Grand National title at age 16.

O'Connor is a master of Texas-style, gypsy swing and jazz violin, and a remarkable studio musician. Over the years he's appeared on countless studio recordings, and the result is notable. Often O'Connor's twenty second solo — probably an off the cuff improvisation — is the most riveting portion of the entire album!

I've been consistently thrilled by O'Connor's live performances, in bluegrass, new acoustic music, and gypsy swing, so it's odd that I usually find but two or three cuts of significant appear per album. O'Connor is an eleven-star fiddler ...but I can only rate his albums with four out of ten stars. Nevertheless, there are a few GREAT tracks on many of his albums. Definitely check out the recommended tracks. THEY'RE INCREDIBLE!

Peaches 'n' Cream

Wild Fiddler's Rag

Tennessee Wagoner

Don't Let The Deal Go Down (from Thirty-Year Retrospective - Live)

I do HIGHLY recommend Mark O'Connor's "A Texas Jam" album — unfortunately it's out of print. Let's hope it comes back some day!

If I've got my facts straight this album is a home recording made at a celebratory jam session after Mark won the Grand National Fiddle contest in Weiser Idaho in 1977, at age 16. There's a ton of good romping, tune brawling and string strutting from Mark and his Texas-style comrades: Benny Thomasson, Texas Shorty (Jim Chancellor), Terry Morris ... plus a regular does of caterwauling and mid-tune teasing from those present.

A cut from "A Texas Jam" made it onto O'Connor's Heroes album. The whole album is like this. Incredible playing by all:

Sally Johnson (as played on A Texas Jam,
now only found on O'Connor's Heroes album)

Pupville (Mark O'Connor with David Grisman)


From his 30 Year Retrospective:

Emily's Reel


Luke and Jenny Anne Bulla (Texas-style)

This is an impressive and inspiring kids album with true a grown up sound. These kids can play!

Chancellor's Waltz is a beautiful Texas-style waltz, and a great background for improvising in the key of C. Play a C major scale, C pentatonic scale or C relative blues. (A blues works, because it has exactly the same notes as C relative blues. If you know an A blues fingering, try it. It won't sound as bluesy as usually, because the key of C accompaniment forces it to sound identical to a C relative blues scale.

Martin's Waltz is one of the top-ten Texas-style waltzes. It's an excellent background for learning improvisation in the key of D and key of A. It changes key four times. Here a chart of 'minutes and seconds' so you can change scales where the key changes occur:

0:00 — Key of D — play D major scale
0:28 — Key of A — play A major scale
0:56 — Key of D — back to D major ...
1:52 — Key of A
2:20 — Key of D

Martin's Waltz

Chancellor's Waltz

I Don't Love Nobody (Nothin' To It)

Tom And Jerry

Allentown Polka


This album features the great Benny Thomasson (Mark O'Connor's teacher), Vernon Solomon, Bartow Riley, and a particularly scratchy Lewis Thomasson delivering some rather soggy versions of his tunes.

This album is representative of many of the great fiddle resource albums. The recordings aren't high quality, and the players may be past their prime, sometimes brought out of retirement by researchers making field recordings, or caught off guard by a rare opportunity to record, many times with studio musicians who don't know the style or repertoire or the chords, resulting in rhythmic and harmonic collisions that are not the fiddlers fault. Nevertheless, the tracks often contain excellent examples of tunes from a specific repertoire, played in a regional style.

Not every track is a winner, but even some of the rough cuts are chuck full of good Texas-style fiddlin' ideas. It's 24 tracks for $9, so who cares if you get couple of clunkers you never listen to again.

Black Mountain Rag

Golden Eagle Hornpipe

From the CD Album on the right (not available currently in MP3):

Cattle in the Cane

Billy In The Lowground

Tom And Jerry

Celtic Fiddle (Irish)


Frankie Gavin and Alec Finn (Celtic)

Here's an album of Emerald fireworks!!! An endless cascade of sublime Celtic brilliance, both on fiddle and the bouzouki accompaniment! This was truly a historical partnership that produced a profound result ... as fresh to my ears today as the time I first heard it decades ago. If this recording doesn't stir you, then I won't buy you a pint of Guinness or Harp.

Few accompanists have been as incisive, artistic, innovative as Alec Finn. How does someone take a non-Irish instrument, apply it to Celtic melodies, many that may have never been set to chordal accompaniment, proceed so prolifically without a roadmap, miraculously forging a masterpiece backup style that became part of the foundation for modern Celtic accompaniment? From ground zero to pinnacle ... it's astonishing. For example consider Finn's accompaniment on the Turlough O'Carolan tunes, Carolan's Draught and Mr. O'Connor (these are both from other albums.)

Oh, yes ... and Mr. Gavin. He has a few peers, and it's hard to surpass his playing on this album. I'd say he's my favorite Irish fiddler. If he doesn't know his limits, it's fine, because I don't think he has any.

Ryan's Reel

Cup of Tea (Reel)

Martin Wynne's, Austin Tierney's (Reels)

The Bunch of Green Rushes, Sean Frank (Reels)



Martin Hayes (Celtic)

The Green Gowned Lass and Connor Dunn's alone are worth the price of the album. (Unfortunately you can't hear either of these two tunes on the Amazon preview, because they are the second tune in the set ... but trust me they're great!)

Martin Hayes is one of few fiddler's capable of maintaining endless stream of extemporaneous Celtic fiddle consciousness. Hear for yourself as he applies endless invention to the aforementioned tunes. Nothing outlandish mind you, just natural variations to the fabric ... alternate essence.

Hayes reinvents some familiar tunes, imbuing entirely new texture and meaning by rendering them at unusually slow tempos. Across the album tempos are moderate overall, and thus the collection of tunes is a welcome relief from the "I can fiddle it fastest" syndrome.

Just as serene as Haye's fiddling, Randal Bays' guitar accompaniment is stunning all throughout: innovative, meticulous, and within the genre. Bays is up there with the all-time great accompanists, like Alec Finn and Mícheál Ó Domhnaill and Dónal Lunny.

The Britches

Joe Bane's/The Green Gowned Lass

The Whistler From Rosslea/Connor Dunn's

The album to the right, The Lonesome Touch, is another opportunity to clearly hear the nuances of Irish fiddle. There's lots of solo playing, and the guitar accompaniment is light and sparse.

Hayes does a great job on one of my favorite Irish jigs:

Tell Her I Am

Martin Hayes (Celtic)

Under The Moon is another great album collaboration by Martin Hayes and Randal Bays

Lucy Farr's is a wonderful tune for beginners. Hayes plays it in Bb, as do many. But that is not beginners territory. But you can play in in A or G, which makes the fingering far simpler.

To the right is a music notation book of the tunes on Martin Hayes' Under the Moon CD album.


Noel Hill and Tony Linnane (Celtic)

Here's another great blend of fiddle and metal reed, where the instruments sound as one. There are many unaccompanied tracks, and Alec Finn joins in on a couple of tunes.

I've learned many tunes from this album. I guess that's a significant testimonial. Indeed it was a virtual vinyl Celtic textbook for me, in the days of phonograph, and really drew me into the style.

I love hearing the melodic Irish tradition straight up without accompaniment, as it appears on many of the cuts, and nonetheless and sounding perfectly complete. Gives you a sense of the early tradition when sessions were comprised of primarily of melody and percussion, and chordal accompaniment was rare.

This album is not currently available as MP3 download, but you can buy the CD. The links on the left is for the CD.

Since no MP3 previews are available for this album, here are couple of examples of Noel Hill's playing from a De Dannan album:

George Ross' Hornpipes

Donegal Reels

Lady Ann Montgomery / Cooley's Reel

Skylark / Foxhunter



Randal Bays and Joel Bernstein (Celtic)

The music on this album is almost completely Celtic, yet the album's namesake is Pigtown Fling (also known as Stony Point, Wild Horse at Stoney Point, Fiddle and Banjo) which is the name of an American fiddle tune. Rather odd indeed, an American tune name for a Celtic album ... but get over that! There's precision, punch and delight in these entirely engaging performances, plus impeccable tone and timing!

Randal Bays is a true musician's musician, a fine Celtic fiddler, an excellent finger-style guitarist, and notably, the guitarist on Martin Hayes' first album. Bays plays fiddle and guitar on this album. (Yes, he overdubbed guitar, but by the rollicking spirit you'd never guess!)

Joel Bernstein is an truly amazing multi-instrumenaltist, playing concertina, harmonica and banjo. He gets such a remarkable sound from his harmonica, at times you'll think he's playing his concertina. (Don't miss his collaborations with Ruthie Dornfeld on Ways of the World.)

Sligo Maid/Dowd's #9/The Boys of Tulla

Johnny Doherty's Jig/The Humors of Trim

Note, the Humours of Trim is the second tune in the set and does not preview ...

— Preview/Buy Album: Pigtown Fling —




Patrick Ball (Celtic / O'Carolan)

OK, it's not a fiddle album. In fact every track is solo harp, but it's a great introduction to the music of Turlough O'Carolan. For those unfamiliar with the man and his legacy, he's a famous, blind Irish harper and the composer over 200 tunes — many of striking beauty. These tunes are favorites of countless instrumentalists. You'll hear them played on fiddle, guitar, pipes, whistles, piano, even orchestra. Numerous guitarists have created remarkable arrangements, for example, listen to Pat Kirtley's arrangement of Planxty Irwin.

Patrick Ball beautifully fashions O'Carolan's tunes on his steel strung harp. If you see him in concert you bound to enjoy his music and lore, as Ball is also an expert story teller.

More about O'Carolan at this Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turlough_O'Carolan

Blind Mary

Carolan's Welcome


Arcady -- Many Happy Returns

Some of the instrumentals on this album are superb. If you like traditional Irish music the tracks to the right will not dissapoint. I'm not so thrilled by the songs and vocals.

The Sally Gardens, Miss McLeod's Reel, The Foxhunter's, the Bucks of Oranmore

The Battering Ram, The Geese In The Bog, The Pipe On the Hob

Toss The Feathers, The Fermoy Lasses, The Man Of The House

The Blackhaired Lass, The Flogging Reel, Lord McDonald's Reel, The Pinch of Snuff

Paddy Ryan's Dream, Fahy's Reel (Fahy), The Pigeon On the Gate


Bluegrass Fiddle


Kenny Baker

This is one of the classic bluegrass fiddle albums, from Kenny Baker, who fiddled with Bill Monroe for two plus decades. Great banjo by Bob Black, and Bill Monroe himself on mandolin.



Jerusalem Ridge

Ashland Breakdown

Road To Columbus

Lonesome Moonlight Waltz


(Bluegrass / Old-time)

Michael Cleveland was Rhonda Vincent's fiddler for a number of years, and small wonder. He is one of the best backup fiddlers in bluegrass. On Flame Keeper, his first solo album, we're fortunate that he included some songs where we can here him weave his magic.

Cleveland plays lots of old-time tunes, but in his hands there's always a that extra drive and bluegrass detail. He really burns 'em up!

Two O'Clock in the Morning

Six Feet Under the Ground

Lost Indian

Goodbye Old Pal


Bryan Sutton (Fiddle: Tim Crouch)

Bryan Sutton's 'Bluegrass Guitar' album hosts plenty of hot fiddle. The repertoire culls many tunes from the old-time repertoire. The overall sound is definitely bluegrass, with lots solo trading throughout.

Hangman's Reel

The High Road

The High Road - from Tim O'Brien's album
(This is the original recording, with lyrics.)

High Heel Shoe

Back Up and Push

Nelia's Dance




Byron Berline (Bluegrass and Old-time)

Byron Berline is a truly versatile and meticulous fiddler. He's a crackerjack bluegrass fiddler, who played with Bill Monroe. He's a three-time Grand National Fiddle Champion at Weiser Idaho, which means he's know a piece about Texas-style fiddin'. He's well steeped in old-time, however he usually adds a progressive edge. and peppers his recordings with variation and a shake of off the cuff innovation. No surprise them that he's also a skilled tune smith.

He's an excellent improvisationalist, capable in a wide rage of styles, from country to swing, which served him well as in numerous bands as a popular LA studio musician. He was close friends with the Dillards and recorded with them and the crossover bands Poco, and The Flying Burrito Bros.

Double Trouble is a duet album with just fiddle and banjo, featuring John Hickman, so you get to hear Berlin's fiddle up close and personal. Here are a couple of examples:

Sugar In The Gourd

Time Changes Everything

My favorite Berline album is Dad's Favorites ... unfortunately this is not available for downloafd from iTunes or Amazon, but recently it is again available on CD.

The tracks on Dad's Favorites are:

1. Coming Down From Denver
2. New Broom
3. Gray Eagle
4. B & B Rag
5. Redbird
6. Ragtime Annie
7. Limerock
8. Stone's Rag
9. Miller's Reel
10. Arkansas Traveler
11. Sweet Memories Waltz
12. Birmingham Fling

Though the bulk of his performing and recording was with traditional musicians and progressive tranditionalists, due to his creativity versatility Berline crossed LOTS of musical boundaries. Can you name other old-time fiddler who recorded with Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart, The Eagles, The Byrds, The Doobie Brothers, The Band, Alabama, Manhattan Transfer? That, and his occasional use of full drum sets, was sure to ruffle feathers of the purists.

Additionally Berline wrote so many tunes, it musta been hard to find a band or album to properly showcase them. Most of Berline's albums contain two or three originals. My favorites are Huckleberry Hornpipe and Birmingham Fling and Fall Creek.

In homage, to the right is a link to his aptly names album, Outrageous, where each track is a Berline original. Some tunes are great, others not quite as memorable, but I think you be impressed with the caliber of musicians who like to keep company with Byron Berline.

Hats off to a fiddler with seemingly endless energy, who excelled equally in live performance and recording, and whose crossover creativity surely introduce many ears to their first fiddling delight.




Rhonda Vincent (Hunter Berry, fiddle) (Bluegrass)

Great Album!

There are a few songs that are particularly fun to improvise with, such as One Step Ahead of the Blues

One Step Ahead of the Blues

Kentucky Borderline 

Frankie Belle

Ridin' the Red Line


Rhonda Vincent and the Rage (Bluegrass)

Rhonda Vincent and her band are at their best on Lonesome Wind Blues ... and it's great recording to improvise with.

If you're not real fast with your scales yet, use some slow down software, and play an A blues blues scale with this track: 1 b3, 4, b5, 5, b7. It'll work through the whole song. That's right, A blues even though the song is in the key of C. (The C chord structure makes the A blues scale sound like a C relative blues scale: 1,2,b3, 3, 5, 6. Ya don't need to understand that, just have fun!) You can throw in a little C blues for extra twang, especially when wrapping up a verse or chorus.

I'm a big Rhoda Vincent fan, and if you ever get a chance to see her live, do so! That said, of her many albums this is not one of my favorite.

Lonesome Wind Blues

Passing of the Train

Pretending I Don't Care

You're in My Heart


Alison Krauss and Union Station (Bluegrass and beyond)

Capable of achieving heights in traditional, bluegrass and Texas-style fiddling. Alison Krauss is a trail blazer, somewhat of a bluegrass expatriate (in the positive sense of the word) who has created a modern sound, playing mostly new songs, with a traditional bluegrass performance style and instrumentation.

Rain Please Go Away has such a classic bluegrass bounce, and it's medium tempo. So it's a great one for improvisation. Slow it down somewhere between 70 and 90% and you should be able to jump in with a B blues, D relative blues scale (they share the same notes) ... or a B relative blues scale for a softer, brighter sound. Alternately, if you don't mind the munchkin effect on the vocal, add one 1/2 step to pitch the song up from B to C; then use the A blues scale fingering to play an C relative blues.


Dusty Miller

Cluck Old Hen  

Slumber My Darling (Voice)

Rain Please Go Away


New Acoustic Music / Swing


David Grisman (DAWG/ New Acoustic Music)

'New acoustic' music really got started with David Grisman's DAWG. This is the David Grisman Quintet's first and, I think, most powerful album. There are great tracks on other albums, but this one is strongly engaging throughout.

It's bluegrass instrumentation adapted to a new form of music — the driving energy and innovation of gypsy swing, but a more modern sound overall, mainly Grisman's own compositions.

Ricochet (LP Version)

E.M.D. (LP Version)

Dawg's Rag (LP Version)

Tipsy Gypsy


Albuquerque Turkey


Minor Swing


Darol Anger (New Acoustic Music, and beyond.)

Darol's Chops and Grooves DVD demonstrates and teaches lots of 'chop accompaniment' styles, based on the techniques that he refined and developed.

Darol, Casey Driessen, and Rashad Eggleston perform in a trio of two violins (Driessen on 5 string fiddle) and Eggleston on cello. This is a really a fun DVD to watch, whether you're an aspiring chop fiddler or chop cellist, whether you're a musician or not. There's a good chance you've never heard a string trio like this!

Casey Driessen contributes plenty of hot fiddle solos and very smooth chop accompaniment. And though Driessen is hot and firey he's no slouch on finesse. Just listen to him play Eileen's Waltz.

Rashad Eggleston has completely mastered 'chop cello.' You can here more of Eggleston's in-the-pocket and rockin' chop accompaniment on Crooked Still's Shaken By A Low Sound album ...and other Crooked Still recordings or albums.

Darol Anger is a true pioneer of 'new acoustic music.' He was the original and primary fiddle voice in the David Grisman Quintet.

Aside from setting a standard of excellent in ensemble performance, Darol is all about fiddle rhythm.

Darol overhauled Richard Greene's innovative notion of rhythmic fiddle accompaniment, refining and elevating it to a whole entirely levels of purpose and vocabulary. Darol wrote the manual on being rhythmic with fiddle.

He's the guru and grand master. Listen to the beginning of Melt The Teakettle and you'll see what I mean. (Sorry, the preview clip doesn't start at the beginning of the recording, so you can't preview the portion I'm referring to! But still you can hear Darol's rhythmic chop accompaniment.)


Darol teaches improv and licks for playing blues fiddle in the DVD to the right. Check it out. He's really a thoughtful teacher.


Tony Rice

On the left, Tony Rice and Ricky Scaggs, in their early days, sounding like a brother duet. Here, you'll see what I mean.

Will the Roses Bloom

And the album is nothing but two voices and two instruments, but Skaggs and Rice deliver full band sound.

Five of the ten tracks are traditional gospel recordings with incredible harmonies. If you ever want to study bluegrass timing and harmony, this is one the the albums to get.


Manzanita (from Manzanita album)

Birdland Breakdown (from Devlin)


Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks

Where's the Money? is a truly great live album recorded at the Troubador in Los Angeles in the early 70's, with Hicks et al in their heyday, and the band's verve and weird/wry stage presence unabashedly spilling forth. It's a night of intimate connection between performers and audience. The band feels like your dear, funny super-talented freinds on stage, including jazz/experimental fiddler Sid Page, with Maryann Price and Naomi Ruth Eisenberg are "The Lickettes" at their best , a real vocal harmonic treat, and Jamie Leopold on bass.

Somehow in the 60s and 70s, Dan Hicks managed to anacronistically write a sleugh of original repertoire that's spot-on specific to the grand era of swing, as if he took and advanced course in channeling Cole Porter. His lyrics are vivid, colorful, and intensely human ... like a haikus that take you directly into the moment. At times they conjure cartoon imagery at 60 frames per second. (To see for yourself, please tune in to The Buzzard Was Their Friend. It's a big ol' black feathery flap about a flock of buzzards in search of a good greasey meal!)

From sultry:

News From Up The Street

Reelin' Down

... to punchy:

Dig A Little Deeper

By Hook Or By Crook

Traffic Jam

... to the mildly insane:

The Buzzard Was Their Friend

Shorty Falls In Love


More Dan Hick and the Hot Licks, on Striking It Rich sounding robust, polished and relaxed in the studio, with and basalmic bass manica Stevie Sanchez (Skippy's Farewell.)

Some of these tracks are great for improvisition practice:

Try Bb Relative blues (1,2,b3,3 5 6 (b7)) on You Got To Believe ... or think G blues (1,3b, 4,b5, 5, b7) — works either way. Even a little Bb blues is good.

I'm An Old Cowhand (From The Rio Grande) D relative blues (or B blues if that makes more sense.)

These are some Dan Hicks super hits:

Canned Music

I Scare Myself

You Got To Believe

Striking It Rich

Moody Richard (The Innocent Bystander)

Walkin' One And Only



Gypsy Swing (Parisian/Hot Club Swing)


Django Reinhardt & Stephane Grappelly (Gypsy Swing)

This is the real thing. Recordings from the 30s and 40s, of the Hot Club of France, where it all started.

And yikes! 51 classic cuts of the Hot Club of France (a double CD set) for under $17! That's 59 cents per track for a peek at a truly historic collaboration!

Exactly Like You

Swing '39

Night And Day



Hot Club of San Francisco (HCSF)

Paul Mehling has got it goin' on. The legend and the fire lives on in the HCSF. Make a point to see the Hot Club of San Francisco live next time they appear at Yoshi's.

The future of Gypsy Swing is in good hands with Evan Price. He plays with verve, precision and On early albums you hear Julian Smedley on fiddle.

Tchavolo Swing

Not So Fast

Connie Evingson (Gypsy Swing)

What a voice! Early swing songs with a 'hot club" gypsy swing edge.

Gypsy swing was founded largely on American jazz songs of the 20s and 30s ...but rarely were they sung! Here's a chance to here a compelling voice render them midway between the American origin and the Hot Club of France.


Preview/Buy Album: Gypsy in My Soul


Django Reinhardt & Stephane Grappelly (Gypsy Swing)

Yikes! 51 classic cuts of the Hot Club of France (a double CD set) for under $17! That's 59 cents per track for a peek at a truly historic collaboration!

Exactly Like You

Swing '39

Night And Day



Latcho Drom

The soundtrack makes a lot more sense when you watch the movie .... but it includes an outstanding recording of Tchavolo Swing on Latcho Drom: Bande Originale Du Film

See footage of Tchavolo Swing on youTube. Around 47 seconds you'll see the actual session where this was recorded:




Not yet available in MP3


Not yet available
on Amazon

Joe Greene (Bluegrass/Texas style)

This is truly one of all-time my favorite fiddling albums. Joe's always out to smoke it, and he invariably make lots of commotion, but you never a speck of effort. If you want to here somebody nail it, and then pour on the variations, Joe's your guy.

Joe Greene's fiddling is a unique blend of bluegrass and Texas-style ... but perhaps that's largely due to the context, with some bluegrass-style solo sharing, and Scruggs style banjo back throughout, Joe's Texas edge get bluegrass-ified, and to good effect. (I only wish we could hear the fiddling on this album with Texas backup. That would surely be one of my favorite Texas style albums!)

This album was one of my early listening favorites, so it warmed my heart when — after being out of print for three decades, it became available again! It's amazing what goes out of print!!! Anyway, now that Joe's back in circulation, his fiddlin's likely to increase yours ... no kidding. Great cross-country driving music.

Sorry to say, Joe Greene's other available album, twin fiddling with Kenny Baker, is not nearly as compelling.

Cattle in the Kane

Katy Hill

Kingsport (Temperance Reel)

Salt River (Salt Creek)

Dusty Miller


Hard to find but worth it


In the Middle of the Night (When the catfish bite) — Barry Shultz

From the Chest — Kevin O'Connor





Tim and Mollie O'Brien --Take Me Back

Old-time and gospel vocals par excellance. If I were stuck on a desert island with only ten albums, this would be one of them. From friskey to poignant, and incredible vocals and top notch musicianship throughout. The ablum is about one third gospel.

Away Out On The Mountain    
FestivaLink presents Tim & Mollie O'Brien at Grey Fox July 2006    





Artist Links
(alphabetically by first name):


Tunes & Tracks


Adam Hurt

Art Stamper

Bruce Molsky

Dirk Powell

Freight Hoppers

John Hartford

Kenny Baker

Luke and Jenny Anne Bulla

Mark O'Connor

Ruthie Dornfeld

Skip Gorman

Tony Furtado

Tim and Mollie O'Brien

Tim'O'Brien (RedOnBlonde)


Lonesome Fiddle Blues

Martin's Waltz

Irish Noel Hill and Tony Linnane    
  Frankie Gavin & Alec Finn    
  Martin Hayes    


  Bryan Sutton    
  Michael Cleveland    
  Rhonda Vincent    
  Tony Rice    
Swing Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks    
  David Grisman    
  Latcho Drom / Tchavolo Swing    
DVDs Chops and Grooves    



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