We learned these tunes from our dear friend Joe Dawson of Bloomington, Indiana. Joe is one of the last of the fiddlers who grew up immersed in a family heritage of traditional Appalachian music as it has existed for generations in Monroe and Brown Counties in southern Indiana, the area Grey has called home since 1981. Born in 1928, Joe began fiddling at age 10, when his grandfather, Jasper Chambers, began to teach Joe the family tunes. Old-time music was everywhere in those hills where Joe, Jasper, and his grandmother Ida (a fine singer and pump organ player) farmed in the old ways, raised and preserved nearly everything they needed and hewed railroad ties up in the forest hills when the bottomland farm flooded out.
The two tunes are well-known, but Joe’s asymmetrical settings of them are unique.
Grey: fiddle; Cindy: guitarThe Eighth of January/Black Mountain Rag