Appalachia Music

Swallowtail Jig

Swallowtail jig

My musical upbringing was predominately influenced by church music-of the southern Baptist variety. Brother duet superstars like The Louvins and the Blue Sky Boys, along with a healthy dose of classic country music from Merle Haggard, Jim Reeves, and the like.

While Chatter and Chitter’s musical influences have certainly been similar to mine, they’ve been exposed to an additional musical genre that I never was: fiddle tunes.

Although I had frequent contact with the John C. Campbell Folk School during my youth none of my connections were tied to the dance side of the school.

The girls were in 4th grade when they started dancing at the folk school. They first fell in love with clogging but it didn’t take them long to enjoy contra dancing every bit as much as doing the Hyder Mountain Stomp.

The amazing thing about dances that are held at the folk school is…well there are too many amazing things to name them all, but nearing the tip top of the list is the music. Listening to live music while skirts twirl above sliding shoes along old wooden floors is one of the highlights of my life.

I’m thankful the girls have the additional musical influence the folk school has provided for them, it has broadened their horizons and improved the music they make with each other in a profound way. And the history buff in me just plain gets a kick out of it when they play a tune like Swallowtail Jig which came from across the sea with the first settlers of Appalachia.


Hope you enjoyed the song!


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  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    August 7, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    Dance and sing, I can do ~somewhat~; play an instrument, nope, although Bro Tom has been able to play almost any instrument by ear since he was about 2 years of age. I wonder where he got that gene from since I can’t recall anyone else in the family who plays an instrument or ever has.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Rooney Floyd
    August 4, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    Road to Spencer, Barendans, and now Swallowtail Jig…couldn’t be any better for me! Keep up the good work.

  • Reply
    August 4, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    Back in my day the “Cool Cats” used to have all kinds of sayings about things. There was one that was used when someone had it all together and became good at whatever it was they did the “Cool Cats” would say, “Man, they are cooking with helium now!” After listening to the girls today I guess people could say they have reached the point where they are also cooking with helium! I bet you are proud of them!

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, Ph.D.
    August 4, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    Tipper: Those girls play will lots of style and confidence! I WOULD LIKE VERY MUCH TO BE AT THE COURT HOUSE FRIDAY EVENING TO HEAR THE GIRLS AND YOU ALL! BUT we did 550 miles weekend before last, 350 miles last weekend and just today we returned from a 350 mile weekend. So I feel I MUST NOT BE ‘on the road again’ this coming weekend.
    “Fiddler of the Mountains – Attuned to the Life and Times of Johnny Mull” is ALMOST READY for publishing. Ethelene is giving the draft a FINAL EAGLE EYE! So you know it will be ‘error free’ after her review! It will be released the middle of September – HOPEFULLY – and I MIGHT have a signing at the OLD COURT HOUSE – MAYBE!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Jane Bolden
    August 4, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    Very impressive!! I loved it!

  • Reply
    August 4, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    Tim and Jim said it so well! Being able to pick up an instrument and play, picking things out by ear (although learning to read notes and chords is very useful too!), harmonizing with others (such cool harmony in “Crazy Arms”!) Y’all are a blessed family.

  • Reply
    Viola N Fiasco
    August 4, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    When I first heard that Chitter was taking up the fiddle, I dragged mine from its hiding place under the bed and swore I was going to keep up with her. Guess what! She has left me sputtering in her dust. But I don’t feel humiliated. I am actually kind of proud. I created a bit of magic that I hope helped inspire both of your girls.

  • Reply
    August 4, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    aye, and doesn’t Dervish (of Ireland) play the same tune in 4/4 time, which would make it a reel rather than a 2/4-time jig. Nonetheless, ’tis a fine tune for the fiddle of a young’un in North Carolina, and well-played, too!
    And, Chatter, I know what the extended foot means, too…

  • Reply
    August 4, 2013 at 9:56 am

    This is a great tune and so pleasant to listen to. The girls did a great job performing it. They are so talented.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    August 4, 2013 at 9:23 am

    Tipper–Most enjoyable, and I loved the addition of Crazy Arms with the soul-searing fiddle music as an introduction, to the Playlist. There are many renditions of this classic song, but I like the Ray Price version best and the fiddle lead-in harkens back to it (at least for me).
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Tim Mc
    August 4, 2013 at 9:03 am

    The girls are doing really well with their music, wished I had started at their age, I couldn’t be still long enough to learn music. I believe a child especially these days that is introduced to music and some kind of instrument just makes an all around good person, “most of the time”. Yea, sports has it place I quess, but not everyone wants to pitch football or baseball or softball,, but you break out a guitar or fiddle or some kinda instrument and watch folks come alive, everyone likes music, just a human bond kinda thing, I applaud you and Deer Hunter for the time you’ve spent carrying them to those places,, you’ll be rewarded in the end and I know you are already..

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    August 4, 2013 at 7:43 am

    Tipper, the girls just keep getting better and better. Chitter’s skill with the fiddle in growing by the day. I can’t believe they so talented.
    I am also quite proud of my granddaughters!

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    August 4, 2013 at 7:25 am

    Absolutely lovely – I’d swear that I’ve heard that before 😉

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