East Tennessee Blues

by Stacy Phillips

Volume Two of "The Phillips Collection of Traditional American Fiddle Tunes" is out-of-print but is slowly being reissued as five smaller books. First to be available is "Favorite American Rags & Blues" (MB20581). The 105 transcriptions contain many previously uncollected tunes taken from the playing of America's most celebrated traditional fiddlers. And some of today's greatest players, like Richard Greene and Darol Anger rave about this collection.

One of the tunes included is the Southeastern chestnut, "East Tennessee Blues". It is a special favorite of bluegrassers and, while this is my own version, it owes much to the way Bobby Hicks used to play it. The tune goes back until at least the 1920's when it was first recorded by Charley Bowman from Tennessee, who may be the composer.

It really isn't a blues, being closer to a country rag. Indications of the latter in this arrangement include the slur across the middle of the measures (ie. connecting the "+" after beat "2" with the down beat of beat "3") in the first and second endings of both parts. Another rag touch are the alternate chord progression in parentheses.

Accompanists often stop on the first beat of measures 13 and 15, picking up the rhythm in the following measures. The "Georgia bow" shuffle helps impart accents to beats 2 and 4.


About the Author

Stacy Phillips is an internationally known fiddler and Dobro (acoustic slide guitar) player. He is featured artist on the Grammy award winning "The Great Dobro Sessions" CD. Phillips has performed with Mark O'Connor, Eileen Ivers (of Riverdance), Leon Redbone among many of the best known acoustic musicians in the United States. On the violin he specializes in old time, bluegrass and klezmer styles.

He has recorded three solo albums. Among the over 25 books and videos to Phillips's credit are Twin Fiddling, Bluegrass Fiddle Boot Camp, and The Phillips Collection of Traditional American Fiddle Tunes. He has taught fiddle workshops all over the United States and in Europe and Australia.

For more about his books and performance schedule visit his web site at www.stacyphillips.com

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