OUR ILLUSTRIOUS OUTGOING FESTIVAL LEADER: Terri Lukačko
From Terri: I’ve been playing fiddle since the turn of the century. I got it in my head one day that it might be interesting, found a want ad in the newspaper from a retiring fiddle teacher, and drove to Castleton to pick the fiddle up. The very kind woman showed me how to tune it. And, off I went. At first, it was me alone with the Mel Bay “You Can Play Old Time Fiddle” book (with clothespin mutes on my bridge to spare my supportive family). Then, an instructional video of Natalie MacMaster. Then, some group lessons at Old Songs where I heard about Fiddlers’ Tour, the local weekly open jamming group where a bunch of friendly musicians helped me along. It helped that I’d had piano lessons growing up, so I could read the tunes in the Fiddlers’ Fakebook, the Portland Collections, the Waltz books, the New England Fiddlers’ Repertoire, and reams of Xerox’d handouts. Where weekly, our buddy Mike Jarboe would exclaim at 10 pm “THROW AWAY THOSE DAMN BOOKS! IT’S TIME FOR THE OLD TIME HOUR.”
Miraculously, one night, I found myself playing Johnny, Don’t Get Drunk without the music. What? What? Yep. It can be done. (Not memorization. Learning the tune on the fly. No dots.) Ed Farrell had some copies of a cassette tape from what came to be known as the Circus Barn session from an early Black Creek jam. I found recordings of Uncle Earl. I listened obsessively to the Fuzzy Mountain String Band CD, seems like two years repeatedly in the car.
People at Black Creek told stories about other nearby festivals, the Harry Smith Frolic and Lake Genero. At Lake Genero, I met Bill and Fritzi Wisdom and they game me a copy of their tune list, which I have added to over the years. I’ve had the good fortune to visit Tasmania and mainland Australia many times. I’ve seen how the music travels and morphs. There is “the tune” but as long as people are traveling and learning, the tune will change. Is there are “right” way to play a tune? Well, sorta. But, people will have their own “best” way of playing our tunes. Come on along, shake off the pandemic rust, and let’s see what evolves at Black Creek this year.
Tim Rowell (banjo) is an avid clawhammer banjoist, tune collector, and educator from the Hudson River Valley. An award-winning player and teacher, Tim has taught and performed at regional schools, stages, and music camps from Los Angeles to Boston. Author of several books of clawhammer banjo tablature and producer of Old-Time music CDs, Tim has a deep interest and affection for Southern Appalachian music and culture.
Erica Weiss (guitar) Proficient on guitar, fiddle and vocals, Erica has played with numerous Appalachian old-time and Cajun bands, most notably Square Peg Rounders, Lightning in the East, and Jesse Lége & Bayou Brew. Sought after for her solid driving rhythm guitar, she has backed up winners in fiddle and banjo contests, and has placed numerous times in the band competition at various fiddlers’ conventions. Erica loves teaching as much as playing and performing, and has taught music and dance workshops at many camps and festivals throughout the U.S.
COMMUNITY JAM LEADERS
CAJUN JAM: Hannah Marie Marcus (Brooklyn-based bands Red Aces and Cherry-Limes). With Chris Hollis (guitar), Erica Weiss (mixed media) and Jennifer Wilkin (attending physician).
SLOW JAM: Doghouse String Band: Jennifer Wilkin (fiddle), Robert Wood (banjo), and Charlie Shaw (guitar) are Doghouse. The band is based in Brooklyn, NY, and can be seen all around NYC, catching flies and fishing for compliments.
TERRI’S OLD-TIME JAM in D: Terri Lukačko has playing fiddle since the turn of the century.
OLD-TIME JAM IN A: Ruth Rappaport and Ben Wetherbee are a mother-son duo from the Boston area. Ruth has been playing guitar and piano and singing for most of her life, having played with the Boston-based string band The Poodles. Her son Ben grew up surrounded by old-time music around the northeast and has been playing fiddle for most of his life.
OLD-TIME JAM IN G: Ambrose Verdibello
SWING JAM: When he’s not being a journalist or playing fiddle music, Brian Slattery plays as much swing as he can, most often with the Hot Club of Black Rock out of Bridgeport, CT.