Patuxent CD-071 Joe Meadows - Cotton Eyed Joe
Buy and Download >
Joe Meadows is a master of the bluegrass fiddle. He commands the complete repertoire and musical vocabulary of the instrument, whether the material is classic or obscure, instrumental or vocal. Joe started playing the fiddle as bluegrass was being born in the 1940's. He learned from the great fiddlers of the day: Chubby Wise, Benny Martin, and Joe's favorite, Howdy Forrester. After working with the Lilly Brothers and the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers, Joe was hired by the Stanley Brothers while still a teenager. His breathtaking work on the Stanleys' 1950's Mercury recordings established Joe among the ranks of the first generation of great bluegrass fiddlers. His breaks on "Hard Times" and "Orange Blossom Special" show the soaring escape velocity from the older fiddle styles, to the kind of fiddling that is nothing but pure bluegrass. Joe's accomplishments include membership in Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys, where he was the first to fiddle Monroe's classic instrumental, "Brown County Breakdown." Joe was a longtime member of Jim & Jesse's Virginia Boys and has also worked with Larry Sparks, Buddy Starcher, and Bill and Mary Reid, among others. For the past ten years, he has been performing and touring with the old-time band Country Ham.
Joe has selected fifteen wonderful tunes for this, his seventh album. They include familiar bluegrass barnburners like Cotton Eyed Joe, Kansas City Railroad Blues, and Paddy on the Turnpike (listen to Joe's stunning variations). There are great old-timers like Chinkypin, Southern Aristocracy and the rhythmic Citico. Joe goes "deep catalog" with gems like Cruel Willie, Indian Springs, Herman's Rag, Clark Kessinger's Turkey Knob and Curly Herdman's Running Bear. Joe completes the mix with obscure delights like South Wind (a lovely waltz), Trot Along My Honey, Sally Gardens and the chilling Battle of Bull Run.
Throughout, you'll appreciate Joe's palette of imaginative notes and bow work, and his Monroe-like sense of time. Joe's "fine work" is skillful without being cold or methodical. He has that magical lift in his playing with all the joyful rush of a bird's wing getting traction on the air. Mostly, you'll hear how much Joe Meadows just loves to play bluegrass fiddle.
On this album, Joe is proud to introduce the fine mandolin playing of his fifteen-year-old grandson, Brandon Farley. Brandon took his first-ever airplane ride, from his home in Princeton, West Virginia to Washington, D.C., to join his grandfather for this recording session in the fall of 2000. Brandon currently plays with the Backwoods Bluegrass Boys.
Joe Meadows just loves bluegrass fiddling. He has a network of fans and friends who have made standing appointments to jam with Joe at bluegrass festivals. In recent years Joe's health has caused him to cut back his travel schedule. Now it is all the more sweet to see Joe and Miss Marilyn roll into the campground in their van, with Joe fit and eager to pick. This comfortable recording should give you the same warm satisfaction of listening in or picking along at a festival jam session with Joe Meadows and friends.