acoustic · male singer

Tim Eriksen: Garden Hymn Video

Here’s a good one to go with the brilliant hues of the autumn maples, the first fire in your woodstove, and that curried pumpkin soup simmering in the kitchen. Tim Eriksen has just posted a new video of him singing Garden Hymn while accompanying himself on fiddle:

Tim comments: “Garden Hymn appears in the Sacred Harp and many other tune books with origins in the mid-19th century. You may notice the tune sounds an awful lot like a dance tune—it probably is, but I don’t know for sure. It was a favorite of Connecticut preacher Lorenzo Dow, born in 1777 in Coventry, CT. It’s one of the songs he brought to England with him on his trips there beginning ca. 1800. He said the English were “afraid to make a NOISE” which may tell us something about his sense of how singing should be. His “American hymns” as he called them were part of his gift to the burgeoning English camp meeting movement, which led to Hugh Bourne and the “Primitive Methodists” being kicked out of the English Methodist church—a rift that I believe remained until the founding of the United Methodist Church many years later. I think the only place the Primitive Methodist Church still exists is in the U.S. (Pennsylvania etc) and maybe some other former British colonies.”

Not many performers can pull off the fiddle-and-vocal thing, notably Tim O’Brien and Bruce Molsky. Remember that the fiddle has no frets, so the singer has to think about the correct pitch on both fiddle and vocals. That’s tougher than walking and chewing gum. Tim nails that haunting, pure-drop old-time sound on this one. Sweeeeet!

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2 thoughts on “Tim Eriksen: Garden Hymn Video

  1. I grew up in the Primitive Methodist Church in the UK, or what was left of it after the churches amalgamated in 1932, it was an amazing experience.

    Never heard this song but heard many tunes sounding like the last two measures of the fiddle piece- as you say dance tunes.

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