American old-time music has undergone quite a revival in these past few years. As in other genres of “trad” music (such as Irish or bluegrass), old-time music has its repertory of standards that everyone knows and everyone plays when the devotees gather to jam and share tunes. But the Holy Grail of old-time music must surely be the unknown gems that have yet to be drawn up from the well, whether they be new tunes or unique new versions of well-known tunes. If like me you love this kind of music… keep reading.
Earlier this year, Spencer and Rains released the third volume of their Texas Trilogy titled The Old Texas Fiddle Vol III. Released on the Old Time Tiki Parlour label, this recording draws on Texas’ vast repertoire of hoedowns, marches, waltzes, blues, and cotillions. How often do you find an Irish jig and a US Marine Corps march on an old-time fiddle album? Spencer and Rains are pushing the envelope in a very good way.
From Texas and Kansas respectively, Howard Rains and Trisha Spencer teamed up with some good friends to form the Skeleton Keys and create their Texas Trilogy. The band includes Charlie and Nancy Hartness of Athens, GA, Brendan Doyle of Oakland, CA on banjo, and Emily Mann of Berkeley, CA. With extensive liner notes, lots of Howard’s charming folk art, and 21 tracks of old-time goodness, this record is Fiddlefreak approved!
Here’s their Gold Rush from the playing of Stafford Harris, and Get Your Boots from Claude Parker.
LISTEN: Gold Rush
LISTEN: Get Your Boots