Since it’s the time of year that the Holiday parties and family get togethers ramp up, I thought it might be fun to see how the “fiddle” player impacted our lives in the southern climes.
The following stories each day are courtesy of Nick House.
7-SONG HISTORY OF THE of the FIDDLE in the SOUTH
1. The Arkansas Traveler
The “Arkansas Traveler” was written by Colonel Sanford C. “Sandy” Faulkner, a Confederate soldier, politician, and storyteller. The lyrics are based on a real encounter that Faulkner had with a country fellow while he was out politicking. In Faulkner’s retelling, the native gave humorous answers to the traveler’s questions; in some later versions, the dialogue between the traveler and the local was sandwiched between musical sections. (“Still Trying to Get to Little Rock” by The Stanley Brothers is an updated version of this, though with a different tune.) It is unclear whether Faulkner wrote the tune or simply added a traditional tune to his lyrics, but in any event, the combination worked. “The Arkansas Traveler” became Arkansas’s state song in 1947, with an “official” set of lyrics written by committee. The song is usually played, however, as an instrumental. There is no definitive recorded version of this song, but like most old-time fiddle tunes, the melody is usually played without embellishment, and there are no improvised solos.