Fiddlers, and fans of fiddle music in the Nashville area, have made a point to catch the occasional concerts held at The Violin Shop on Old Hickory Boulevard. The shows are always intimate, performed with no amplification in a 60 seat music room, and dependably spontaneous and improvisational.
A collection of these concert performances have now been assembled on DVD, featuring some of bluegrass music’s finest fiddlers. Andy Leftwich, Jim VanCleve, Aubrey Haynie and Bruce Molsky are showcased on The Violin Shop Concert Series, Vol. 1. Guests and supporting players on the DVD include veteran fiddler Bobby Hicks, as well as Ronnie Bowman, Byron House, Cody Kilby, Wyatt Rice, Charlie Cushman, Alan Bibey, Kent Blanton, Adam Steffey, Clay Jones, Ron Stewart, Jason Moore, and Steve Gulley.
The Violin Shop is run by Fred Carpenter, and is both a favored repair facility for Nashville fiddlers, and their local meeting place as well. Carpenter spent several years as a member of The Tony Rice Unit while also serving a violin building apprenticeship in California. He moved to Nashville in 1987, and opened The Violin Shop while also touring with Emmy Lou Harris. His repair and restoration staff at the shop has grown over the years, and Fred now focuses on buying and selling fine violins. He remains active as a player touring with Kathy Mattea.
Carpenter said that there was never an intention to either record these live shows, or release them on DVD.
“My intention with the concerts was just to build a room where we could have some fun shows. Jeff Wyatt Wilson, a Nashville filmmaker, happened to come to the Violin Shop the day before our first show, looking for 3 seconds of fiddle playing for a documentary he was working on. We got to talking, one thing led to another, and this project just became what it is as the discussions evolved.”
The DVDs can be purchased on The Violin Shop web site.