Al Murphy, a noted old time fiddler from Iowa City, was raised in a family of fiddlers, and mentored by Otis McCray who had played fiddle in Iowa since the 1880s. Folks in the region revere Murphy not only for his fine music, but also as a repository of Midwestern tunes, many of them unknown outside the region.
Al is the subject of a new short film from Stoney Lonesome Productions, a New York-based company which is the brainchild of old time banjo player, Andrew Cartoun. We have featured a number of his clever shorts here in the past, several of which harken back to the days of silent movies, a vibe that he captures very effectively in black and white.
This new film is called The Story of Hogs In The Cornfield, and finds Andrew and Al in an interview setting discussing Murphy’s 2017 self-produced album of that name. Hogs In The Cornfield was recorded to capture a number of old time tunes native to eastern Iowa and the midwest in general, all previously undocumented on disc.
Like most of his work, Cartoun is distributing this one free of charge through Vimeo, and you can watch it below. It runs just over 30 minutes in length, and will provide a fascinating overview of Al’s career, and the old time fiddle traditions in Murphy’s part of the world. Anyone with an interest in tune collection will surely want to take this in.
Hogs In The Cornfield is available on CD from Al Murphy’s bandcamp page. The recording was sponsored in part by the Iowa Arts Council.
You can peruse all of Andrew Cartoun’s work on Vimeo.