Harlan County – new fiddle music from Natalie Tomlinson

Natalie Tomlinson is a young fiddler from Harlan County, KY, which she has chosen as the name of her second solo project of fiddle music. And we do mean solo… she plays all the instruments except for two tracks with Sunrise Ridge, who she performs with in nearby Whitesburg.

Tomlinson is a recent graduate of the Kentucky School of Bluegrass and Traditional Music at Hazard County Technical College, where she studied mandolin with Bobby Osborne for for years. After finishing that program, she studied at the Lincoln Memorial University School of Business, where she earned a bachelor degree in business management.

Using the skills she has gathered from those two degrees, she is now a full time musician, doing guest spots with other artists in addition to shows with Sunshine Ridge.

The Harlan County album includes a dozen instrumental tracks taken from the wide repertoire of Appalachian fiddle music, along with a couple of her own contributions to that catalog. She plays fiddle, mandolin, banjo, guitar, and bass on ten of them, including the title track which she has agreed to share with our readers today.

Natalie tells us that she named it in honor of her Appalachian home.

“All of my family is from Harlan County, and I’ve lived there all of my life, so far. I love the mountains here, and I believe that it’s hard to find a prettier place. In my opinion, Harlan County doesn’t get enough credit.

I finished this tune in late April. That day, I was thinking about the ‘feel’ of a lot of 1950s/60s bluegrass and country music, (which is my favorite,) and I wanted to write a cheerful little tune with a bit of a bounce. I played around with the tune for about an hour and had it finished, and I recorded it the same evening. I had the tune finished for a couple of weeks before I decided on a title for it, but I knew that I wanted the title to reflect where I’m from.” 

Check it out.

The Harlan County CD is available for sale from the Natalie Tomlinson web site. Radio programmers will find the tracks at AirPlay Direct.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.