Track Premiere: Fiddler’s Pastime from Bronwyn Keith-Hines

To celebrate today’s release of her solo project, Fiddler’s Pastime, Bronwyn Keith-Hines has agreed to share the title cut with our readers. And yes, it’s that absolute classic of the Bill Monroe/Kenny Baker oeuvre, played with twin fiddles!

The Mile Twelve bowster has generated a good bit of excitement about her album on social media, and has been very generous sharing tracks with Bluegrass Today. Bronwyn started turning heads as a teen in central Virginia, before heading north to attend college in New England. Now living in Nashville, she is fast establishing herself as a fiddler in that talent-heavy town.

She tells us that a lot of thought went into choosing and arranging this quirky, bluesy number for two fiddles.

“When I was brainstorming about what to put on this album, I knew I wanted a track with twin fiddles, and I knew I wanted Laura Orshaw to be the fiddler. We’ve been twin fiddling together for years, and started playing together on sets at the now-retired Cantab Lounge up in Boston. In the last couple years we have ended up doing a lot of twin fiddling at different shows and festivals with her band, The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys, and mine, Mile Twelve.

Anyways, I knew I wanted her fiddling on there because I think we blend really well, and she’s just a monster fiddle player. I spent a long time going through trad twin fiddle tunes for us to do, but a lot of them had already been re-recorded, or the original was just so good that I didn’t want to mess with it! I thought Fiddler’s Pastime would be a cool choice because I haven’t heard a twin fiddle version of it before, and I figured there was enough meat on the tune with its ABCB form that we could probably arrange it so it was all fiddle, all the time, which seemed fitting.

Laura had the idea to change the second B melody to minor, which I think is a really cool touch and gives some harmonic variety to it. Even though there aren’t any solos other than fiddles, the rhythm section plays a big part in the magic of this track and they played so dynamically and tastefully that it sets off the fiddles in a really great way.

The players on this track are Wes Corbett on banjo (also the producer for the album), Harry Clark on mandolin, Jake Stargel on guitar, and Jeff Picker on bass. One of my favorite moments is the tasty banjo backup that starts creeping in more prominently during the last few B parts near the end of the tune.

I hope you all enjoy this tune and all the rest of the tunes on Fiddler’s Pastime. This is the solo album I’ve been dreaming about making forever, and it’s pretty incredible to actually see it out there in the world today. Huge thanks to all of the musicians and engineers who worked on this album, it was produced by Wes Corbett, recorded by Ben Surratt, mixed by Dave Sinko, and mastered by David Glasser, and I couldn’t have done it without any of them.”

Bronwyn and Laura give this squirrelly tune a new perspective with contemporary soloing and a quicker tempo, not to mention the twin fiddle setting. I think Kenny and Bill would be pleased.

Here ’tis…

Fiddler’s Pastime is available today wherever you stream or download music online, and on CD directly from Bronwyn’s web site.

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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.