Bards Old Time Fiddle Tunebook Supplement/Yew Piney Mountain

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Fiddlin Bill Henseley, Mountain Fiddler, Asheville, North Carolina by Ben Shahn, 1937 (LOC) (290626613).jpg

Yew Piney Mountain is part of the canonical Appalachian music tradition which has been highly influential in American fiddle tradition generally, including its old time fiddle and bluegrass fiddle branches. According to Alan Jabbour at The Digital Library of Appalachia, the tune was called at one time Blackberry Blossom (tune)|Blackberry Blossom until that title was taken over by a different tune. The earlier Blackberry Blossom, as played by Sanford Kelly from Morgan County,is what is now called Yew Piney Mountain. [1] which is now represented by the tune "Yew Piney Mountain". [2] [3] Differing from Jabbour, however, another influential secondary source, Andrew Kuntz's Fiddler's Companion asserts that the tunes are related [4] Contradicting Jabbour, who clearly distinguishes the earlier version, is the account of Andrew Kuntz to the effect that "Betty Vornbrock and others have noted a similarity between 'Garfield’s Blackberry Blossom' and the West Virginia tune 'Yew Piney Mountain', a variant...also played by Kentucky fiddlers J.P. Fraley and and Santford Kelly". [5]

Culture: History and Influence[edit]

According to Andy Kurtz, similarities between an unspecified variant of Blackberry Blossom, which may be the different song identified by Jabbour as today's Yew Piney Mountain, were acknowledged in the literature. [6] Whichever version that overlap refers to, it was reportedly also played by the well known Kentucky fiddler J.P. Fraley and the more obscure Owen “Snake” Chapman, as well as by Santford Kelly and others. [7]


The tune is such a solid exemplar of Americana that it is the title of a radio show, [8], serious blogging about Old Time fiddle music [9] and a Smithsonian Folkways compilation [10]

References and Notes[edit]

Bibliographic resources[edit]

  • Stacy Phillips' Phillips Collection of American Fiddle Tunes, Vol. 1 (Mel Bay Pub.)
  • Andrew Kuntz's Fiddler's Companion

Graphic, audio and videographic resources[edit]

  • Digital Library of Appalachia provides online access to archival and historical materials related to the culture of the southern and central Appalachian region. The contents of the DLA are drawn from special collections of Appalachian College Association member libraries. It has about twenty files pertaining to Yew Piney Mountain.
  • Sheet music for Yew Piney Mountain here
  • Digital Library of Appalachia provides online access to archival and historical materials related to the culture of the southern and central Appalachian region. The contents of the DLA are drawn from special collections of Appalachian College Association member libraries.

References[edit]

  1. Note: As an E minor tune. He ends the tune "that's the way that God made peace".|http://www.aca-dla.org/cgi-bin/showfile.exe?CISOROOT=/Berea43&CISOPTR=3533&filename=3534.mp3
  2. ref name=Jabbour BBB Transcript|cited=Wikiversity Ethnography of Fiddle|Fiddle tune played by Alan Jabbour at Berea College on 5-28-08, while participating in Berea's Appalachian Music Fellowship Program.c; Jabbour, Alan; Blackberry Blossom;
  3. Blackberry Blossom|Lecture and performance by Alan Jabbour|Madison County, Kentucky|Audio Compact Disc|On web Digital Library of Appallachia| Archives, Hutchins Library, Department of Special Collections & Archives.
  4. ref name=Kuntz|The Fiddler’s Companion|Andrew Kuntz|1996[?]|Citing Jean Thomas's Ballad Makin' in the Mountains of Kentucky|http://www.ibiblio.org/fiddlers/BLACK.htm#BLACKBERRY_BLOSSOM_[2]
  5. Kuntz
  6. Kurtz |"Betty Vornbrock and others have noted a similarity between “Garfield’s Blackberry Blossom” and the West Virginia tune “Yew Piney Mountain [1],” a variant.
  7. Kuntz|"Jean Thomas recorded the tune for the Library of Congress in 1930 from fiddler Ed Morrison (Boyd County, Ky.) at the American Folk Song Festival (AFS 300A). Sources for notated versions: (Buddy Thomas (Ky.) [Phillips]; a home recording of Ed Haley (Ashland, Boyd County, Kentucky) by his son Ralph [Titon]; Scott Marckx [Silberberg]. Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes), vol. 1, 1994; pg. 27. Silberberg (Tunes I Learned at Tractor Tavern), 2002; pg. 11. Titon (Old Time Kentucky Fiddle Tunes), 2001; No. 10, pg. 43.
  8. “Yew Piney Mountain,” which airs on Wednesdays from 6-7 pm CST on KRUI, 89.7 FM in Iowa City, Iowa. url=http://yewpineymountain.wordpress.com/
  9. Notes from Yew Piney Mountain|A Blog About Old-Time Music||http://yewpineymountain.blogspot.com/
  10. ref name=Yew Piney SF|title=Yew Piney Mountain|url=http://www.folkways.si.edu/TrackDetails.aspx?itemid=47195%7COld-time fiddler Jake Krack and Folkways archivist Jeff Place compiled and annotated this collection of vintage Southern Appalachian string band music from the Smithsonian archive