photos - Michael G.Stewart
Frank Maloy, Paul Anastasio, Casey Driscoll & Friends
Stop, Look and Listen
Bibb County Polka
The Wild and Wonderful World of Frank
Frank was born in Milan, GA on January 2, 1927 into a family in which nearly everyone played string instruments. As a youngster he started off playing fiddle with a bow his mother haired with sewing thread. Frank studied the violin with several teachers and also completed the U.S. School of Music correspondence course, giving him a good background in music theory. Fascinated by oldtime fiddle tunes, he ordered 1000 Fiddle Tunes, published by M.M. Cole, from the Sears, Roebuck catalog, and began playing the tunes
Returning to south Georgia, they performed with the Dave Mercer
Band for over a decade. Brother Joe, who played bass, guitar,
mandolin and fiddle, passed away in 2005.We are fortunate that Tom
Mindte's Patuxent Music was able to record a terrific CD in 1999
featuring Frank's fiddling and Brother Joe's guitar work. Entitled
When Frank begins reminiscing, chances are he'll not only mention
playing a dance back in 1946, but some of the numbers he played on
the date and their keys as well. As might be expected, Frank also has
loads of choice stories. One concerns a group he played with that
traveled in the back of an old fish truck, arriving at gigs dressed in
flamboyantWestern outfits (Frank said, “At least as flamboyant as we
could get..”) and smelling of fish.
Fast forward from the madcap world of the past to the present. Frank
was invited to teach at Port Townsend's Festival of American Fiddle
Tunes in 2015, and is invited back for this year's session. In 2015,
Frank was billed as primarily a Georgia breakdown fiddler (though
not in the hard-driving style of the GeorgiaYellow Hammers), which
is only half true. I visited the 2015 festival and got word that Frank
also played a ton of swing fiddle. After our first meeting, there was no
doubt that this was true. Not only did he know the melodies to
hundreds of swing standards, but he also played excellent hot
choruses. Thus began our friendship. We played a dance in Port
Townsend's infamous 204 building with a repertoire consisting
The above is an edited version of an article that first appeared in the Summer 2016 issue of Fiddler Magazine (www.fiddle.com)
Paul Anastasio began studying the violin at age nine. Initially classically trained, he soon began exploring the worlds of American popular and folk music, performing as part of a bluegrass band and competing in fiddle contests while still in his teens. He soon found himself distracted from fiddle hoedowns by the hot sounds of swing violin and western swing fiddling. In the mid-1970s Paul had the good fortune to meet the great jazz violinist JoeVenuti. Joe regularly invited Paul to perform with him on stage in a Seattle club. Paul only found out later that he had had the distinct honor of being the only student ever invited to study at Joe's home in Seattle.
After Joe's death Paul continued an intensive study of Venuti's style, and today he is considered one of the foremost authorities onVenuti's passionate, swinging approach to jazz violin. At about the same time Paul began his studies with Joe, he began working on the road in the band of country music legend Merle Haggard. This was to be the first of several jobs he would work with top western swing and country music bands including Asleep at the Wheel, Larry Gatlin and Loretta Lynn. After performing in all fifty states, traveling over a million miles on band buses and eating in truck stops for the better part of ten years, he decided that he had enjoyed as much as he could stand and returned to his native Pacific Northwest.
Today Paul is considered not only a fine performer but a respected popular music historian as well, as he has spent over thirty years seriously studying the role of the violin in American popular music. He has had the opportunity to study informally with the best fiddlers on the music scene, including country and western swing legends Cliff Bruner, Joe Holley, Johnny Gimble and Buddy Spicher.He is in great demand as an instructor at summer music camps throughout the U.S. and Canada, is Review Editor and writes a regular column for Fiddler Magazine and teaches privately as well.
For the past 15 years Paul has been consumed with the intensive study of the remarkable music of southwestern Mexico's Tierra Caliente. He had made over twenty trips to Mexico to study with the top folk violinists, and is currently arranging this unique repertoire for small string ensembles and presenting it on the concert stage.
Beginning at age 6 at the behest of his
mother, Casey Driscoll started learning old
time and Texas-style fiddling from local
fiddle teacher, JayDean Ludiker. Then his
Billy Puckett says:
I met Frank Maloy in 1965 and
worked with him and his brother Joe
for two years. I have been performing
publicly since I was sixteen, and these
Danny Knicely comes from a family steeped in a mountain music tradition for generations. He first learned music from his grandfather, A.O. Knicely, who has been playing dances and social events in the Shenandoah Valley since the 1930's. Danny has used his roots in old-time and bluegrass to explore various types of music in the the U.S. and from around the world.
He has performed and collaborated with musicians in over a dozen countries spanning four continents, including U.S. State Department tours in Russia, Tunisia and Morocco. As a multi-instrumentalist, Danny has won many awards for his mandolin, guitar, fiddle, and flatfooting expertise and has been recognized as a Master Folk Artist by his home state of Virginia. For more information, please visit dannyknicely.com.
Ralph Gordon, classically trained, studied
music at West Virginia University and the
Manhattan School of Music. He left
Manhattan to perform with the New Jersey
Brennen Ernst is a guitarist, banjoist, and pianist originally from Lucketts, VA. His interest in old music began at the age of 8, when he was introduced to the ragtime music of Scott Joplin. At 14, he discovered traditional Southeastern bluegrass and old time music, and much of his musical education has taken place at fiddler's conventions and bluegrass festivals throughout the south. He has become recognized as a versatile and knowledgeable musician, known for his strong rhythm guitar playing and his expertise in many kinds of American music including Jazz, Country, and early Blues. An avid lover of fiddle music, he is proud to appear with three generations of the finest fiddlers in the country on this project!
Taylor Baker started out playing with his banjo-playing brother Jessie in a family bluegrass band, The Baker Boys. His favorite mandolin players have always been FrankWakefield and Jethro Burns. at the age of thirteen, he met Wakefield and has since recorded several albums with him. At 16, He recorded a solo project that included several genres of mandolin music, including Bluegrass, Jazz, Choro, Italian and Classical. He now plays in an old time string band, Banana Express, with his wife, Elizabeth and other family members.
Producer, vocalist Tom Mindte grew up in the bluegrass richWashington DC area. He has played bluegrass with Buzz Busby, Joe Meadows and Walter Hensley, as well as with his own band, The Patuxent Partners. Since the 1980s, Tom has been a member of the Buffalo Nickel Band, which does a variety of older styles of mesic, including Western Swing, Jazz and Country Music.
Mindte, who has produced well over 200 albums, is the founder and president of Patuxent Music.