FONT SIZE: A A A

Jim Wood and Ben Ayers, in Flat Creek, TN. Photo by Dr. Bradley Hanson
Jim Wood and Ben Ayers, in Flat Creek, TN. Photo by Dr. Bradley Hanson

Jim Wood, fiddler and guitarist

Describe the traditional art you are teaching?

I am teaching guitar and tenor guitar accompaniment for old-time and contest-style fiddle music indigenous to the Middle Tennessee, Northern Alabama, and Central Kentucky.

How did you learn this skill? Who taught you? How long have you been practicing it?

I learned the essential elements of these styles by attending jam sessions, dances, and fiddler’s conventions in the Southeast region beginning in 1974. Also, my father, Jimmy Wood, was one of the most respected fiddle accompanists east of the Mississippi River. Between the two of us, we accompanied practically every fiddle champion from the region. At some point during my evolution, I began to develop new approaches to these styles, and my innovations became woven into the fabric of the regional style. I should mention also that I have won fifteen state championships (including holding the all-time record for the Tennessee State Championship at five times), and in my contest career I won over 160 contests on fiddle, mandolin, and guitar.

Why do you believe that it is important to preserve and pass down this art form?

These styles of guitar and tenor guitar accompaniment are sophisticated and represent the state of the art in traditional fiddle music, and as such, they are not easy to learn without instruction. Fiddlers who play these regional styles and their accompanists have a symbiotic relationship where one must have the other in order to perform the music at their highest level. As time has passed, the number of experienced, skilled guitarists and tenor guitarists has steadily diminished to the point where there is practically a dearth of qualified accompanists at most regional contests and other musical gatherings.

What is the importance or role of this art form in your community? Where do you share your art form with others?

These styles of guitar and tenor guitar accompaniment are sophisticated and represent the state of the art in traditional fiddle music, and as such, they are not easy to learn without instruction. Fiddlers who play these regional styles and their accompanists have a symbiotic relationship where one must have the other in order to perform the music at their highest level. As time has passed, the number of experienced, skilled guitarists and tenor guitarists has steadily diminished to the point where there is practically a dearth of qualified accompanists at most regional contests and other musical gatherings.

Have you taught before?

I have taught thirty-five students who have either won national or state championships on either fiddle, guitar, mandolin, or band competitions. I have taught over 1000 private students since 1980.

Translate »
MENU