Combs and Edmonstone: Arthur Smith-style Fiddling

Matt Combs

Matt Combs, a long time resident of Nashville, Tennessee, and the staff fiddler and mandolinist for The Grand Ole Opry, can be heard nearly every weekend kicking off the longest running radio show in the United States with the sound of the Grand Ole Opry fiddle. This tradition dates back to the beginnings of the Opry, and he proudly carries it on to this day. Matt has played with many of the best singers and players in country, bluegrass, and old time music—including 11 members of the Country Music Hall of Fame. Matt was nominated for a Grammy and won the 2012 Grand Master Traditional Fiddle contest.

Chloe Edmonstone

Matt and his apprentice, Chloe Edmonstone, will dive deeply into the fiddle style of Arthur Smith, one of Tennessee’s most influential fiddlers. They will study the tunes themselves, the bowing, and the overall style and how it led to more modern sounds of fiddling.

A newcomer to the Nashville scene, Chloe has been attending fiddle conventions since she was a baby and fiddling since she was a young teenager. Since 2012, she has been touring with Locust Honey, a duo influenced by old time, bluegrass, and pre-war blues. Chloe is well versed in different old time music styles and is committed to learning and carrying on the tunes of Smith. She explains, “This is a very important art form in this community. The fiddle is a huge part of southern music and culture, and Arthur Smith played a cornerstone role in the transition from fiddle as exclusively dance music to fiddle as a performance instrument. It’s imperative to know where the music we’re playing comes in order to pass it on with integrity.”