John Specker–March 25, 2018

“On stage, John stomps and screams, whispers and grins, crowds fall to attention, and he works them with professionalism and wit. Truly a wild-eyed fiddling man from the hills…who plays early American music the way it should be played, with heart. Crazy, crazy, heart.”–

Fiery Vermont-based fiddler John Specker made his name in the 1970’s as the “Father of the Ithaca Sound”. He fiddled with the Correctone String Band, pioneers with a riveting mix of old-time, Reggae and African rhythms. Fellow band member Danny Kornblum explained, “We wanted to take ourselves and our dancing friends to another level where the droning buzz of the fiddle and the chunk of the banjo hung in the air like a ball of fire. We played into that fire to make it grow and burn brighter.”

Since those days, with full respect for, and mastery of, traditional Appalachian music, John Specker has profoundly influenced several subsequent generations of old-timey fiddlers. These include daughters Lila and Ida Mae, the two other members of The Speckers fiddle band. John and his family are legendary for their darkly intense, primal style. John “created a whole-band sound through the complexity of his bowing technique with it’s inventive and dizzyingly fast double and triple stops, while simultaneously singing and tapping a powerful foot percussion.” (Cornell Folk Song Society, February, 2009.)



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