FLETCHER BRIGHT AND BILL EVANS
Native and Fine Records
Fiddler Fletcher Bright, now in his eighties, is a musician fluent in many variations of American roots music. Influenced by the early pioneers of bluegrass, and always game for going back to the traditional sounds of old-time music, Bright is a fiddler who can successfully meander through both worlds. This informal recording, Fine Times At Fletcher’s House, features the fiddler trading tunes with bluegrass banjo player Bill Evans at Bright’s house on Lookout Mountain in southern Tennessee. Many will know Bright from his membership in the long-standing band, the Dismembered Tennesseans. Here, he sits around and trades tunes with Evans, continuing the long history of fiddle-banjo duets.
On the bluegrass side of the ledger, Bright is a huge fan of Benny Martin and proves it on this album with his rendering of Martin’s “Two O’clock.” And, he saws a fired-up version of Bill Monroe’s “Whitehorse Breakdown,” informed by Kenny Baker’s take on the tune. As for the old-time music found here, the cuts chosen go back to go-to fiddle tunes such as “Daley’s Reel,” “Liverpool Hornpipe,” and Arthur Smith’s “Fiddler’s Dream.” But, Bright proves that he’s up for learning a new melody at any time and is still a curious tune catcher. Some of the more recently-acquired throwdowns include “Greasy Coat” (which came to his attention via the Berklee College Of Music fiddlers), “Blackjack Grove,” taught to him by the late John Hartford, and “Yellow Barber,” lifted from a performance of the tune that he witnessed by Scott Nygaard. (Bill Evans, 1563 Solano Ave., #454, Berkeley, CA 94707, www.billevansbanjo.com.)DH