Next Fiddle Camp: November 15 – 17, 2019Fiddle Camp Instructors
From NashCamp Director Cindy Sinclair:
I cannot think of a better person to honor in the world of Bluegrass and old time fiddling than Fletcher Bright. He has done more to share his love of music than anyone I know. If you have been his student, you know he goes WAY above and beyond in teaching the instrument. How? He’s up at the crack of dawn to give each student a private lesson and a cup of coffee. You receive a notebook of fiddle tunes – his life collection. He jams all night long. He’s an encyclopedia of tunes and if you ask for one, he’ll teach it to you on the spot. Each year at NashCamp, Fletcher brings his band, the Dismembered Tennesseans, to play a rousing concert for the students. It’s a fun highlight to the camp, emceed by Fletcher, of course.
How did we meet? On a cold, snowy night in 1996, I asked fiddler Barbara Lamb, “Why isn’t there a music camp for ALL the instruments in Nashville? It’s Music City, for crying out loud!” NashCamp was born. We printed primitive flyers and took them to SPBGMA, and by golly, some adventurous people signed up. We had a few for each class, but no fiddle students. Babs said, “I know this wonderful fiddler from Lookout Mountain. Let’s invite him to be my student. He’ll be great to have at the camp.” That’s when I met Fletcher Bright, and he has been a friend and teacher at NashCamp every year since.
Fletcher has taught at fiddle camps all over the USA as well as Canada and England. He is slowing down with his teaching schedule, but will come to fiddle camp to teach a class on fiddle tunes and hang out for the weekend. We have assembled many of his favorite fiddlers to teach, and we hope you come to this special weekend.
Rosin up your bow!
Fletcher was born June 27, 1931, Lookout Mountain, Tennessee. He holds an LLB and an MBA from Davidson College and works in real estate.
HERITAGE, HISTORY, FAVORITE TUNE
Both of Fletcher’s parents were also born in Chattanooga. He is the first in his family to play the fiddle; he started playing at age 10 and says he benefited from lessons. The first fiddle tune he learned was Down Yonder which he heard on the Grand Ole Opry. Today he has too many favorite fiddle tunes to list. His favorite fiddler from the old days was Tommy Magness; favorite current fiddler is Byron Berline.
TYPES OF TUNES, INSTRUMENTS, VENUES
Fletcher enjoys playing old time tunes as hoedowns and waltzes, and might occasionally utilize cross tuning. He plays piano, guitar and mandolin in addition to the fiddle; favorite backup instrument for fiddle tunes is banjo.
Fletcher plays in some fiddle contests and enjoys attending them. His first entry was in 1954 in Chattanooga, where he played “Grey Eagle” with backup provided by Ray Brown. Tommy Jackson was judge, and Fletcher won first prize.
When asked to describe his fiddling style, Fletcher responds “I am all I have heard”. He notes there must be “several” fiddling styles in existence; southern fiddling prevails in his region.
Fletcher’s violin is 200 years old, has a Panormo label. He uses a Wolf shoulder rest and has been using Helicore strings and a bow made by Emile Blondelot.
WHY DO YOU PLAY THE FIDDLE?
“Because I can.”