Old Time Fiddle Music and Giveaway!!!

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The Devil Went Down to GeorgiaEver since I was a child and first heard the iconic Charlie Daniels  hit, The Devil Went Down to Georgia, nothing has captured the “sound” of the west to me like fiddle music. I can remember first hearing that song on a country western station on the car radio as our family drove through central California. No one in our family really listened to country music by choice, but it was the only station that would come in. Well, when I heard it, the story embedded in the song captivated me as much as the lightning fast fiddle music. What little girl wouldn’t love the story about how Johnny beat the devil by playing a better fiddle?

When I started creating the Archer brothers, I wanted each to have a distinctive personality, which meant different hobbies and interests. Travis was the overprotective, workaholic older brother. Crockett had a passion for preaching and a practical interest in doctorin’. Jim had his wood-working. And little brother Neill? He played the fiddle.

Neill put up with his brothers teasing him about his cat screechin’ and even let big brother Travis relegate him to the barn whenever he wanted to practice. None of it discouraged him, thouCowboy Fiddlegh, because music was in his soul, and he was determined to master the fiddle his father had once played. Once he developed enough skill, he started playing in public–first for his brothers on their secluded ranch, and then in town for dances and shindigs. He even started carting it around with him when he traveled, tying the case to his saddle.

Once Neill’s brothers started marrying and having their own families, the urge to make his own way in the world and prove his manhood became too strong to ignore. So he left home and journeyed farther west, earning money in whatever way he could, his fiddle his only company on the trail. After two years, he stumbled across the small town of Dry Gulch, Texas and a shotgun-toting widow who changed his life forever.

MatchMadeInTexas-coverNeill and Clara’s story can be found in the novella collection, A Match Made in Texas, and you can bet Neill’s fiddle plays a key role in the tale. Fellow filly, Mary Connealy, has a story in the collection as well, so you know it’s going to be a fun one!

Just to make it even more fun, I’m going to give away a copy of A Match Made in Texas to one lucky reader today. Leave me a comment about what sounds bring the west alive for you, and I’ll enter you in the drawing.

And did you know that old time fiddle music still exists today? There are national competitions and everything. Old time fiddle music (dating from the 1800’s) is different from bluegrass (which came together as a separate genre in the 1940’s), although you will find similarities in style.

Here’s a little Old Time Fiddle Music to get your toes tapping:

Karen Witemeyer
For those who love to smile as they read, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer offers warmhearted historical romance with a flair for humor, feisty heroines, and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. Karen is a firm believer in the power of happy endings. . . and ice cream. She is an avid cross-stitcher, and makes her home in Abilene, TX with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at: www.karenwitemeyer.com.

64 Comments

  1. I enjoyed your post Karen. I love to hear a good fiddle player as it makes my whole body dance inside (and out, if no one is watching) 🙂 We have some good friends who have eight children and everyone of them has learned to play the violin I sometimes want to ask them to break into fiddlin’ something. There youngest son sometimes does for a moment then goes back into the beauty of the violin.

    What makes me think of the old west? I think the sights and sounds when I’m in Texas. To hear the noises of the cattle. To see long stretches of dirt and cactus when I would travel to Las Vegas to visit my Grandma. My mind always goes into “what if” mode and I let my thoughts start thinking about the old west.

    I would love to be entered into your giveaway.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

  2. Loved this post! Thanks for sharing. Growing up, I watched westerns all the time. I’ve never gotten to visit out West, however. What always brought it alive for me was hearing someone walk down the boardwalk, a stagecoach creaking, cattle mooing, spurs jingling, and of course Gene Autry singing. I’m going to have to go catch up on my westerns!
    tscmshupe [at] pemtel [dot] net

  3. Hi Karen, The sounds of horses running and cows mooing. I remember watching all the John Wayne westerns, The Lone Ranger, Clint East Wood and Roy Rogers. The theme music from The Lone Ranger makes me think about the old west.

    jennydtipton at gmail dot com

    Hi Sally!

  4. Old West

    Home On the Range
    Bonanza theme
    Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head- Butch Cassidy
    Turkey In the Straw
    Rawhide Theme
    Git Along Little Doggies
    I’ve Been Working On the Railway
    Old Dan Tucker

  5. I enjoyed reading this post. When I think I the West I hear horses running. This book sounds really good.

  6. Karen, I love how you thought through all your characters and gave them hobbies. Brilliant! My father (who just turned 90 last year) plays the harmonica. I know, right? Too cute. 😉

  7. Karen , I really enjoyed your post. Fiddle music is great and enjoyed the trailer. When I think of the West I think primarily of Texas ranches and what it took to create them . The hardiness of the people, round ups, bunk houses, barns and corrals, but mostly the spirits of the cowboys and the women that supported them.
    I loved your stories of the Archer Brothers, would love to read A Match Made In Texas

  8. Cindy – I love the classical sounds of the violin, too, but there’s just nothing that gets the toe tappin’ faster than good ol’ fiddle music. Keeping working on those friends of yours. Maybe one of them will jump in with country jig one of these days. 🙂

  9. I absolutely LOVE that song – Devil Went Down to Georgia. Fiddle music is a fun thing to listen to. For sounds – it’s gotta be cows mooing, horses, and all forms of country songs. As for things: I think cowboy boots and cowboy hats bring all things western to my mind.

  10. Hi, Sally! I grew up watching western reruns, and I can relate to those sounds as well. Whenever I think of cattle mooing, I especially think of the ranch at night with a lone cowhand out with the herd, listening to the music they make and pulling out a harmonica to play along. Sigh.

  11. Jennifer – OOooo theme songs from westerns. Perfect. Those are sure to bring up images from the old west in my mind. Great one!

  12. Laurie – Great songs! Definitely the sounds of the west. Your last title made me smile. I will always think of Little House on the Prairie and old Isaiah Edwards singing that song as he worked around his homestead. He was a character and a half. Loved it!

  13. Cathy – What could be more classic than the thundering of hooves? Great choice!

  14. Renee – I love that your father still plays the harmonica. That’s awesome. 🙂

  15. Jackie – With as much as we romanticize the west, there is still no doubt that the people who lived through it in truth were a hearty lot. They endured such hardship to carve out a life for themselves and for future generations. I admire that hard-working spirit and wish it were more prevalent in today’s society.

  16. Susan – Classic sounds. And yes, what says western more than boots and a Stetson? Thanks!

  17. Sounds that bring the old west alive for me would be a acoustic guitar, a fiddle, and maybe a banjo. I also think about playing on a washboard. Thanks for the opportunity to win a great sounding book!

  18. Jaquelyn – Oh, yes. The washboard. Classic! Through in a pair of spoons and a mouth harp and you’re all set. Love it!

  19. When I was a child, westerns were all over television and in the movies. I recall the sounds of the crackling fire, the coyote in the distance, the cows mooing as they were herded and the wagon wheels rolling, as they climbed over the hills and rocks. The fiddle always found its way to the community socials and gatherings. It brought the happy. Good memories!

    Thank you for an opportunity to win A Match Made In Texas.

  20. Hi, Joan. Thank you for bringing up the crackle of the campfire. We hadn’t mentioned that one yet, but it’s PERFECT! I can smell the coffee now and hear the cowhands swapping stories even now. Great!

  21. When i think of the west i think of the music, the fiddle and i think of a stagecoach and horses. Would love to win your book, love reading your books. My fave. Was stealing the preacher.

  22. Steph – Ahh, the creaking wheels of the stagecoach as it pull to a stop in town. Classic. Thanks!

  23. Horses, stagecoaches, good music! And cowboys singing on the range lol

  24. I’m reminded of Pa Ingalls in the Little House books, playing the fiddle at night. My niece fiddles a little but she prefers plucking. I wish she would practice more.
    I love your books Karen, love the Archer brothers. I’ve got my mom and sister hooked on you now too.

    Happy writing to you from a
    Happy reader.

  25. Can always use more Karen Witemeyer!!

  26. Sounds of the Old West I would have to say the Fiddle, The Banjo, and the Harmonica.

    God bless you
    Chris Granville

  27. I love the fiddle and its rich, vibrant sounds! I am reading the Little House books with my children and Pa always plays his fiddle in the evenings for his family. I also think of cowboys carrying a harmonica in their saddlebag and playing around the campfire.

  28. It is going to sound funny, but the squeal of prairie dogs always remind me of the west. Good country music does as well. csaunderson123@gmail.com

  29. Shelly – Ahh, love the cowboy crooner. Fabulous!

    Andrea – I hope your niece doesn’t give up on it. Such a great instrument with so many different styles to experiment with. I hope you enjoy Niell’s tale!

    Verlene – Thanks so much! You do my heart good. 🙂

  30. the theme songs from old TV’s “Little House on the Prairie and Bonzana

  31. I loved your post it brought back my childhood memories also. I remember hearing the same song on the radio. My family always listened to country music but on Sundays one of the radio stations would play the old fashion country. I loved it because it made me feel like I was being transported to a different time and place. But if it wasn’t the radio playing country music it would be just me standing in our barn filled with hay and horse. I love those smells and the sounds of our horses or taking my palomino out for a ride with nothing but open land in front of me, it felt like I had the world to myself!

  32. Chris – Sounds like a down home band I’d love to hear!

    Britney – I, too, thought of Pa Ingalls when giving Neill his father’s fiddle. It just felt right.

    Camille – Prairie dogs? Love it! I’m actually in the heart of prairie dog country. We have a park with a large section walled off just for the little critters. The kids used to love to go and watch them scurry about when they were little. 🙂

  33. anon – Those theme songs put me in the western frame of mind every time. Thanks!

    Cori – Mmm…hay and horses and your own palomino. Sounds like paradise. 🙂

  34. “Yellow Rose of Texas”, “Skip to my Loo”, and “My Darling Clementine”. Just about any country song with a fiddle or harmonica.

  35. Howdy Karen, oh we saw Charlie at our county fair probably 25 years ago. Sigh. LOVE that song. And the fiddle. It’s so much more fun than whiney violin music (although I adore Barber’s Adagio for Strings)…I love learning about Neill tying his case to his saddle! Great picture in my mind. “Ma” in my Hearts Crossing Ranch series plays a mean fiddle. Best wishes to you–I agree with Verlene! Hugs! xo

  36. I LOVE fiddle music, and actually play the fiddle. Many times when I have writers’ block I’ll take out the old fiddle, play a tune or twenty and it takes me right back into the story.

    –Kirsten

  37. I love your post! Western things and fiddles just go together. Barn dances and big dinners after a barn raising would be great times for the fiddler and his fiddle to jump into action. I really feel like the Old West is staring me in the face when I watch the cowboys drive their herd of long horns in the stockyard in Ft. Worth.

  38. I do love a good western and old time fiddle music. I am not much into Bluegrass music for some reason. Listening to Marty Robins music brings it out for me. He was an awesome country music singer.

  39. Lori – Hard to beat “Yellow Rose of Texas.” Great pick!

    Tanya – How fabulous to hear Charlie in person. So cool.

    Kirsten – I LOVE that you play the fiddle. That’s awesome! And that it stirs your creativity . . . perfect. I read a book not too long ago where the hero played the violin to help himself think through problems. When you said that I immediately thought of that character. Fun!

  40. Melanie – Yes, the Fort Worth stockyards. Even today it’s still as western as it gets. Great!

    Quilt Lady – Thanks for bringing back the classics with Marty Robins! Lovely.

  41. When I think of the west I hear the snap and crackle of a campfire and the breeze in the pines, perhaps cattle lowing and the creak of leather.

  42. You painted a perfect picture, Connie. Love it!

  43. I love fiddle music!

  44. Hi Karen, When you were traveling through the Central Val ley of California, you were probably listening to KBIS in Bakersfield. They are the Country Station. Anyway, Fiddle music is great with a banjo back up. A bit of guitar, too. However, I’m into the smells of the west! Along with the sounds of a mule braying, horses whinnying, spurs clanging on the floor with me yelling to take them off when you come in the house. The smell of horse/mule droppings, camp fire, beans on the stove, and eating roasted pine nuts.
    Since the California weather is to die for, right now, at 75 degrees I’m wishing I could go back into the back country where I love to be. When the weather warms up is when I start looking at the mountains with a longing look.

  45. Horses.. the creaking of the leather saddles..

  46. I love Charlie Daniels and I love fiddle music. I can listen to it all day long. George Strait has one of the best fiddle players I’ve ever heard in his band. So does Willie Nelson. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your Archer Brothers series. Each of the brothers is so different. I know Neill will be a very special character.

    Congrats on the new release!!

  47. Mary – A little California weather would be nice, wouldn’t it? And you are a brave woman to crave the smells of the west. There are some I would definitely love – cornbread baking over a campfire, the prairie grass after a spring rain. But horse droppings? Not so much. 🙂

  48. Hey, Linda! A good fiddler just makes the world a happier place, don’t you think? We all need to tap our toes and scoot our boots every now and then. 🙂

  49. I am originally from Georgia so youknow I love The Devil Went Down to Georgia! I even got to hear him in concert once when I was a kid! It was awesome.
    The sounds of thr Old West is a piano playing in the saloon, horses galloping, and spurs on the boardwalk. I can’t wait to read Neill’s story. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

  50. The firing of gun shots and the pounding of horses’s hooves along with fiddle and guitar music are sounds that remind me of the West. Since I have played the violin for over thirteen years, I am more partial to the fiddle as opposed to the guitar.

    I love westerns in general! I have always enjoyed watching westerns, particularly films with stars like John Wayne, Gabby Hayes, and Roy Rogers. Some of my favorite old TV westerns are Wanted: Dead or Alive, Have Gun Will Travel, and Stories of the Century. When I was a little girl, my dad would tell me great cowboy bedtime stories. The Short-Straw Bride was a great book and the first book that I was introduced to written by you. I loved reading about the Archer brothers!

    Thank you for posting this giveaway!

  51. Karen, thanks for the video. Living in East Tennessee, I get more than my fill of country and Blue Grass music. There is a slight difference to the old time Fiddle music you linked to in the video. You can hear the traces of Celtic music in it.
    Enjoyed the video and the others I linked to from it.

    Our grandson who is almost 16 started playing mandolin a little over a year ago. He plays mostly by ear, but his teacher is making him learn to read music. He has a natural talent for music. He started wanting to learn guitar and switched to the mandolin. He liked listening to the fiddle, so is now learning that too. He has picked up the banjo a time or two and plunked away on the piano. I wish we had realized how well he picked it up, we would have started him on lessons before he was 14.
    He has played with a couple of the country/blue grass/old time bands here. He is a back up player and plays solo every so often. I have taken him to the nursing home to visit an elderly friend, and he brought along his mandolin. He had everyone smiling and tapping their hands and feet. Our friend is nearly deaf, but she could here his music. He has been asked to please come back and play for them again any time. Because of the music he plays, it takes the residents back to their youth.

    I love these anthologies and look forward to reading this one.

  52. While fiddle music is not my favorite, I can still hear the bow across the strings. I would add a guitar banjo,spoons, Washboard and a broom with a string on it going down to a box or a washtub for the bass. I think of the theme song from Rawhide, the song on a Laredo Street (that’s not the name but I can’t remember the name) I was a cowboy on the streets of Laredo I was walking the streets one day. Sad song. Horses, stagecoaches even trains. I was brought up on the Old West in TV shows and movies and stories from my grandpa who worked on cattle drives when he was young. Wagon trains and Indian attacks. Lots of good memories. Would love to win the book. Love the writers and read other books by Y’all.

  53. Hi Karen.When you talk about the West that’s me. When I was small I can remember the family sitting around on Sat. night listening to “The Grand Ole Opry” on our old radio. Was so neat. A special family time. I always loved the westerns, and we as youngsters got to go to the small theater in our small town, where we watch ” The Lone Ranger”,” Roy Rogers”, , etc. I have lived a lot of my time in the country and love the sounds. The horses, and cows. And, wagons on the road. That’s what we had until I was almost 14. I think of the guitars, fiddles, harmonicas, and the western songs. “Oh take Me Back to the Lone Prairie”, “Yippie Ty- Yah- Yo, Get along little doggies”,”Back in the saddle again. ” and the good old song, “Home Home on the Range.”Was fun listening to the adults playing country music in a home while the families danced and visited. And, the cattle drives. When I moved back to Texas(Houston area) was living on a border town in KS. It still had the railroad tracks where the cowboys drove their cattle from Texas there to load onto the train. The pitt that they were driven through to get rid of the ticks before loaded onto the train, was just across the road from my house. There was a big low place there. The Texas border was just about a block behind my house. Can’t you just hear those cowboys singing to the cattle to keep them calm? And I love the western books. Would love to win this book. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

  54. I love fiddle music! My sister plays it occasionally. 🙂 I agree with you, fiddle music brings the West alive.

  55. Yes, Karen! Those cattle drives were the best scenes, and I enjoyed the chuck wagon driver and cook, and sitting around the campfire.

    Hi Jennifer!!! I love John Wayne westerns and The Lone Ranger, Gene Autry, and Roy Rogers. I’m thinking this weekend will have to be a western weekend so I can watch all westerns. I haven’t done that in a long time!

  56. Now I’m going to be hearing Charlie Daniel’s song in my head all day!
    For songs, “Bonanza” because I saw the TV show -in color- for the first time ever in a hotel while our family was at the Denver Stock Show. Dad was showing cattle there and my mom, brothers and I rode the train out to meet him. That was Jan. 1960 when I was five years old.
    In nature, the sound of our buffalo herd running. Their feet and lungs make distinct sounds.

  57. Nancy – I can hear that tinny piano now, the music echoing out of the saloon’s bat wing doors. 🙂

    Katherine – Gun shots! Of course. How have we not mentioned that until now? Great!

    Patricia B – Keep on training that grandson in music. It’s such a life-long joy. One that brings joy not only to the music maker, but to all who hear.

    Connie – Laredo is a classic cowboy song. So sad yet beautiful in its own way. Great choice!

    Maxie – You’ve lived it! Thank you for sharing some of your memories and experiences with us. I loved reading your comments. And “get along little doggies” is my favorite cattle trail song. Perfect!

    Faith – So glad you stopped by. How fun to have a fiddlin’ sister. 🙂 We’ll have to get you on the banjo or maybe pull out the washboard. Ha!

    Sally – Yes, the chuck wagon. I can hear cookie now, clanging on that giant triangle and calling out, “Come an’ get it!” A definite sound of the west. 🙂

    Linda – How fun that you remember exactly where you were and what you were doing the first time you saw Bonanza in color. That’s awesome! You must be a true daughter of the west!

  58. congrats to Linda on her book 🙂 Thanks for such a fun post… I’d have to say that the sound of the “wha wha whaaaaa” gun fighter music always brings the Old West alive for me 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  59. Violin and guitar. Oh! And the all the t.v. western songs, like Bonanza, Virginian, Wagon Train. etc.
    Thanks for this great opportunity!

  60. I love hearing my son play fiddle, he taught himself and I loved as a child growing up hearing pa ingles playing the fiddle for the kids at night before bed. West and the settling of it has always been a favorite with me. DH loves Texas and we have thought to move their someday. Time shall tell.
    Linda Finn

  61. What brings the west alive for me is attending a rodeo.

  62. Yodeling, the music at Branson, Roy & Dale Rogers, the sound before a gunfight… growing up in the 60’s & 70’s the perfect weekend was a whole day of western TV and no sports!

  63. I love your Archer brother books. I agree about the fiddle being country. You have to be upbeat when one is played.

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