If you want to know the meaning of "hard-driving" Missouri fiddle music just sit in on a recording session with Nile Wilson. The first time I did this, Charlie Walden and I had to cushion the microphone stand with pillows to keep it from bouncing around the room. A modest and gentle man, Nile's energy and strength come out in the way he plays the fiddle. In his youth, a farming accident severed parts of his fingers, making it uncomfortable for him to play slow waltzes that require double-notes or showy action to impress contest judges. Nile more than makes up for it in the hoe-downs and hornpipes he plays that characterize North Missouri fiddling.
Nile's repertoire includes unusual gems and real classics. Born Into a strong musical legacy, Nile's experiences span the evolution of traditional songs sung slowly by his grandfather at family gatherings, then enlivened by his father for dance parties and, finally, fancied-up for fiddle contests by Nile's generation. Nile's repertoire and style reflects the musical preferences of his community rather than a broader, more commonly heard contest style. In particular, his "tie-backer tunes, learned and adapted by hls grandfather from Itinerant railroad workers, give a treasured dimension to his repertoire, as well as a unique understanding of the local musical history of his community.
Whether you're an aspiring fiddler Interested In distinct older or a seasoned veteran Intrigued by the opportunity to sit down and pick apart one of these gems until you master It, you will cherish this recording.
When I think of Nile and his wife, Effie, I think fondly of the delicious fresh pecans from their orchard which they generously shared every year. Like those sweet little pecans, Nile's fiddle tunes have been carefully harvested from his experiences and his dedication. In his earnest hope for their survival, Nile gladly shares these tunes with you.
--Amy Skillman, Director. Folklife Programs
Pennsylvania Heritage Affairs Commission
Features Chris German on guitar!