Mason Williams is an American guitarist, composer, and environmentalist best known for his guitar instrumental Classical Gas, for which he won two Grammys. He is also an eclectic poet and a comedy writer, having won an Emmy for his work on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. Here we are featuring an enchanting waltz that Mason wrote—I can’t get it out of my head! He describes its evolution to becoming a fiddle tune like this:
“I was driving down Highway 58 in central Oregon back in the spring of 1987, and this melody popped into my head, at the moment I was passing Shady Dell Campground. So, I just called it Shady Dell. On my American Gramophone Classical Gas album, it was a piece for guitar and string quartet. I also included it in a guitar music book as a flute piece with guitar accompaniment. However, several people told me they thought it had a melancholy feel to it and suggested that it reminded them of Ashokan Farewell. Hollis and I have arranged a lot of tunes & played a lot of shows together, and since she is not only a classical violinist and composer and a great country fiddler as well, she's the perfect person to take Shady Dell in a new direction. I'm hoping that other fiddlers will opt to play it in fiddle contests or recitals.” — Mason Williams
I decided to arrange it in two different keys. I think it sounds great just plain and simple, but double stops also give it something special. Mason imagines it as slow and dreamy, almost Celtic, and I agree with him [cd baby url]. I’ve also played it faster, and it turns out to be a terrific contest waltz. See what you think. — Hollis Taylor
I'm hoping that other fiddlers will opt to play it, in fiddle contests or recitals.