Bobby Taylor (Mentor Artist) and L. Scott Miller (Apprentice)
Kanawha County, West Virginia
Year of Award
Grant or Fellowship
Folk & Traditional Arts Cross-Border Mentor-Apprentice Teams
Bobby Taylor (Kanawha County, WV), Mentor Artist. Bobby Taylor, a 4th generation fiddler, was first introduced to the instrument by his father 55 years ago. He has actively participated in and run fiddling competitions since the 1970s.
L. Scott Miller (Boyd County, KY), apprentice. Scott Miller has played old-time Appalachian music for 41 years as a multi-instrumentalist and turned seriously to the fiddle 16 years ago. He is an instructor for the Kentucky Center for Traditional Music at Morehead State University.
Although fiddling tunes and style may seem ubiquitous across Appalachia to an outsider, there are in fact tunes and styles that are distinct to specific communities and fiddlers. Traditionally, these tunes and styles are passed person to person, learned through imitation. As Scott Miller explains, “This musical art form has a rich heritage in all areas of Appalachia. As regional spoken dialects differ from region to region so does the music, in this case the style of the fiddling. These regional styles, both in tunes and stylistic performance, play an important role in the tapestry of Appalachian music.” Appalachian music is an integral part of traditional Appalachian culture. Miller continues, “Both the music and the dances were part of our social framework.” Fiddlers continue to gather and learn from each other at informal jam sessions, fiddling festivals, and through one-on-one and group instruction.
South Arts expresses our thanks to the West Virginia Humanities Council for their collaboration which made this apprenticeship possible.