Jim Shumate: Pioneering Bluegrass Fiddler – FRC727


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Born in Wilkes County, NC, Jim Shumate (1921-2013) played with Bill Monroe in the mid-1940s and was the original fiddler for Flatt and Scruggs’s band, the Foggy Mountain Boys. The four tracks that he recorded with Lester and Earl are some of the most revered songs in the entire bluegrass repertoire. He also devised many of the standard licks that are still used by bluegrass fiddlers the world over. In 1974, just before I moved to Hickory, NC, a friend advised me that Jim Shumate lived there and strongly suggested that I look him up. Soon after my move I spotted Jim on the street, and he agreed to give me lessons. It didn’t take long for us to become fast friends. Even though Jim hadn’t been a touring musician in almost thirty years, I found that his fiddling was in fine form and at 56 years old he seemed to be at the top of his game. Jim didn’t have a band at that time, so with his blessing I invited banjo player Marc Pruett and guitarist Albert Maples to join a recording session at my house in Hickory. Twenty-five years later, Jim sat down with me for an interview, portions of which are included here. I am beyond excited that this recording is now available. Finally, a new generation of bluegrass fans will get to hear the real deal. – Wayne Erbsen

Additional Notes:
Jim Shumate by Wayne Erbsen
Web Links and Videos for Jim Shumate

Track List

Jim Shumate: Pioneering Bluegrass Fiddler – FRC727

  1. Katy Hill (1:46)
  2. Dixon County Blues (1:48)
  3. [chat: Jim’s impact on bluegrass fiddle] (1:15)
  4. Mean Old Rambling Blues (1:28)
  5. Sugar Hill (1:34)
  6. [chat: Arthur Smith’s long bow] (1:48)
  7. Billy in the Lowground (1:29)
  8. Paddy on the Turnpike (1:27)
  9. Rainbow of My Dreams (3:07)
  10. [chat: Playing fiddle w/Monroe] (1:25)
  11. John Henry (0:45)
  12. Smoky Mountain Rag (1:40)
  13. [chat: Jim’s first fiddle] (0:37)
  14. Rain Crow Breakdown (1:25)
  15. Alone and Lonesome (2:00)
  16. Boggy Road to Texas (1:43)
  17. Done Gone (1:40)
  18. Lost Train Blues (1:37)
  19. [chat: Recording w/Flatt & Scruggs] (1:55)
  20. Lee Highway Blues (2:28)
  21. [Unknown tune] (1:34)
  22. Grey Eagle (2:20)
  23. Foggy Mountain Breakdown (2:09)
  24. [chat: Mic placement] (1:17)
  25. Going to Town (2:04)
  26. Bully of the Town (2:22)
  27. Lonesome Road Blues (1:07)
  28. [chat: 78s with Flatt & Scruggs] (0:41)
  29. My Cabin in Caroline (3:07)
  30. Muleskinner Blues (1:36)
  31. Dusty Miller (2:33)
  32. [chat: Jim learned banjo & guitar] (1:22)
  33. Cumberland Gap (1:36)