Jim Chancellor

Texas Style Fiddling


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Details: Audio Cassette, Produced and Recorded by Alan Govenar

Texas has long been recognized as one of the truly distinct stylistic regions for fiddling in the United States. Texas fiddlers will almost always perform a given fiddle tune at a slower pace, which allows the fiddler to fit into their rendition of the melody a larger number of variations. As more variations are created, the tune is expanded in length. On this recording are excellent examples of Texas style fiddling, performed by Jim Chancellor, accompanied by his brother, Robert Chancellor on guitar and Jerry Thomasson on tenor guitar. Jim Chancellor started learning the mandolin at age seven from his father, Houston, who played fiddle, mandolin, and guitar. A chance meeting with the legendary fiddler Benny Thomasson when Jim was thirteen influenced him to begin fiddling. "I sat and learned at Benny's knee note for note," Jim remembers. "What distinguished Benny's playing was his unique bowing style. It gave the music a smooth, swinging sound that made the old tunes more slick, softening the rhythm by adding more notes. Benny transformed Texas fiddling from a dance music to a listening, contest style." This audiocassette tape was produced by Alan Govenar and, funded by Documentary Arts, Inc.