Sunday, November 10, 2013

If You're Going Through Fiddle Hell

            Last night I had the opportunity to take in a unique bit of culture.  I made the nearly two-hour drive from Cape Cod up to Concord, Massachusetts to check out something called ‘Fiddle Hell.’  It was a collection of some of the most skilled string musicians on one stage.  I will be the first to admit that I know next to nothing about fiddling, fiddle players, songs, etc.  That said I was able to appreciate the talent and time it takes for one to become viewed as one of the best at what you do in any field.
            Upon arrival in Concord it was easy to get a good vibe. Even in the mid-autumn evening there were musicians carrying cases all over the place.  The historic buildings of one of the oldest towns in America were lit up preparing for the Christmas season already.  The cool crisp air completed the scene.  It felt like a very friendly and safe environment perfect for families.
Fiddle Hell actually goes for an entire weekend with workshops, meet and greets, concerts, jam sessions, and even contra dancing.  Fiddle Hell has been held since 2005 and is the lovechild of Dave Reiner and the Reiner family.  They did a tremendous job hosting the event.  The central location for musicians and visitors alike this year was The Colonial Inn.  It was built in 1716 but not used as a hotel until 1889.  Located next to Monument Square, Concord’s town common,
Outside the Colonial Inn
the Inn was within sight of the first battle of the American Revolution in 1775.
 There was a concert held at the Concord Scout House on Walden Street at 7pm on Saturday. The Scout House is an 18th century barn which was turned into a community meeting center in 1930. Inside it has a dilapidated charm which added to the ambiance of a fiddle concert.  The wooden seats were a bit uncomfortable but again it all seemed appropriate.  Host Dave Reiner began the concert and his sons were an integral part as well one emceeing and the other playing piano.
I will reiterate that I know nothing about fiddling so I will not try to pretend that I could appreciate the references to famous fiddle players of the past.  All I can do is report what I saw and heard and that I truly enjoyed it.  My personal favorites were the father-son duo of Ed and Neil Pearlman who played Scottish music of fiddle and piano. I also liked Neil’s black fedora which made me feel better about wearing my own to the concert.  I made a point to seek him out and shake his hand for his music and hat.  I enjoyed Berklee Artistic Director Matt Glaser and his ‘Red Wagon’ song which brought the crowd into play to help sing.  He, along with many of the performers, has a charming eccentricity that makes you feel you already know them and could sit and chat with them even if you have no musical talent or knowledge like myself.
I may not play an instrument but being a writer and photographer who works nonstop bettering my craft I can relate to how much time and effort goes into making an upper echelon fiddle player.  It was a really fun evening and something new in my life.  I could not name each and every player from the concert but have included links to some pages so their work can be heard and appreciated.  Even if you are not a fan of fiddling take a moment to listen because it doesn’t take a fan to appreciate hard work and dedication. Those are qualities that lead to success and that everyone should have.   

Great job Fiddle Hell!

     My first book, In My Footsteps: A Cape Cod Travel Guide, is now available at,, and, and stores everywhere!  Follow me on Twitter and YouTube for more on In My Footsteps!

            Matt Glaser - Berklee Profile Page
            Concords Colonial

Monday, November 4, 2013

In My Footsteps: Cape Cod Videos

     My first book, In My Footsteps: A Cape Cod Travel Guide, is now available at,, and, in stores everywhere!  Follow me on Twitter!