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Tommy Jarrell

The old-timey sounds of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina were preserved through the recordings of fiddler, banjo player, and vocalist Tommy Jarrell. Although Jarrell didn't begin recording until his retirement from the North Carolina Highway Department in 1966, his nine albums of traditional banjo and fiddle tunes serve as a reminder of an influential old-timey sound.

One of ten children, Jarrell inherited his love of music from his father, Ben Jarrell, who made a few recordings with Da Costa Woltz's Southern Broadcasters in the late 1920s. Jarrell bought his first fiddle at the age of eight, with money he made gambling. Learning most of his repertoire by 1925, Jarrell performed at unpaid, informal, house parties and contests. He was little known outside the local area, however, until the mid-'60s when his son, B.F., a disc jockey in North Carolina, encouraged Alan Jabbour, then a member of the Hollow Rock String Band and later the director of the Library of Congress' American Folklife Division, to visit the Jarrell home and record his father.

Word of Jarrell's authentic playing soon spread as he was visited by numerous urban traditional music enthusiasts. By the late '60s, Jarrell was performing at folk festivals and concerts in the west and midwest. In 1982, he was awarded a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

In addition to his albums, Jarrell was featured in several video documentaries including, Sprout Wings & Fly, produced by Les Blank, Cece Conway, and Alice Gerrard, My Old Fiddle, produced by Les Blank, and Legends of Old Timey Music. ~ Craig Harris
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: When Sorrows Encompass Me Around

1. Sail Away Ladies

2. Little Maggie (Recorded June, 1984)

3. Cumberland Gap

4. Boll Weevil

5. Sugar Foot Rag

6. Tempie Roll Down Your Bangs

7. Chilly Winds

8. Fire On The Mountain

9. John Hardy (Feat: Fred Cockerham)

10. Cluck Old Hen

11. Suzanna Gal

12. Cotton Eyed Joe

13. Little Satchel

14. Bile 'Em Cabbage Down

15. Little Sadie

16. Fall On My Knees

17. Fisher's Hornpipe

18. Ground Hog

19. John Henry

20. Little Brown Jug

21. Poor Ellen Smith

22. Rockingham Cindy

23. Sugar Hill

24. John Brown's Dream

25. Old 97

26. Soldier's Joy

27. Stay All Night

28. When Sorrows Encompass Me Around

x

Track List: The Legacy Of Tommy Jarrell, Vol. 2: Rainbow Sign

1. Say Darling Say

2. Old Molly Hare

3. God Gave Noah The Rainbow Sign

4. Little Sadie

5. Old Time Backstep Cindy

6. Tempie

7. Fire On The Mountain

8. Granny Will Your Dog Bite

9. Ida Red

10. Little Maggie

11. Chapel Hill Serenade

12. Old Time Sally Ann

13. Poor Ellen Smith

14. Sugar Foot Rag

x

Track List: The Legacy Of Tommy Jerrell, Vol. 3: Come And Go With Me

1. John Henry

2. Ducks On The Millpond

3. Tempie Roll Down Your Bangs

4. Little Maggie

5. Back Step Cindy

6. Uncle Ned

7. Sally Ann

8. Sweet Sunny South

9. John Hardy

10. Rockingham Cindy

11. Poor Ellen Smith

12. Old Reuben

x

Track List: The Legacy Of Tommy Jarrell, Vol. 1: Sail Away Ladies

1. The Drunken Hiccups

2. Devil In The Strawstack

3. Cluck Old Hen

4. Forked Deer

5. The Joke On The Puppy

6. Step Back Cindy

7. Flatwoods

8. Soldier's Joy

9. Bonaparte's Retreat

10. Greasy String

11. Fisher's Hornpipe

12. Sail Away Ladies

13. Cotton Eyed Joe

14. Rochester Schottische / Walking In The Parlor

15. Raliegh And Spencer

Comments

Report as inappropriate
Just discovered this style of music, it's REAL AUTHENTIC music. We are blessed to have Tommy's recordings. I'm enjoying his sound and moonshine.
Report as inappropriate
Tommy is the real deal. He relays the greatest stories to go along with his music.
Report as inappropriate
Thank the Lord that these men and women who share this deep, rich music with us!
Report as inappropriate
giving me the chills hearing it right now, even tho ive been familiar with this tune for years now. jarrell was best
Report as inappropriate
This is very great music! I really love it!
Report as inappropriate
Love this music especially the dueling banjos!!! I was born in 1985 so it should be way before my time but I think I should of been born way way back!!!
Report as inappropriate
wlojrtell
Bill, lives in va, but always a yankee, my love is this music, anyone remember WWVA, every Saturday nite, enjoy, life is short
Report as inappropriate
redscout02
This guy is great where have I been missing him!!!
Report as inappropriate
Man, you can hear the celtic in this!! Love it.
Report as inappropriate
oh wow
Report as inappropriate
jUST PICKED UP VOL 1 GREAT STUFF.

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