Twin Lakes Fiddler judges announced

The judges for the 2015 Twin Lakes National Fiddler Championship have been announced.

Contest Director Ed Carnes grew up in Leitchfield and has been involved in contests for many years as a fiddler. He is also a nationally qualified fiddle judge.

“If you get fair, respected, and qualified judges, fiddlers will come” said Carnes.

It is a bit unusual, but not unknown, to get the same judges as a previous year, according to Carnes, but he felt that their stature in the fiddling community, plus their experience and suggestions on making the event even better than last year were the deciding factors.

“We had 73 fiddlers last year, and that tells me that we did a great job in selecting judges,” Carnes said. “I know each of the judges personally. I know they are competent and fair, and have judged at the Grand Master Fiddler Championship in Nashville and the U.S. National Championship in Idaho. We are very lucky to get them all back to help us again this year and we expect even more fiddlers this year.”

Here are the judges for 2015:

Bill Jones

Born and raised in Nashville, TN, Jones started playing classical violin at age 10 with a fifth grade strings program in the Nashville public school system and, shortly after that, joined the fiddle world, playing old time, Irish, and bluegrass music. He has been playing as a hobby ever since.

Jones was trained at the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University where he was a member of the youth group “Fiddle Frenzy” led by Crystal Plohman. He was also trained and influenced by Loretta Brank, Luke Bulla, and Daniel Carwile.

At age 14, Jones competed in his first fiddle contest in Smithville, TN. From then on, he went to every contest he could, and his father backed him up on guitar for many of them. Later, he branched out and became proficient on both tenor and six string guitar, backing fiddlers up on their rounds or playing in bands.

He has participated and competed in old time and bluegrass music events all over the country, and has won or placed in the top three at many contests including Tennessee State, Georgia State, KY State, Indiana State, Alabama State, Grand Lakes National Fiddler Championship (Grove OK), Walnut Valley Fiddle Championship (Winfield, KS), and The Western Open (Red Bluff, CA).

In 2009, he was invited to judge the World Championship Fiddle contest in Crockett, TX. He then attended the U.S National Fiddler Championship in Weiser, ID, and won the 2009 Young Adult National Championship.

Jones holds a B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering and Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Tennessee Technical University and works as a Business Center Manager for Carlisle Tire in Clinton, TN.

He and his wife Heather, have one son, Weston.

Luke Price

The 2014 U.S. National Fiddle Champion, Price is a talented, young multi-instrumentalist known for his great balance of taste, rhythm, and technical ability. He is known for pushing genres, styles, and fellow musicians into new territory while delicately respecting the great musical traditions that have come before.

At age 7, Price began competing in fiddle contests and quickly made a name for himself winning the National Title at ages 12 and 17, along with a long list of awards from contests all across the country, including Texas State Fiddle Championship Fiddlers Frolics and the Grand Master Fiddler Championship. In 2014, he became the U.S. National Fiddle Grand Champion.

At age 15, Price began teaching private lessons. While continuing to carry on the Texas fiddling and contest traditions, he began to expand his playing to many other styles, such as jazz, soul, blues, funk, bluegrass, and pop.

After completing his B.A. in Professional Music at the Berklee College of Music, Price moved to Portland, OR, where he continues to record and perform his original music with his Old Soul Pop band, Dean!

He has performed and collaborated with a host of other musicians, including Tony Furtado, Scott Law, Jesse Harper, Sam Grisman, Jack Dwyer, Love Canon, Tristan and Tashina Clarridge, and many more.

Now, Price continues to teach privately, while also teaching as an Associate Professor at Lewis & Clark College. He is also touring with Dean! and other projects. He is passionate about passing on the old fiddling traditions and also creating new music measured with taste, technical control, and joy.

Bobby Taylor

Taylor is a fourth generation West Virginia fiddler who has played the fiddle for over 40 years, starting at age 13. He has also studied countless American fiddle styles and conducts workshops showcasing his special blend of various styles.

Taylor retired from playing contests in 1977 to start coordinating contests for the West Virginia Division of Culture and History. Among his wins is the 1977 West Virginia State Open Fiddle Championship in Elkins, WV.

Taylor has been the coordinator of West Virginia’s Vandalia Gathering musicians’ contests at the State Capitol in Charleston, WV, since 1979. He was the coordinator of the Appalachian Open Championships from 1984-1987, a contest that drew many great fiddlers, including some of the Grand Master fiddlers. He is currently the coordinator of the Appalachian String Band Music Festival in Clifftop, WV, an old-time music festival started in 1990.

Taylor continues to judge fiddle contests extensively throughout the country. He is also a consultant for contest promoters in the eastern United States and beyond regarding rules and guidelines for musical competitions. He was a judge at the 2008 National Old-time Fiddlers’ Contest and Festival at Weiser, Idaho. Taylor is also a former judge at the Grand Master Fiddler Championship.

His personal musical performances have included many major festivals for more than 40 years throughout West Virginia and the eastern United States. He played in Germany in 1979 as a part of the Friendship Force, at the Florida House and the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC., and at the Chicago Folk Festival. In November 2005, he played at the Bluegrass and Old-time Music Festival in Harrietville, Australia and was an invited performer at the National Folk Festival in Canberra, Australia.

The Twin Lakes National Fiddler Championship will be held on Saturday, July 18 on Leitchfield’s Public Square, beginning at 9 a.m.

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