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Featured Artist
August, 1996

Each month we showcase the work of exceptional new artists. Typically these recordings are found on small independent labels. . . and often times are not found in mainstream distribution. So we will introduce you to them here . . . .We think that you will be pleasantly surprised by the talent we've discovered.

Tim Donley

"Cuttin' Loose"

Early European settlers brought a rich musical tradition of ballads and fiddle tunes to the New World. Old melodies were passed around orally, just as they had been for centuries, and new ones were developed to commemorate everything from war stories to a good dog. The banjo was introduced by early slaves from Africa and soon found a place in the folk music of the day. This old time music continues to flourish in parts of the Appalachian Mountains, but is often eclipsed by its own offspring: Bluegrass and Country music in an attempt to perpetuate old time music, we present an album which is not merely a documentary of old tunes but is a new work of traditional folk art, which we hope the listener will enjoy. Fiddle and banjo tunings have been provided for each tune unless the fiddle is EADG and the banjo DBGDG, standard tunings.

1. Paddy on the Turnpike (2:26) Ask any two fiddlers to play this tune, and, chances are, you'll hear two entirely different versions. This one was inspired by an old recording of Fiddlin' Powers of Russell County, Virginia.
2. Shady Grove (3:42) This old ballad can be found in a variety of different forms throughout the South, and you're sure to hear a new verse from every musician who knows it. This beautiful Dorian mode version was reamed from Harold Hausenfluck of Richmond, Virginia and is played a very traditional fiddle and clawhammer banjo duo. Mac's banjo is tuned to the model EDAEA.
3. Sugar in the Gourd (2:17) Kick of your shoes and roll back the rug before you listen to this popular square dance tune. Tim, Mac, and Jenny team up for a good old-timey string band sound on this version that Tim learned from Harold. The fiddle is in "high bass," DGDG.
4. Black Mountain Rag (2:26) Banned in most fiddle contests, this flashy trick-fiddling tune will make even the laziest of couch potatoes want to dance! Every show-off fiddler seems to have a different version of this and this traditional tune has found widespread use in Bluegrass music. The fiddle is tuned C#AEA.
5. Gold Watch and Chain (arr. Tina Liza Jones) (3:05) This beautiful old love song is a common sound throughout the South, but this verse melody is rarely heard. Evelyn Farmer taught it to Tina and Joyce Breeden while waiting in the folk song contest line at the Galax Fiddlers' Convention. Joyce went on to win the contest with her newly learned version. Tina teams up with herself to sing this wonderful little version.
6. Yew Piney Mountain (2:08) This haunting fiddle tune, played with the strings tuned DGDG, comes from the late French Carpenter of West Virginia. The driving sound of the string band has its place, but few sounds are as beautiful as that of a lone fiddle.
7. Old Cat Died and the Kitten got Poor (2:03) Guitars did not become popular in Appalachia until around the 1920's. Before then, square dance tunes were played just like this one, with just a fiddle and banjo. Also known as Yellow Cat, or Cousin Sally Brown, this foot-tappin', window rattlin' tune is native to the Galax area of' Virginia, and was never meant to offend cats or the people they own. Joe Birchfield of Roan Mountain. Tennessee, gave us the title and version used here. The instruments arc in "Sawmill C," with the fiddle DGCG and the banjo DCGCG.
1. Billy in the Lowground (2:26) Occasionally called Billy in the Lowland, or even Sir William in the Swamp, this fireball of a tune is a common sound at fiddle contests. Tim learned this one mainly from J.P. Fraley of Denton, Kentucky, although he was influenced by several other sources including a Clark Kessinger recording. 'The fiddle is kept tame only by Tina's solid guitar.
2. Bonaparte's Retreat (2:26) The origin of this tune is lost in the mists of time, but the subject is obvious. This version was inspired by J.P. and a recording of Tommy Jarrell, and the fiddle is tuned DADD to achieve the bagpipe sounds.
3. Callahan's Reel (2:06) This is one of several ''Callahan'' tunes in the old-time repertoire. Some similar melodies are known are as The Last of Callahan, and simply Callahan. This version, with its Scottish sound was learned from a recording of Powers. The fiddle is tuned to DGDG. and the fast footwork of Tina Hicks on her stepitune keeps this "fiddle and feet" version moving. A stepitune is simply a board about 3 feet square, nailed to a 2 x 2 frame, and is commonly used by dancers wherever wooden floors are unavailable or in disrepair. Tina's clogging style is a tradition of the Appalachian Mountains.
4. Lights in the Valley (3:21) From J. E. Mainier's Mountaineers, this old gospel tune can still be heard in rural churches, sometimes as Do Lord Remember Me. Tim, Mac, and Jenny play this one together, and features Mac's traditional 2 finger banjo picking style, DGDG.
5. Old Time Sally Ann (1:56) This extremely rare fiddle tune was learned from Joe Birchfield with help from Harold, who also learned it from Joe. Sally Ann is the name of one of the South's most played fiddle tunes, but we've never heard another version of this much older melody.
6. Lost Indian (3:00) Put your dancin' shoes back on! Tim, Mac and Jenny light a fire under this traditional Virginia tune. Harold taught this one to Tim with the fiddle tuned DGDG, in the key of G. Another popular version of this tune is the key of D.
7. Roxanna Waltz (Bill Monroe, arr. Tim Donley) (2:31) Tim learned this beautiful tune from J.P. and Annadenne Fraley, before any of them knew it was a Monroe tune. It has found its way into the traditional repertories of Kentucky and Ohio, but is seldom heard in Virginia. Kenny Baker and Jay Ungar have both recorded versions of this, but Tim's double fiddle edition is new on the scene, and was recorded before he heard the other versions. Grab your darlin' and come out on the floor for the last waltz of the evening!

Born in 1972, Timothy Donley was coerced by his parents into learning violin at the age of 4. He was trained according to conservatory method until 1982, when pre-teenage rebellion caused him to pursue Bluegrass and old time music, an interest which was not fully realized until 1986. Mary Hardy Roberts, more than anyone else, helped him to find the abilities and confidence needed to become a good musician, Harold Hausenfluck was to become the remain his single most important teacher in traditional fiddling. His other major influences and mentors are Joe Birchfield and his family's band, the Roan Mountain Hilltoppers, and J.P. and Annadeene Fraley. Around 1988, he began playing in the Richmond, Virginia area with the Virginia Whistle Pigs, Since 1990, Tim has become a familiar sight in the Blacksburg area with the Part Time Pickers, and has been a guest of the Bowshakers on several occasions. He was lucky enough to play and place with the Roan Mountain Hilltoppers at the Galax Fiddler's Convention in 1991-92, and has won several individuals ribbons elsewhere. He also was a member of the New River Valley Symphony from 1993-94. An apprentice violin maker at the shop of John Larrimore in Richmond, Virginia, Tim graduated from Virginia Tech with a mechanical engineering degree. He currently resides with his parents at Wisteria Acres Farm in eastern Henrico County, Virginia as he decides what to do when he grows up.

John Larrimore (left) awesome violin maker; Tim Donley (center); James Brown (right) awesome banjo picker
in John's shop "Violin Restoration and Repair"

Tina Liza Jones began her career armed with a degree in Chinese Language from the University of Michigan. Her first European tour with Wayne Erbson was in 1974, and she cut an album with John McCutcheon the following year. She then recorded with Tony Trishka in 1977. She played with Trapezoid until 1979, and then with the Bowshakers until 1993. Tina's powerful singing and inspired playing have become familiar sounds at fiddle conventions all over. She currently plays with Donnie Scott . better known as Donnie Dobro. Tina conducts artist in residence programs with the Virginia Commission for the Arts. She resides in Floyd County. Virginia with her husband Ed and daughter Liza.

Mac and Jenny Traynham met playing old time music and have been together ever since. Mac's solid old-timey banjo playing has won him countless ribbons and friends, and Jenny's beautiful singing has brought cheer to countless hears. They have become a popular duo, known as the Southern Mountain Melody Makers and have cut two albums, When the Roses Bloom in Dixeland, on Heritage, and The Sweetest Way Home. Mac owns and operates Mac's Custom Wood Shop in Christiansburg, Virginia, and Jenny is a nurse with a local home health agency. They reside on a farm near Willis, Virginia with their children, Ben and Hannah.

Tina Hicks is a clogger, square dance caller and dance instructor. She has traveled the US and performed in various capacities including two years with the Green Grass Cloggers of Asheville, North Carolina. Tina currently teaches dance full time and is director of her youth group, The Wilderness Trail Cloggers, of Christiansburg, Virginia, where she resides with her husband, Steve Tyler.

Special thanks to the following, without whom this album could never have been possible: my parents, Anne and Clark, my teachers, Charlotte Lille, Mary Harold, J.P. and Annadeene, Joe and the Hilltoppers, Wilson Douglas, Sonny Mead, Andy Certner, James Glazebrook, et al, and to John Larrimore, Harper and Wansie Van Hoy, Alice Gerrard, Charlie Finley, Larry MacBride, and to all those who worked on this album, to all my dear friends, and to all the musicians who played with me and encouraged me when I still wasn't sure how to tune my fiddle.

May this album bring joy to all those who hear it.
Recorded at Heritage Studios, Rt. 3, Box 290, Galax, Virginia 23444
Recorded by Steve Kilby and Bobby Patterson, May 30, June 7, 30, Oct 16, 1993
Produced by Steve Kilby and Tim Donley, Nov. 13, 1993
Cover Photograph David Saunders, Richmond, VA 23231
Photograph Site Quail's Nest Farm, Henrico County, VA

Roxanna Waltz and Tim Donley: fiddle, vocals

Tina Liza Jones: guitar, vocals

Mac Traynham: banjo, guitar, vocals

Jenny Traynham: guitar, vocals

Tina Hicks: stepitune

Heritage Records 1994 Rt 3, Box 290 Galax, Virginia 24333

Available at http://www.plan9music.com, 3002 W. Cary Street, Richmond, Virginia 23220
(804) 353-9996
and other Plan 9 Store locations.

If you would like, we can arrange to have "Cuttin' Loose" casette delivered to your door so that you may enjoy it tomorrow evening. . . . The casette lists for $7.99 (USA) (6100200449) plus $3.50 for domestic shipping and handling (via UPS) (or $15 for next business day delivery). International deliveries... e-mail for quote.

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