Illinois Fiddle Traditions
What does your tradition sound like?
Effingham fiddler Harvey “Pappy” Taylor (1894-1987) was an encyclopedia of old-time fiddle tunes and one of the last players from the era preceding recordings and radio. Taylor passed on tunes to Charleston fiddler Garry Harrison (1954-2012), his brother Steve, and other members of their band, the Indian Creek Delta Boys. In the 1970s and ’80s, the band researched and recorded older fiddlers in Central and Southern Illinois, recordings now archived in the Library of Congress and the Tarble Arts Center. Harrison also compiled and annotated “Dear Old Illinois” (2007), a book
Today, their children continue the legacy. Genevieve Koester (1981- ), Garry’s daughter, maintains the Illinois tradition as fiddler in White Mule.
“My dad made recordings for me, Illinois tunes, stuff from Pappy Taylor. I pestered him to play what he knew and then we’d play. My dad was the last of the rural dance, farm house fiddlers. I love playing dances too, and I hope the tradition can be passed along.”