Fans of that traditional fiddle style won’t want to miss the exemplary skills of Canadian award-winning fiddler Scott Woods.
He and his band are bringing ‘Love That Fiddle’ to Sunnybrook United Church on May 26th at 7 p.m. Proceeds from the show will help support programs at the church. Advance tickets are available at the church office by calling 403-347-6073 or by calling 1-855-726-8896.
This particular show offers audiences an uplifting live show that celebrates the fiddle and simpler times.
There’s a bit of everything from a top-notch band to somersaults to walking on a barrel while fiddling, traditional country and gospel songs, family humour, inspirational stories, step dancing and more.
“Every year we have a new show with a new theme,” he explains during a chat from on the road. “I was thinking about when I got started playing the fiddle – I was only four-years-old and I couldn’t wait to get my first violin and start taking lessons,” he said.
“My brother and my two sisters were already playing fiddle along with dad and of course mom would accompany us on the piano. I loved that fiddle even before I got started. And I soon realized that the fun stuff to play was definitely that fiddle music.”
As Woods points out, fiddle tunes provide a means of delving into some pretty happy memories – not only in his life, but in the lives of audience members as well.
“Fiddle music represents, for a lot of people, almost like a time machine. It’s a way to transport them back to simpler times before cell phones and computers,” he said with a chuckle. In the early days, fiddle music provided a major source of entertainment, and was often an integral part of community celebrations and special events.
“Maybe even it was just in the kitchen with an accordion and a guitar, they’d be playing tunes to entertain themselves.
“So when they hear those tunes today, people sometimes long for that simplicity of life. It represents lots of things – morals, values and ethical things that seem to have been lost with all these digital distractions.”
Woods is simply stunning in his role as entertainer, and he’s landed many accolades along the way to prove it. He was part of a Don Messer tribute show for several years some time ago before heading out and developing his own productions.
During his high school years, he’d practice six or seven hours a day. Then his post-secondary studies took him in a different direction – business and marketing. He’s grateful for those skills as they’re such a help with his career, but music is and has always been at the forefront.
“We are playing tunes that 100 years ago were already 100-years-old – and they’re still relevant,” he said. “The old time style is right to the heart. You go right to the melody – and we do very little in the way of ornamentation and decoration to the tunes because they are simple. And I think that’s why they endure – because they don’t get cluttered with other stuff. It doesn’t get dated if you will.”
He said he also often chats with folks at his shows in their 40s and 50s who perhaps didn’t care for fiddle music way back in their younger days. But they’ve come to admire it now, what with the obvious skill it demands but also for the warm, family memories it tends to bring up.
“They’ll say it takes them back they also they realize that the music itself is good! Maybe it was corny to them as kids, but now when they listen to it they say that it’s pretty catchy and fun.”
Woods is a two-time winner of the Canadian Open Fiddle Contest, a two-time winner of the Canadian Grand Masters Fiddling Championships, and Canadian Fiddle Entertainer of the Year.
For Woods, playing for the folks in every community and meeting them after the show are definite highlights. He’s been doing this for several years, but his enthusiasm to connect with audiences hasn’t faded one bit.
“I love the music for sure – it’s an expression. I’m quite shy when I’m not on the stage,” he has observed.
“It’s certainly an outlet for some of that artistic expression. And because I’ve been across the country so many times, the novelty of traveling has diminished somewhat – but at the same time, I feel very comfortable no matter where I am.”
Performing also brings a fantastic sense of fulfillment and joy to his life, and that is partly fueled by the enduring quality of the music as well.
“To the younger people, they come and their eyes are opened because they see that this music is fun and it doesn’t have to be twangy and scratchy – hillbilly kind of music. It’s happy, fun music – it’s music for the people.
“I think that’s why it’s so timeless.”
Again, for more information or tickets, call the Sunnybrook United Church office at 403-347-6073 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.