Acclaimed Canadian fiddler Scott Woods pays tribute to fiddling legends on his current tour, which makes a Red Deer stop on May 24. The performance takes place at Sunnybrook United Church starting at 7 p.m.
Woods and his band will be honouring several fiddling giants including Don Messer, Al Cherny, King Ganam, Graham Townsend and Ward Allen during the concert.
Several of these greats are among the group that Woods counts as his key influences.
He landed his first fiddle by the time he was four years old, and began training shortly thereafter.
“I remember begging for a fiddle about six months before that,” he says during an interview from his home in Fergus, Ontario – a farming town with strong Scottish roots. The house he lives in was built by Woods’ grandfather so there is a certain feeling of ‘family legacy’ about it.
As to the theme of this year’s show, Woods said that many times folks have come up to him and commented how a particular tune reminded them of how Graham Townsend or Don Messer may have interpreted a piece. He later thought developing a show that honoured the fiddling legends would provide the foundation for a superb performance.
“They may not all be names that are recognizable to everyone, but to all the fiddlers out there, they would be,” he adds. Also, it makes for a wonderfully well-rounded show that’s packed with variety, as these fiddling stars all had their own styles.
For Woods, music was an essential part of his growing up years, and his siblings joined him in learning a number of instruments. His father felt a foundation in classical music was critical to any branching out into other genres down the road.
Woods and his siblings were thus all busy with lessons on a variety of instruments, from violin to piano to guitar, and his father was careful to keep his kids inspired.
The classical training has been critical to his development as an artist, but he always had a penchant for the old-time styles that were so familiar to him growing up. In fact, his love of fiddling has been passed down through six generations of his family.
Meanwhile, he and his band have set out on an ambitious national tour – 36 shows in just 40 days clear from Ontario to the interior of B.C. Rounding out the band are Woods’ mother Carolyn on piano, his nephew Ben Norris (drums, fiddle, guitar, bass and mandolin) and Kyle Waymouth (step dance, bass and fiddle).
Coming up with a brand new tour each year is a bit of a challenge, with a plethora of potential tunes in a range of genres to choose from.
“We try and come up with a theme so things fit together and there is a distinct feel to the show,” he explains. “We also want to make sure those who come back to the concert each year experience a fresh show that of course still falls under that old-time music umbrella.”
Woods is a mesmerizing genius when it comes to offering up all kinds of fiddling styles, and he’s garnered loads of awards to prove it. Two-time winner of the Canadian Open Fiddle Contest, two-time winner of the Canadian Grand Masters Fiddling Championships and Canadian Fiddle Entertainer of the Year are some of his most-prized accolades.
He is known for his exemplary skills in a multitude of styles from traditional country to step dancing and gospel. He also plays several other instruments, but his favourite is fiddle – whether it’s classical, jazz, big band, country, swing, Celtic, or old time music.
His stage presence is consistently entertaining and downright incredible — Woods can turn somersaults and step dance while playing the fiddle, plus play it behind his back.
For seven years Woods was also the musical director and played the part of Don Messer in Memories of Don Messer’s Jubilee which toured extensively in Canada.
The current tour raises funds for churches, charities and community organizations. Locally, proceeds will be directed to Camp Kasota Children’s Camp and youth ministry at Sylvan Lake.
For tickets, call 403-347-6073 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.