Captain Fiddle Music

Ryan and Brennish


Dodging the Seagrams Bull,

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Fiddling and Fun Times in Arizona

by Ryan Thomson

On a cold winter morning, a couple of weeks after I had finished up teaching a course in

"The Psychology of Music" at the University of New Hampshire, I found a classified ad in a

Boston newspaper reading: "fiddler wanted for country band, auditions being held." At the

time, I had been playing blues fiddle on electric violin in a local blues band along with a

sax, guitar, bass, drummer, and vocalist. Our biggest venue up to that point had been the

local American Legion Hall.

When I went to Boston to audition for the fiddle job, they also were auditioning electric

lead guitar players. While waiting my turn to play, I got to jamming with a particular

guitarist who was strongly blues oriented. He was a great player and we hit it off

immediately, trading solos and exchanging riffs and by the time they called me in to play,

he was asked in also. We were both called back and hired and within a few days we were off

to Nashville. Just prior to my audition the band that hired me had made it all the way to

the national finals of the Seagrams 7 Country Band Contest. Although they had only made

to second place in the nationals according to the judges, the president of the Seagrams

company had preferred them to the winners.

Our Nashville agency booked us into a continual stream of week long gigs and after a month

of rehearsing on stage in public at honky tonks in Alabama, Mississippi, Ohio, and New York,

the Seagrams company contracted us to play for a private party in Arizona. They flew the

band out to Scottsdale for a weekend, putting us up at the Pointe, a fancy resort with

unlimited use of the facilities. We did a two hour performance on Saturday night at a

western style theme park that the company had rented. In the middle of our gig in a large

room, the barn doors opened and in came a scantily clad "cowgirl" riding the biggest

brahma bull that I have ever seen. As the bull wandered directly towards the stage the

band ground to a halt and I backed in the other direction fiddle close in hand! Fortunately

for everyone concerned, a couple of "cowboys" rushed in to lead the bull back out the way

he had come.

Written by Ryan Thomson, 1996