February 1, 1901 – January 28, 1985 Remembering Tommy Jarrell

Remembering Tommy Jarrell “The North Carolina Fiddle King” (February 1, 1901 – January 28, 1985) is remembered mostly for his fiddle playing, but he also played the banjo. Jarrell bought his first fiddle when he was 14 for $10; that fiddle now resides in the Smithsonian Museum. He recorded seven albums and was even selected for the National Endowment for the Arts’ National Heritage Fellowship. It is also noteworthy that he was an amateur fiddle player; he worked 41 years for the Department of Transportation. Today, Tommy Jarrell is buried beside his late wife in Mount Airy. To keep his tradition alive, there is a Tommy Jarrell Festival each year in Mount Airy that last a couple of days and has events ranging from a youth competition to workshops and has numerous concerts. The website for this festival is http://www.surryarts.org/shows/tommyjarrell.html

About the author

I enjoy researching Bluegrass, Bluegrass Gospel, and Country birthdays, anniversaries and interesting trivia dates. I am a piano/organ performance major who has taught privately and served as church accompanist since 1968 in North Carolina and Central Kentucky. Although classically trained, I appreciate all genres of music. My mother, who was also a church musician and taught public school music grades K-12, knew that Bluegrass music was the purest American music. She always introduced her students to this fine genre and began my musical studies with her at age 2. Bach to Berachah Valley, Mozart to Jimmy Martin, Sibelius to Stanley Brothers, the list goes on, I hope you find some moments of enjoyment and learn a few interesting facts along the way.
I am thankful for the many resources we have at our fingertips including Google. FaceBook and BluegrassBios by Wayne Rice. It was he who inspired me to tackle the task of trying to pass on knowledge about Bluegrass music. Thanks Wayne~!
Lou Ellen Wilkie

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