OK, it’s time to really open your mind and forgive the first 10 seconds of this clip from Sidna and Fulton Meyers of the Five Forks area north of Hillsville in Carroll County. The banjo-fiddle duet is such a strong tradition in this area. Sidna’s banjo tuning is one based on A or G modal with 5th string tuned down. It’s found in the playing of certain banjo players from this area sometimes with the 4th string tuned up for that lowest melody note.
It yields cool drones as he brushes the open low strings. The fiddle seems to be in natural tuning GDAE and played in G fingering. It took them a few seconds to get it together. Being ‘on the spot’ for a recording didn’t help them remember it any better but they worked it out together nicely.
Note: This ‘old-time’ sound would be masked by a guitar chording along. There is no need for it as the drone notes would be rendered ineffective. This tune to me is more about rhythm and drones and less about the melody. Check it out.
Fulton (f) and Sidna (bj) Meyers. Brothers?
Comment from Jason Phillips
One of my all time favorite tunes!
Me and Emily are friends with a lady (“Ma”) who used to go dancing at “Sid and Fult’s”. Her husband (“Pa”) took us chinquapin hunting a couple years ago near Sid and Fult’s. Sadly, “Pa” passed away a couple years ago.
The first time I heard this tune was when Shay was rocking the fire out of it in NC (probably with Brett and Pan).
Comment from Kerry Blechs
Here is the recording info:
Peter Hoover recorded brothers Fulton and Sidna Myers on May 10, 1962 in Five Forks, Virginia. Peter’s field recordings reside in the Archive of Traditional Music at Indiana University. The tune “Sweet Grapes” appeared on CD issued of the Myers brothers by the Field Recorders’ Collective in 2005, FRC504.
When Peter was in grad school in Cleveland Ohio in the late 1960s he told us how much he enjoyed the playing of the Myers brothers and he had a good grasp of what Sidna was doing. I enjoyed their tracks on County Records’ “Clawhammer Banjo Volume Two” as well.
That’s all the data I have.