It is still hard to believe that Mt Airy Fiddler’s convention didn’t happen on the first weekend of June 2020. I have been to that convention more than any others over the years. I can’t remember if I have missed it since the late 1970s. So why not have a tune from that part of the region! It’s not a tune found in the Virginia part of the Blue Ridge but is associated with the Round Peak area of Surry County, NC within which sits the town of Mt Airy. It’s down the mountain and ‘down’ in North Carolina, but not far from where I live in Floyd County.

The tune is called Up Jumped Trouble, aka Hell Amongst the Round Peakers. The notion implied in the title seems relevant in these days of mistrust and craziness as societal change is long overdue to assure equal treatment of our people of color by law enforcement and white establishment.    

One of the groups ‘Pappy’  played fiddle in along with banjoist Snuffy Jenkins may be where Earnest got this tune. 

This back-up driven tune is played by the band Earnest East (fiddler) and the Pine Ridge Boys and Patsy from the early 1980s from Surry County, NC. Others in the group include Andy Cahan on banjo, Mac Snow and Scotty East on guitars, and Patsy East on bass.

Up Jumped Trouble by Earnest East (fiddler) and the Pine Ridge Boys and Patsy

If anyone has Up Jumped the Devil by Homer ‘Pappy’ Sherrill then please post it back to me or to this list for comparison.

Comment from Ole Rossel

You’re sure you didn’t mean Up Jumped The Devil, as played by Byron Parker & His Mountaineers (with Snuffy Jenkins on banjo) as attached?

Pretty boring tune (not much of a tune at all, actually) – not least in the Round Peak version. Byron Parker’s is a bit more fun, but I suspect Luther Davis would have approved of neither “tune” nor frenetic performance.

Keep up the good work.

Up Jumped The Devil by Byron Parker and His Mountaineers

Comment from Mac Traynham

Hey Ole,

Thanks for your response.

Yes, I couldn’t remember Byron Parker’s band’s name. Sometimes tune melodies are so simple that it is hard to bother if you mostly play by yourself for enjoyment. In this case, it’s about the energy and feeling of a group sound.  Why have a band if you are not going to play out and encourage audience participation and dancing? We have such a fast-paced dance tradition around here that simple melodies with a bare-bones bowing pattern have often developed. Even more melodic tunes can be played in a relaxed way on fiddle while the rest of the group does all the rhythm work to get the crowd going. The speed/groove thing is very important for an effective attraction for flatfoot dancers to get up. Sometimes it may be too frenetic for us old people. 

I would save such a tune as this for fiddling with just the right backup group with rock-solid timing.  I might fall asleep playing it by myself or with a dragging group of players that don’t really nail both parts of the beat. Up Jumped The Devil is not a good general jam tune, in my opinion.