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The Year of Ward Jarvis: Head of the Creek

Since declaring this The Year of Ward Jarvis earlier this year, I have dedicated myself to learning some tunes from the repertoire of Ward Jarvis, a fiddler who lived in Athens County, Ohio, and was an influence on a number of old-time musicians in the state.

Over the last couple months, I managed to track down the recordings of David Brose and digital copies of the two LPs he produced, thanks to some helpful folks at the Fiddle Hangout.

The first tune on my list was "Head of the Creek," played in AEAE. My primary source was Jarvis's playing on the Field Recorder's Collective release FRC402, with a transcription from the Milliner-Koken Collection of American Fiddle Tunes. I also have Jeff Goehring's version on FRC601.

In addition, there are some recordings available on YouTube, such as Jimmy Triplet, Kerry Blech and others. Some of those versions are played in GDGD. A few of the videos mention Lester McCumbers as the source, as in the Blech video he talks about the connection between Jarvis and McCumbers.

As for the discrepancy between the tuning, it may be my fault for trusting the Milliner-Koken book, which lists anything cross-tuned as AEAE regardless of actual key. To my ear, it sounds right, but I haven't tried GDGD. If you have a definitive answer, please let me know in the comments.

So, after a month and a half of work, I present my attempt at "Head of the Creek." To me, something still feels off. I'm just not quite sure how to fix it. Any comments are appreciated. (Here's link to the SoundCloud track if the embed doesn't work for you.)

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