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The Year of Ward Jarvis: Icy Mountain (UPDATED)

Three months have passed since I provided my last update on my "Year of Ward Jarvis" project. As you may recall, I targeted six tunes to learn by Athens County, Ohio, resident and West Virginia native Ward Jarvis. The first one I learned was "Head of the Creek." Next up is "Icy Mountain," another AEAE tune.

My source recordings were from Jeff Goehring via the Field Recorders' Collective and from David Brose via some kind folks at the Fiddle Hangout. I also referred to the notation from the Milliner-Koken Collection of American Fiddle Tunes and a YouTube video by David Bragger.

I took my first crack at "Icy Mountain" back on April 22, but I didn't really focus too hard on learning it until mid-May. I struggled with it for weeks, but then my progress took a major leap on June 6. I feel like I finally have a handle on the full tune, though I’m still working out some kinks in the B parts.

A quick banjo note: I have also figured out both "Head of the Creek" and "Icy Mountain" on banjo. Having the tunes in my head on both instruments has really helped in terms of memorization.

It's a bit frustrating to look back on my progress since I moved on from "Head of the Creek" at the end of February. Instead of continuing with the next Jarvis tune, I basically took two months off to learn some more common tunes I felt I had neglected. Then after my initial attempt to learn "Icy Mountain" in April, I took a break to focus on my core tunes in preparation for playing some tunes with a friend. It wasn't until after that when I really buckled down on this tune.

Now I wonder where I'd be on my list now if I hadn't veered off course. If I really focus, can I catch up? That would mean averaging a new tune ever month and a half for the rest of the year.

My next tunes is "Tomahawk," another one in AEAE tuning.

Here's me playing "Icy Mountain." This was recorded yesterday in my sweltering hot attic while my fingers were very sweaty. Excuse the warts, but I appreciate any feedback. If the player below doesn't work, try this link.



Here's a second take, recorded June 19. Again, here's the link.

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