State Park Bluegrass Festival
champ Carwile and wife
to appear in Ripley County
(October 2005) As a curious 7-year-old, Daniel Carwile found
his first fiddle while snooping under his fathers bed. The instrument
was meant to be a surprise gift, but the youngster couldnt wait.
and Amy Carwile will perform
at noon on Oct. 2 in Versailles, Ind.
Carwile, now 31, hasnt stopped playing since. He
had plenty of influence getting started his father played
in a bluegrass band and his grandfather was a competitive fiddler in
Tennessee and Alabama.
One of Carwiles earliest victories was the 1987 Tennessee Valley
Old Time Fiddlers Convention. Carwile won the event again in 2001, making
him a seven-time Fiddle King.
Now the reigning U.S. Grand Master Fiddle Champion, Carwile will perform
at this years Versailles State Park Bluegrass Festival with his
wife, Amy. Listeners can expect to hear a blend of styles from the duo,
Carwile said in a September telephone interview from his studio in Lexington,
My wife and I play a mix of things. We play twin fiddles on bluegrass,
old time, Celtic and classical.
The outdoor festival runs from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1; and
from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 2. Admission is $5. Several favorites
will perform, including Hoosier Hills, James Kramer Project, Skynny
Lynyrd, Rural Route 2, James White, Born Again, Sons of Thunder, Lost
Mill String Band and others. A jam session and bonfire will take place
Saturday at 7 p.m. The Carwiles will perform at noon Sunday.
Im looking forward to it, said Carwile. Weve
been playing a lot of festivals lately, and we always enjoy the reception
Carwile studied music at the University of Northern Alabama before earning
his bachelors degree in music education from Vanderbilt Universitys
Blair School of Music. He spent three years as a band director in his
hometown of Athens, Ala. While judging a championship in Idaho, Carwile
met his wife, and the two eventually moved to Nashville, Tenn., where
Carwile taught fiddle lessons. He also found work recording and performing
with artists including Bela Fleck, Martin Hayes, Allison Krauss and
Just last year, the Carwiles moved to Lexington and opened Carwile String
Studio. There, they produce instructional videos and teach lessons and
workshops on fiddle and other instruments.
Im looking for a balance. I feel gifted as a performer and
a teacher, Carwile said.
In October 2004 at the International Bluegrass Music Associations
annual contest, Carwile captured the coveted U.S. Grand Master Fiddle
Champion title. The rules of the contest make it especially difficult,
he explained. Carwile was selected through a preliminary audition as
one of the five walk-ons.
In the first round, there are 25 fiddlers, and 20 of them are
by invitation only, he said.
During the first round, fiddlers are limited to six minutes and must
perform a breakdown, a waltz and a song of their choice. Ten fiddlers
proceed to the second round, and must again perform a breakdown, a waltz
and a song of their choice, this time with eight minutes. A team of
judges, who listen to all performances in a remote booth, unaware of
the contestants names and appearances, select a winner from the
As the reigning champion, Carwile is ineligible to compete in this years
contest but will judge the event later this month. While there, he will
perform at the Grand Ole Oprys Ryman Auditorium as part of the
IBMAs awards show, held annually in conjunction with the fiddle
championship. Carwile has played at the Opry before as part of a tribute
to Roy Acuff. This time, the fiddler will play in another tribute, called
Moody Bluegrass, which honors the Moody Blues.
For more information on the Versailles Bluegrass Festival, call
the Ripley County Tourism Bureau at 1-888-747-5394, or visit: www.versaillesbluegrassfestival.com.
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