Family fiddle maestros tear it up at Moxie’s
I was alerted to the coming of the Redding-based Clarridge Family Fiddlers by a couple of KZFR shows and was taken by the purity of the vocal on the Hank Williams song “I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive,” more Missouri than Nashville and strangely timeless.
Checking out the Clarridges’ Scotch & Swing CD before their gig, I was impressed not only by the purity of Tristan and Tashina Clarridge’s singing, but also by the realization that they are fiddle maestros accomplished beyond their years.
The vibe at Moxie’s was that of a sit-down, attentive audience comprised mostly of Butte Folk Music Society members who were glad they were witnessing a show by these siblings, now 16 and 20, four years older than the artists on the CD I listened to. Their voices were still high and pure, with harmonies on both fiddle and vocals having a familial blend that showed a lot of telepathic magic—most likely the result of much enthusiastic practice.
Ably and appropriately backed by local bassist Jerry Logan and mom Jan Clarridge on guitar, Tristan (on mandolin, cello and fiddle) and Tashina (on fiddle) put on a top-shelf show of mainly bluegrass tunes such as “Cold Frosty Morning” and “Jerusalem Ridge.” Their treatment of Pachelbel’s “Canon,” with first an abbreviated slow part, as in the original (great intonation and classical technique), then launching into the upbeat reel version à la Eileen Ivers/Pub Scouts, was wonderful.
Their versions of Scottish and Irish tunes showed techniques appropriate to those cultures. They may be wide-eyed in Paris some day, but they’re already speaking an international language: world-class musicianship.