Temperance Talks

I started taking violin lessons at age 4, and despite what Bill tells you, that was more than 10 years ago. I didn’t see myself as a performer until I played for a wedding at age 11. I liked the way it felt to fill a cathedral with sound. 

I’ve played with violin masters and much older people since I was 14, so, I’m right at home playing with Bill. 

Classical music was my initial focus. I had my sights set on Carnegie Hall and was accepted by a distinguished teacher at Manhattan School of Music when I realized I wanted something more. I heard a bluegrass band at the mall in Ardmore, Oklahoma, my hometown, play “Orange Blossom Special” and thought, “Wow, that could be a challenge.” I made myself learn it and played it for the group the next week. They brought me all of their recordings to learn. 

Two months later, I moved to Nashville, studied with Daniel Carwile, a U. S. Grand Master fiddle champion, and just soaked up as much as I could from so many great musicians. Thinking I should do something sensible, I moved to Tupelo and began teaching violin, fell in love, and got married. It was when we relocated to Jackson that I discovered Bill, but he’ll tell you he discovered me. 

Our first instrumental together was “Turkey in the Straw” for a PBS children’s show. Killing time on the set, we began to sing “How’s the World Treating You.” Even though I’d always sung around the house and with Alan Sibley and Caleb Dennis in a gospel trio, I didn’t think of myself as a vocalist. Bill thought otherwise, which isn’t unusual since we tend to disagree on most things. But it was fun to be playing again, and I made the deal that I’d sing with him if he’d rehearse as much as I wanted. I don’t think he knew what he was getting into, but that’s why it’s worked. We both strive for excellence and agree on the quality we want in our songs. He’s much more extroverted than I am on stage, at least when he’s talking, so I sometimes have to get even with a fast fiddle tune.  

Right now, we’re pushing ourselves harder to add great material to our repertoire. I’m leaning toward a little western swing, upbeat country, and who knows what else. Just realize when you hear us perform that if we’re doing a song that’s bright and happy, it’s most likely one of my picks. If it’s about death and sorrow, it’s Bill’s.


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