Feb 16, 2014

Gods how I hate violins...or not!

 The violin is probably my least favorite instrument and yet over the past decade or so, I've learned that that statement is the farthest thing from the truth.  It probably started with an old friend took me back to my Celtic roots about twelve years ago.  Between discovering Eileen Eivers and Natalie McMaster along with all the background strings in other modern Celtic music, I began to realize that the scratchy, squeaky, annoying sound of the highest register of that instrumental family was somehow necessary.  It was needed to soar above the mellow tones of the viola and cello and even to call attention to the resonance of the stand-up bass.

A few years later my youngest introduced me to Yellowcard.  Sean Mackin's fiddling sometimes gets lost in live mixes when dealing with sound techs who don't understand the instrument's role in this band's music.  However, Mackin had a chance to really shine in the re-release of Ocean Avenue the band did to celebrated their 10th anniversary.  Both the record and the subsequent tour were performed acoustic.  Without Sean's violin, it would have been every other indie album.

As I progressed through the alt and punk rock worlds, my Irish blood was stirred by Floggin' Molly, Dropkick Murphys and Flatfoot 56.  'Molly's fiddler is female and now the wife of the band's founder, Dave King.  Bridget who can "go to worship" with the boys and come to a Sunday set in her "Sunday best" and throw back Guinness with the best of them.  Surprisingly neither of the afore mentioned have a violin in the line-up.

2008 would bring the first face-to-face meeting with a young man who has become one of my longest standing and favorite "road kids".  Last summer I was finally allowed the chance to get him to tell a side of his story I'd wanted to share for quite a while.  'Jinxx' Jeremy Ferguson is a classically trained violinist who, I am convinced, carries at least a piece of his biggest idol's soul in his - Wolfgang Mozart.  Jinxx also got to reveal a tiny bit of his Irish heritage in our chat too.  Most have no idea that underneath all that black dye and make-up lives a freckle-faced strawberry blonde. Today many who are into the metal scene are very familiar with Jinxx and his part in Black Veil Brides.  So far this band is his most successful addition of the violin to rock and roll.

by Courtney Campbell 2013
I stumbled across Lindsey Stirling this afternoon in yet another fall of dominoes started by my friend Meghan Tonjes.  Lindsey had collaborated with the artist that Meghan had suggested.  When I dug into his catalog I found his collaboration with Lindsey for one of my favorite current mainstream pop artists, Bruno Mars.  You have to love how YouTube works with the listings down the side.  I was quickly drawn to another video/song collaboration Stirling did with one of my favorite a cappella groups, Pentatonix, to that chart burner, "Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons.  You know, that one long fucking hook that you can't hate.  Lindsey is a brilliant violinist and performer.  She reminds me of my dear friends in Lucent Dossier.  Actor, dancer and fiddler.  This gal has it all going on and her look is one that could work alongside my dear, dear friend, previously mentioned, Jinxx and the rest of Black Veil Brides.

So can I honestly say that I hate violins?  I guess not.  I mean I'm still glad neither of my kids took it up because I'm sure I would have taken my eardrums out with a fork a long, long time ago.  But could I sit and listen to someone scratch out a great rendition of "The Irish Washer Woman"?  Yeah, probably.