Maggie Woods

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Maggie Woods hails from the Meadows of Dan area of the Virginia Appalachians, an area so thick with fiddlers that they sometimes have to stack them like firewood just to fit them all in at the contests.…
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Maggie Woods hails from the Meadows of Dan area of the Virginia Appalachians, an area so thick with fiddlers that they sometimes have to stack them like firewood just to fit them all in at the contests. As a guitarist, Woods has not spent her entire life backing up fiddlers, but many of her strums have been in the service of accompanying fiddle repertoire pieces such as "Saro," "Tommy Love," and "Susanna Gal." And that means she has spent time in the presence of people named Spangler, because in Patrick County, VA, that was the family dynasty of fiddle music, starting with Wallace W. Spangler, who died in 1926, and continuing through his son J.W. "Babe" Spangler and cousin Dudley Spangler. These latter two members of the Spangler clan were both recording partners of the guitarist, including a unique series of one-off recordings of fiddle tunes undertaken over several nights in a furniture store in Mt. Airy in 1948. Wood learned to play the guitar from any number of Patrick County musicians, picking up whatever was needed to back the fiddlers up at community dances. The style developed for this purpose combined a finger strum that was picked straight up with a fat downstroke from the thumb -- part of this technique is something few listeners might have thought funk and square dance music had in common. The manner in which Wood plays is a classic guitar accompanying style from this region, the nuances designed to enhance the sound of the fiddle repertoire. Despite marriage and raising children, Wood continued to play music and in fact, was the instigator of projects such as the previously mentioned furniture store recordings. She apparently felt compelled to take steps to preserve a musical repertoire that had always been handed down orally, but certainly could benefit from the option of documentation in the form of recordings. Although these recordings done by Wood, the Spangler pair, and fine three-finger-style banjoist Harry Pendleton were originally for private use only, the County label made a commercial pressing in the '70s. The album was released under the name of the Old Virginia Fiddlers, a band name created by J.W. "Babe" Spangler when he played with his brother Charles Langhorne "Tump" Spangler. For many years, Wood worked at a store along the Blue Ridge Parkway and continued playing guitar occasionally.