Simon St. Pierre

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An ex-lumberjack, this burly resident of Maine learned to play the fiddle, and the French-American repertoire that went along with the instrument, in the lumbering camps of Northern Canada. The earliest…
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An ex-lumberjack, this burly resident of Maine learned to play the fiddle, and the French-American repertoire that went along with the instrument, in the lumbering camps of Northern Canada. The earliest recordings of Acadian music made by artists such as the great fiddler Isidore Soucy were the bedrock sources of much of this material and Simon St. Pierre later became something of a repository for fiddle-tune ore that younger generations of players were ready to dig. St. Pierre, who was featured on several recordings of traditional music during the '70s and '80s, was a more eclectic player than some of his peers, having also mastered the repertoire from what he called the "southern" school. This meant south of the border and further south, to the land of bluegrass and old-time. He would often spice up his performances of Quebec fiddle tunes with some of the latter styles and certainly had the clean tone and precise, fast-moving fingering a player would need to execute bluegrass tunes. He took this music seriously enough to front a band called the Dukes of Bluegrass, with whom he cut three albums for the Revonah label in the mid- and late '70s. Tracks from one of these albums, Fiddler From Maine, were still getting played on bluegrass radio shows a quartet of a century later. One of this artist's most versatile performances, however, did not involve hotshot bluegrass fiddling, but rather was a humorous and evocative imitation of a quarrelling couple, a traditional fiddle melodrama entitled "Growling Old Man and Woman." This piece was a regular part of St. Pierre's concert presentation and was recorded for posterity on the live Rounder compilation entitled Music of French America. St. Pierre is the composer of a number of fiddle tunes, including "Flanigan Polka" and the "Happy Acres Two Step."