Judges for the 2019 Competition

Trustin Baker

 

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Shawn Howe

 

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Larry Franklin

 

Larry Franklin grew up on a farm in Whitewright, Texas and began playing the fiddle when he was seven years old under the guidance of his father, Louis Franklin. Louis and his Uncle, Major Franklin, are legends in the world of Texas Style Fiddling and they were the ones Larry first learned to emulate. Larry eventually won most every fiddler’s contest in the state of Texas including the World Championship when he was l6 years old.

 

He began honing his chops with dance bands in high school and after a 3-year stint in the Army went on to co-found “The Cooder Browne Band”. They were signed by Willie Nelson to his label “Lone Star Records” and toured with Willie and released one album. After that Larry led “The Larry Franklin Band” across the country entertaining everyone with his brand of fiddle music. He went on to perform with “Asleep At The Wheel” for seven years, receiving two Grammies for Instrumental of the Year. The first in 1987 for String of Pars, a song he co-wrote, and again in 1988 for Sugarfoot Rag. They won again in 1999 with Bob’s Breakdowns on the Ride With Bob tribute album to Bob Wills featuring Larry, Vince Gill, Steve Wariner and Tommy Alsup, bringing his Grammy total to three! His style has grown from the diverse influences of Texas contest fiddling to embrace Country, Blues, Rock & Roll, Jazz and Western Swing.

 

He moved to Nashville in 1991 and began his career as a session musician and has performed on hundreds of hit records as you’ll see in his Discography. He currently resides in Brentwood, TN with his wife Donna. He continues to play on recording sessions and performs each Monday night with the Time Jumpers at “3rd & Lindsley” a night club in Nashville. The Time Jumpers are an 11-piece Western Swing/Country Group comprised of a group of very elite musicians and singers and features the 3 fiddles played by Kenny Sears, Joe Spivey and Larry.

 

He plans to continue recording and releasing his own albums. He has a home studio that doubles as a place to work on his songs as well as projects for other Artists and Songwriters

 



Tyler Andal

 

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Bobby Taylor

 

Bobby Taylor is a fourth generation West Virginia fiddler. He plays several styles of old-time and contest fiddling, but got his early start from the legendary Clark Kessinger, who influenced a world of fiddlers. He has a melting pot of old-time fiddle styles including the styles of his father Lincoln Taylor (1911-1995), Ed Haley, Mike Humphreys, Benny Thomasson, Reece B. Jarvis, Doc Roberts, French Carpenter and scores of others to name a few. He was the 1977 West Virginia State Open Fiddle Champion. In 2003, Bobby received the FOOTBRIDGE AWARD. This award was presented by FOOTMAD (Friends of Old-Time Music and Dance) for his contributions to old-time music. Bobby was presented The 2010 VANDALIA AWARD by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History. The Vandalia award is West Virginia’s highest folk-life honor. When fiddle enthusiast West Virginia Senator Robert C. Byrd passed away in July of 2010, Bobby was honored to be chosen to play Senator Byrd’s favorite fiddle tunes during the public visitation in the West Virginia Capitol Rotunda, and for the official memorial service. Bobby was also requested by the Byrd family to play for the private funeral services. He was inducted into the Mountain State Art and Craft Fair Hall of Fame in Ripley, WV in July of 2012 for his musical contributions to the State of West Virginia.  

 

Bobby has been the coordinator of West Virginia's Vandalia Gathering contests at the State Capitol in Charleston since 1979. He was the contest coordinator of the Appalachian Open Contest from 1984 through 1987, and he has been the contest coordinator of the Appalachian String Band Music Festival contest since 1990. All of these events are sponsored by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History. Bobby recently retired after serving for many years as the Library Manager of the West Virginia Archives and History Library Section of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History.

 

Bobby has judged the Tennessee, Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia state championships, and is a regular judge at the Old Fiddlers Convention in Galax, Virginia. He has judged the Grand Master Fiddle Championship in Nashville, TN since 2006 to present. He was selected to judge the 2007, 2010 and 2012 Western Open Fiddle Championship in Red Bluff, CA. He was a judge at Jana Jae’s Grand Lake National Fiddle Fest in 2006, 2007 and 2009 in Grove, OK. He was selected as a judge at the Grand National Fiddle Championship in Weiser, ID in 2008. Bobby is a certified national fiddle judge. He is a nationally recognized consultant on rules and judging procedures for heritage music competitions. He has taught fiddle workshops at the Augusta Heritage Center, Allegheny Echoes in West Virginia, the 2012 Midwest Banjo Camp in Michigan and at the 2013 Festival of American Fiddle Tunes in Port Townsend, WA. He has performed on musical tours in Australia and Ireland, and was a featured performer at the National Folk Festival in Australia in March of 2008. He was a featured performer at the Library of Congress and at the Kennedy Center on August 16, 2012. The Library of Congress show was recorded for their permanent collection.

 

In 1990, Bobby apprenticed and constructed a violin under the guidance of Harold M. Hayslett. Mr. Hayslett was a Violin Society of America “Gold Medal” winner for tone at the 1980 international competition.

 

Bobby currently judges extensively and presents historical showcases on fiddle styles with his old-time band “Kanawha Tradition.” It is not uncommon for historic fiddles once owned by great fiddlers such as Clark Kessinger and Ed Haley to show up at these events.  Bobby is the custodian of these historical instruments. 

News

The 2019 Grand Masters will return to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum's Ford Theater on August 31st and September 1st (Labor Day Weekend). Visit this website often for updates.

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