Judges for the 2023 Competition

Trustin Baker


Trustin Baker lives in Birchtree, MO and is a member of The Baker Family, a high energy bluegrass band located in south central Missouri who are frequently seen on RFD-TV. Some of his awards include:



2017, 2016, 2015 Runner-up Grand Master Fiddler Champion

2018 Great Lakes Fiddle Champion

2017 Tennessee State Grand Champion

2016 Arkansas State Champion

2016 Texas State gone to Texas Champion

2015 Tennessee State Grand Champion fiddler

2015 Arkansas State Champion

2014 Oklahoma Jr.. State fiddle champion

2013 Grand Master Fiddler Youth Champion

2011-2014 Missouri Jr. State Champion

2012 Texas freshman State Champion

2011-2012 Arkansas Jr State fiddle champion


Paul Anastasio


Paul Anastasio was born in Chicago in 1953 to a Julliard-trained oboist father and piano teacher mother. The family soon moved to Bellingham, Washington, where his father became an anthropology professor at the local college. Paul started playing the violin in the fourth grade. He soon became infatuated with popular and folk music.


In 1977 Paul was able to study and perform with jazz violin legend Joe Venuti.  Shortly thereafter, he joined the band of country legend Merle Haggard. After a little under six months with Merle, including a European tour and an Austin City Limits appearance, he joined Asleep at the Wheel and stayed for just under four years. Three years with Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers and two with Loretta Lynn followed.


In the early ‘90s Paul moved back to Washington State, continuing to play gigs and record swing CDs on his Swing Cat label. In 1996 he discovered Mexican violinist Juan Reynoso and was soon traveling to Mexico to record and study with Juan and many other old violinists. He continues to study this remarkable music today via Zoom lessons with Serafin Ibarra, a great folk violinist in the tradition of Juan Reynoso.


Paul has always loved old-time fiddling, especially the Texas style. He currently resides in Louisiana.


Amy Carwile


Amy Carwile comes from a musical family and was born and raised in Idaho but has made Kentucky her home for many years.


Playing the fiddle since age eight, Amy's championships include Northwest Regional,

Washington State, Colorado Open, Pend O’Reille International, and Rocky Mountain Young

Adult Championships.  She has served as a judge at the Alabama, Kentucky, Oregon,

Indiana, Tennessee, and Wyoming State Contests, Colorado and Idaho Open,

The World Championships of Fiddling, Northwest Regional, the National Old-Time

Fiddlers' Contest and The Grand Master Fiddler Championship.


In tandem with her private music instruction, Amy travels the U.S. and international locations conducting fiddle workshops

and master classes, as well as teaching at summer music camps including the International Fiddle School at Vanderbilt

University and the Mark O'Connor Berklee College of Music Summer String Program.  Amy currently performs as a duo

with her husband Daniel adding fiddle, piano, and vocals to their fusion of musical styles.  Together they own and

operate Forte Violin Academy and Carwile String Studio in Lexington, Kentucky.


Bill Jones


Bill Jones was born and raised in Nashville, TN and grew up in a musical family. He started playing violin at age 10 with the Metro Nashville School System strings program. A couple years after playing classical music, he and his father Barry branched into to old-time fiddle music and played with the Nashville Old Time String Band Association which gathered at Stratford High School in the evenings a few times per month.


Later on, Bill heard contest and “Texas style” fiddling and fell in love with the musical style. Soon, he learned some contest breakdowns and waltzes, and his father learned the rhythm chords on guitar – and from then on hardly a Saturday would pass where he and his father were not competing or jamming. Barry paid for the best music lessons that were available and Bill got to study with Crystal Plohman, Jim Wood, Loretta Brank, Luke Bulla, and Daniel Carwile. Some years later, Bill started playing rhythm guitar and tenor guitar which to him rivals his enjoyment of fiddling.


Bill earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering and Master of Business Administration from Tennessee Technological University. He is married to Heather, who is a nurse, and they have three boys - Weston, Harrison, and Greyson – and they live in East Tennessee.


Bill is a former Kentucky State Champion, US Grand National Young Adult Champion, Alabama State Champion and Tennessee Valley Fiddle Champion. Although busy with his family, Bill very much enjoys, competing, judging and playing guitar for other fiddlers whenever he can. 


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. 


The 2023 Grand Master Fiddler Championship moves this year to McAfee Concert Hall, on the campus of Belmont University in Nashville, on September 2nd and 3rd (Labor Day Weekend). Visit this website often for updates.

Print | Sitemap
© 2022 Carnes Group LLC. All Rights Reserved.