Going to the Free State

Furnace Mountain at Watermelon Park Fest 2015. Danny Knicely dances part way through.

Key of A. Two chords: A & E7. The two parts are similar. Fiddles might cross tune AEAE.

  • This tune is usually associated with long bow fiddler John Ashby and his band the Free State Ramblers from Fauquier County Virginia. This tune is mentioned in the history of the Ashby family on Field Recorders' Collective. The Milliner-Koken book includes a transcription. Slippery Hill has an mp3. Utoob has a non-video.
  • My favorite recording is by Glen Smith (mp3 download at bottom of page).
  • Foghorn String Band [myspace] plays it faster.
  • Jason Miller on banjo [utoob].
  • Martin Metz on solo banjo [utoob].
  • Rebecca Adams on banjo [utoob].
  • Morrison Brothers [myspace]. Drums warning!
  • Nice fiddle in the Stony Brook tune list. You have to dig to find the mp3.

Not to be confused with...

The (old time tune) Free State Hornpipe and the (Irish tune) Irish Free State.

Free State?

Where is the free state? I've heard northern Virginia (when taxes weren't collected), Maryland (when prohibition wasn't ratified), the North (during the US Civil War), and Ireland (1922).

For students:

Chords to both parts are the same.

 |A---|A---|A---|E7--|A---|A---|E7--|A---||

Fiddle fingers, high part:

E|3033|10--|010-|0000|3033|10--|10--|----||
A|----|--22|---2|----|----|--22|--12|0000||
D|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----||
G|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----||

Fiddle fingers, low part:

E|----|0000|----|0000|----|0000|10--|0000||
A|--01|2222|--02|1111|--01|2222|--12|0000||
D|12--|----|12--|----|12--|----|----|----||
G|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----||

Here are alternates that use a low ending for the high part.

E|3033|10--|010-|0000|3033|10--|--0-|0000||
A|----|--22|---2|----|----|--22|12-2|0000||
D|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----||
G|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----||

...or adding a pinkie stretch...

E|3033|10--|010-|0000|3234|3100|----|0000||
A|----|--22|---2|----|----|----|210-|0000||
D|----|----|----|----|----|----|---2|----||
G|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----||

Play each part twice. Add slides & drones. Try saw stroke, long bow & shuffle.