Red Prairie Dawn

Jam at Centralia Campout, an annual festival in Washington State. Red Prairie Dawn in A.

Key of A (sometimes G). This tune is made for cross tuned fiddles: AEAE (or GDGD). The two parts are very similar, at least in old time. The second part starts an with an F#m chord, at least in old time. There is quite a bit of variation in the renditions listed below, possibly because the original recording is hard to find.

  • Water Tower Bucket Boys [utoob] in A. They say, "An old fiddle tune" but it is not that old. They also say something else that we won't repeat here. We love their Greasy Coat [OTF].
  • Foghorn Stringband live [utoob] fast in A.
  • Fiddle & mandolin duet [utoob] slow in A.
  • Slow instructional videos for fiddle in A: [slow] [slower]
  • Solo fiddle [mp3] in G. This is one of many beautiful recordings at Centralia Parlor Pickers.
  • A jam in Tuscon [utoob]. J-Walk blogged about the day those two fiddlers showed up and taught the old guys a whole bunch of tunes.
  • Slow bluegrass in G [utoob] with more chord changes. The cinematography but reveals more noses than chord changes.
  • Chords in G [SlowerThanDirt] and tab in A [TaterJoes] but you can't trust either one.


  • The tune was written by Garry Harrison of Illinois. He was interviewed by OldTimeHerald. He also wrote Dull Chisel.
  • Garry Harrison's CD called Red Prairie Dawn is out of print and we cannot find it on-line. Have a copy?
  • Garry Harrison played with the New Mules. We have this CD from the post-Harrison era with a great Jenny tune.
  • Thanks to Heather who remembered the tune and assembled the links for OTF.