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A Fiddle Story

Old Time Fiddlers in Georgia











While researching the origin of a popular fiddle tune called “Soldier’s Joy”, I came across this beautiful little anecdote from Tennessee and how it seems that back in the “Good Ole Days”, being a talented fiddler was an advantageous skill for anyone interested in serving as Governor of the Volunteer State.

“Some thirty or forty years ago, two brothers ran for governor of Tennessee. The one on the Republican ticket, and one on the Democrat. And they went around over the state fiddling. The Democrat was the best fiddler, and he was elected. But the Republican was a very shrewd man, as they have to be in Tennessee. So, he waited until the Democrats nominated a man who couldn’t fiddle, and then he ran again and was elected, about twenty years later.

This statement was made by Fred Colby as he introduced the Albert Gore Band in 1938. Since that time the fiddle has still, on occasion played a part in Tennessee politics, especially with the career of Albert Gore Sr. (father of Al Gore Jr.). Al Gore Sr. hailed from the Appalachian region of Eastern Tennessee and was quite an accomplished fiddler, even appearing on the stages of the Grand Ole Opry.

And like any smart politician, he was not afraid to use his musical talents to further his political career. Often pulling out the small stringed instrument on the campaign trail, Al Gore Sr. went on to represent the state of Tennessee in both bodies of Congress.  Maybe his namesake should have learned to play a fiddle.

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