The Old-Time Herald Volume 13, Number 10

Fred McBride: Going Across the Mountain
By Lucas Pasley
courtesy of David Sawyer


Iremember the first time I saw Fred play, down at a little jam around Wilkesboro, North Carolina. I was young and in search of a real old-time sound, and when I heard Fred I almost fell on the floor. I drove straight home to Alleghany County and told my grandmother I'd found my hero fiddler. She smiled and said, “Well, what's his name?" "Fred McBride," I said reverently. She sat up in her recliner. "Fred McBride! Good Lord, you’ve known him your whole life—you've seen him at every family reunion you've ever been to!"

At our family reunion, Fred was always just part of the blur of old men standing together talking about the stuff old men talk about, while I was going back and forth from the playground to the food table at the Lion’s Club in Sparta. Now suddenly, Fred became a whole lot more. For starters, I learned that he was the nephew of Guy Brooks, who was the fiddler for the Red Fox Chasers and my grandmother’s uncle. He was also Faye Wagoner's (and my grandmother’s) first cousin. Faye was a wonderful guitar player who spent her Saturday nights making music with the Caudill family in Alleghany County. Finally, Fred was a living fiddler with one foot in a world of old-time fiddling the likes of which we will never hear again.

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