Appalachian BeatBox

FiddleFoxx, named in part after beatboxer Steve Foxx, provided one of the highlights of last summer’s annual Creative Strings Workshop and Festival.

typical night during the workshop

typical night during the workshop

Watch the video below for a tune from their concert at Dick’s Den (The annual festival boasts 25 performances through 6 days in July with all kinds of freaky string players from around the world). Fiddle players that see this band can’t help but think, “Oh, I so wish I had that idea first”…

Music historians talk about the connection between “black” and “white” music in the old American South, i.e., both the Irish and African roots of Appalachian “Old Time” music (fiddle tunes preserved through an oral tradition since the 1800s), and how this branched off into bluegrass, Texas contest style, southern gospel, country, rock, etc… But I think that when most people think of bluegrass or other American fiddle styles, they have a hard time hearing the African element , i.e., blues, within the music.

That’s just a longwinded analytical take on what’s so cool about FiddleFoxx-throw in a beatboxer and you can’t miss the element of Blues-vis a vis hip hop- in Appalachian, i.e., “Old Time” FIddle tunes.

If you really want to know more about the African roots of Old Time fiddle, check out my friend Bruce Molsky . He can talk eloquently about it, and his playing takes into account certain poly-rhythmic, organic, soulful elements that seem to be close to the “source”.

Fiddle Foxx is made up of:


Andy Reiner on fiddle. Andy was a student of mine for a while at Berklee, and he has written tons of cool original tunes inspired by the old time style. He’s written some cool orchestral tunes as well, is teaching in Boston in between all his big ideas, and has a new book coming out.

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Stash Wyslouch is in high demand as a particularly cool young guitarist with an ear for taking new acoustic music in different directions. He’s also working with the Boston Boys and the Deadly Gentlemen while finishing his degree at Berklee in Boston.

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Boston-based Steve Foxx plays drumset as well as beat boxing. He’s fluent in jazz and a bunch of styles. He’s the most musical beatboxer I’ve encountered.

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