Truman Price

Fiddle and …

Music of the frontiers

A slogan adopted years ago after many Oregon Trail concerts and other explorations:   okay, but is it complete?      My fiddle is a love affair.

      Truman 2014 where?

    Summer was nice.  Fiddled about half the Saturday mornings at the Independence Saturday Market; I’m good for about 2, 2 1/2 hours without a break, trying to play as wide a variety of songs and tunes as I can.
Still hoping
to figure out how to continue the Square Dance series, maybe out at Salt Creek, but nothing firm yet.
Had fun doing half a program at Brown House, Stayton, June 23, on violin history then fiddle.  Mark Babson did a tour of baroque/classical/romantic violin pieces; then old-time fiddle from me: (an overview of the different threads that have woven to make old-time fiddle, starting with the oldest tune, Soldier’s Joy, demonstrating how it can be played many ways but is still the same; describe the Scots/Scots-Irish migrations to Appalachia, and the Mixolydian mode of the bagpipe chanter; the influence of African-American fiddlers; their synthesis in a tune learned  in the New River Valley; for contrast, a regular New England/Eastern Canada tune; a French Canadian tune; in response to a question, stories about the Metis fiddlers; the influx of rags; swing; Scandinavian; a Norteno tune; a tune played in an open tuning; and, for where do all these things come from, how I came to make up “The Swallows”, and played that.  A one-hour romp through Old-Time Fiddle as I see it.)  For encore, Mark and I together did Tennessee Waltz — rather beautifully.)
The Metis question has inspired me to start working, at last, on Red River Jig.   Tricky! Not really a jig, I think; it feels like a regular 4/4 measure plus a half-measure, repeated many times. Very quickly.
The St. Paul Rodeo July 3 was fun. Got to open for, and play rest breaks for, the Bronco
Billy Band. I tried for old country-western alternating with every tune I could think of that mentioned large animals.  Finished with the song about a rodeo rider, heading home.
Then the Steam Punk Jane Austen Ball near Halloween was a kick — seeing all those people in extraordinary costumes wending through the hospitality tables in a Grand March on the upper floor of the Mission Mill Building, before the squares and reels.. I love doing this stuff!

Still hope to break even on the memoir:


Canora:  Notes from an Old-Time Fiddler,

Perfect-bound pb, 8.5″ , 254 pages


(… it’s gotten some nice comments from readers…)


Available direct from Truman, 7210 Helmick Road, Monmouth, OR 97361;
(Send check or cash, or email and I’ll ship with invoice.)  (It’s a little over half paid for now, 8 months in)
–  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  – – – – –  –  –  –  –

“Oregon’s leading student of music of the Oregon Trail era…”  (and I like several kinds of music).
Hundreds of concerts, fiddle or fiddle and vocal; solo or with True West Band or friends; also hundreds of dances called.

I wrote down the tune list after the Independence Saturday market on the first warm day of Spring this year.  Non-stop, 2 1/2 hours.   Tried not to get in a rut: at the end of each tune or song, go straight to  the next, but change key, and genre, and alternate between tunes and songs with lyrics.  60+ of ’em…  tunelist  here

There are a few old video song links near the bottom of this pageSep





CALENDAR Lots of old calendars here. –

Starting 2018:

Jan 9 – Homecoming Dance (squares!), Crosshill High School; music by Jon & Shannon Zilko
Feb 4 – 1/4 of an Oregon Trail Music concert at Brown House, Stayton: “Brief History of Old Time Fiddle”
Feb 11, 13, 14, 15: Four jams! Keizer; Fat Tuesday cajun party at Mission Mill; Monmouth Senior Center; Luna’s jam at OWC, Corvallis
March 31, Sat – Polk Folklife Festival, at WOU, Monmouth; 10-6  (hosting jams half the time, in the “jam room”).
April 21 – solo fiddle at Independence Saturday Market, 2 1/2 hours, tunelist  here
May 12, Sat – Independence Market A.M.; Mission Mill at 1; with OOTFA there 2:30- near 4
May 14, Sat – Square Dance at Crosshill School, with Worn-out Shoes
May, memorial day weekend– NW Folklife Festival, Seattle ..
June 15, 16 — all day, Rose City Book Fair, Portland
June 23, Sat, 10-11:30 – at Camas Mill Schoolhouse, Junction City: Pioneer Heritage Festival
June 23, Sat, 2-4:30 – Concert at Brown House, Stayton, 2-4:30; Mark Babson will deliver 3 baroque/classical/Romantic era Violin pieces, with commentary, then my explanatory romp through at least 8 different sub-genres of Fiddle music…
June 30 – May 12, Sat – Independence Market … unless:
July 3 ….  At the St. Paul Rodeo: 3-4 pm, then during breaks of Bronco Billy Band to 7 (Did “Sweet Wyoming Home”, the bronc rider’s lament for ’em).
July 14, Sat. 6 pm – Dance, Champoeg State Park, at the barn, 6-8:30, with “Worn-Out Shoes”
July 17, Wed., 2 pm. Waverly Place, Albany.
Aug 11, Sat. – Dance, Champoeg SP, at the barn, “Worn Out Shoes”; 100 people came…
Sept. 8 Sat – Square dance party, private, Oak Grove Road 3-5; with Worn-Out Shoes.
Sept 15, Sat – Brown House Heritage Center, Stayton, for an antique car rally (!), 1-3 pm. solo.
Sept 22-23 – Party at our house – Big ate E one! pre-party cider squeezing around noon, our apple trees… then all night music; some folks will camp in the orchard.
Sept 29, Sat – Brunk House, by Hwy 22 E of Rickreall, 11-1, solo, for Heritage Soc. Apple Festival.
Oct. 1, Sun – Minto Brown Growers’ End of Season party – 3/8 mile up Brown Island Road off S. River Road; tour at 4 pm, food & music at 5, then old-time dances; with Jon & Shannon Zilka
Oct 3, Wed – Waverly Place, Albany, solo 2 pm
Oct. 26, Fri – “Jane Austen Steampunk Ball” – fun! With Jon and Shannon Zilka on guitar and 1st fiddle

Dec. 12 Wed – the annual dance for the Guadelupe, St Patrick‘s Church, Independence, 7 – (& great food after).  .  About the Dancers for Guadelupe Celebrations [[Description & 2-3 photos]

Some of 2017:

Jan 14 Sat – 7 pm, Guthrie Park Hall, near Dallas: Square Dance, Tru calling, Cash & Co. music
Feb 11 Sat – 7-9:30 pm, Guthrie Park: Square Dance, Tru calling, Cash & Co. music [John Doan brought a Japanese class from Willamette U; they came early and got a half hour just for them!]
Feb 15 Tues 12-1 pm, Capitol Rotunda, Salem; Music of the Oregon Trail, solo [that was fun – a class from St. Jo’s came for the concert, and a few older folks. The rotunda was so noisy! we moved up the stairs, then into the loft over the Senate chamber – that worked.
Feb 28 Tues 12-3,  Mardi Gras, at Max’s shop, Mission Mill [Great food; and decent faux Cajun music]
Mar 5, Sun, 1-3  Bev’s 95th birthday party, Monmouth
Mar 11 – Guthrie Park, near Dallas: Square Dance, Tru calling, Cash & Co. music
Mar 8, Wed, 6:30-8: Sr. Ctr, Monmouth
April 6,7- OOTFA Convo, Rickreall; lots of jamming, & a bit in Friday night concert
April 8 – Guthrie Park, near Dallas: Square Dance, Tru calling, Cash & Co. music
May  5 – Cinco de Mayo party at Mission Mill
May 13 – Music of the Oregon Trail, solo, 10:30-12, at Willamette Heritage Center.
May 13 – Guthrie Park, near Dallas: Square Dance, Tru calling, Cash & Co. music
May 28, Saturday, 12:20-1:20 : NW Folklife Festival (Seattle), Alki Court; with Adam Price
June 10 – Living History Festival, 2 sets; Pioneer Schoolhouse north of Eugene airport
June 16, 17 — all day, Rose City Book Fair, Portland
June 24, Sat @ noon- World Beat Festival, Salem; True West Adventures, or maybe Whirled Beets… With Wes, Paul, Don Taco – lively music!
July 8, Sat. Dance at Champoeg,  6-8:30, music by Worn-out Shoes (and an Oregon Trail song or two)
July 10 — A pleasant 2.5 hours fiddling for “1st Step Clinic” in Salem –
August 13Square dance: Salt Creek School, Worn Out Shoes

Moon songs at eclipse party: Vivian Williams, Adam Price, Tru & Suzi, W. B. Reid, Kevin

Aug 19, 20, 21 -Eclipse party, our house, lots of music
Aug 30 – Interview by Kurt Dugan and John Adams, on KMUZ
Aug 31 – Calling, Dance at Hillsboro school, with Worn-Out Shoes’ music
Sept. 4 – with the whole Keizer jam gang –  Knox Presbyterian Picnic, 5 pm
Sept. 10, Keizer jam: Tunes that were played
Sept 16 – solo – at Newell Pioneer Village, by Champoeg park 11-4 – music & dancing
Sept. 22, Fri – Old Time Dance, at Oak Grove Grange, 2760 Oak Grove Rd, Rickreall; music by Worn-Out Shoes. Truman calling and helpin’ with the fiddle.
Oct 1:  Annual CSA potluck/music & square dance at Minto Brown Growers’ farm stand, 3394 Brown Island Road So, Sale. With Worn-Out Shoes. 4:30 to 7 pm. Get there early!
Oct 18 – Book Reading/with fiddle: at Book Bin, Salem
Oct 19 – Book Reading /with fiddle: at Book Bin, Corvallis
Oct.26 – Old Time Dance, at Oak Grove Grange, 2760 Oak Grove Rd, Rickreall; music by Worn-Out Shoes with fiddle by Shannon Zilka. Truman calling and helpin’ a bit with fiddle.
Dec 2 – Wandering Fiddler at Newell House, Champoeg, 3-6 pm; Oregon trail, carols, Ingalls family… and a schottische or waltz or two.
Dec 14 – for the Guadelupe Dancers, St Patrick‘s Church, Independence, 7 – (& great food after).  .  About the Dancers for Guadelupe Celebrations [[Description & 2-3 photos]

poke here for some of 2016

 poke here for 2015 –,  Lots of old calendars here. … & a few old photos

  • 1800’s Reel at Newell House, solo – Suzanne on the left –

    Local Jams:
    Appalachian fiddle tunes: There is a very nice Appalachian fiddle tunes jam in Keizer on the second Sunday of each month. Inquire here, or of Roger Applegate.   Here’s a few recent tunelists.   Same group sometimes at our house on the Third Sunday, not summer, erratically. About half of the core group of 15 or so musicians show up at any particular jam.Inquire.
    General fiddle jam: in Corvallis, 1st Thursdays of each month; at Old World Deli, 7 pm; hosted by OOTFA … A good varied jam.
    Appalachian fiddle tunes: in Corvallis, 3rd Thursdays of each month; at Old World Deli, 7 pm; hosted by John Luna (when he’s not in town, it is not)
    Second Wednesday every month, a few friends practice/perform for a small but regular audience at the Monmouth Senior Center, 6:30 – 8pm; come in, musicians and listeners welcome!
    General jam: Guthrie Park, 3 miles south of Dallas at 4320 Kings Valley Hwy, has been running every Friday night, 6:30-10 pm, for 28 years (I never missed a Friday in the first ten years or so).  [[Note — I stopped last year for a while after a musician dropped a gun on the stage…]] .. but I go sometimes.  It was a very large jam – 10 to  20 musicians each week, a large and faithful audience and folks dancing.  A strict rotation around the circle of musicians around the floor is followed (a dominant group sit on the edge of the stage, with a mushy 12-string and a loud accordion, and often find excuses for extra turns for themselves). Music includes country-western, older pop, folk, fiddle tunes and waltzes. If weather is nice,  fiddlers may move out to the porch.]]
    – – – – –


Ancient History department:




“An Appalachian Christmas” with Jane Keefer and Tim Crosby was such a fun gig!  Asked to present a one-hour program,      we studied, practiced together once  and nailed it: simply  great: widely varied, perfect; many groups around the valley would love to have it  —  if only they knew about it!




Appalachian Christmas AdAn Appalachian Christmas – “Presenting three of the valley’s most respected folk musicians Truman Price, Jane Keefer, Tim Crosby.”   details
  • About the Oregon Trail music and lore:
    30 years ago, having returned to Oregon after many years of random fiddling, including a  few years in West Virginia, I was asked to put together a 40-minute set of authentic music of the Oregon Trail as introductions for 16 performances of the Oregon Trail Pageant at Champoeg.  I researched and with Jane Keefer recorded a cassette collection (now a CD, Songs of the Oregon Trail  , and did 16 performances there each year.
  • Later the Oregon Historical Society sponsored 50+ one-hour presentations, schools, libraries, conventions; usually solo, sometimes Adam Truman 8duo or trio with True West Band.  Since then have done many more, from a few songs to two hours +…  the material is wide-open…  (The two-hour set seemed short!)
    Might also mention the dances: taught old-time dances to about 15,000 kids grades 1-6, in 60+ schools, through Artists in School.
  •                                                Seattle concert with son Adam Price – fine banjoist, person! —>
  • <— Aside: For twenty years I’ve been fiddler for the annual Guadelupe dances on/around Dec. 12 with the local Mexican community.  A wonderful experience.  Anyone can attend, and the food after is super.
  • Here’s a page  About the Dances for Guadelupe Celebrations
  • – – – – –
  • Some Youtube Video: Solos filmed by Josh Meredith & Bob Zybach near Corvallis 2005, part of a presentation on the old California-Oregon Trail which ran through that meadow.  Note: We had just spent two hours finding camas roots and grubbing blackberry vines out of the watershed, and were all kinda muddy!  (“Out standing n the field!”)

    A few nice verses of June Apple filmed by Ray Leach at Centralia Campout August 2005, trio with Adam Price and Tom Peloso (of Modest Mouse):

    These are with Adam on banjo, at Northwest Folklife Festival, Seattle, Memorial Day Weekend 2007:

    Most of these videos, and a few others, are on YouTube, some with nice comments – poke here, or just enter the words “old time fiddle” and see what comes up!—

    – – – – –
    Two CD’s:

    – – – – –

    Lessons: I’ve taught, beginning violin to advanced fiddle, for many years. Several former students have become impressive players and bandleaders. Also have enjoyed doing a workshop “fiddle for violinists” , seven times at NW Folklife and also for the Oregon Oldtime Fiddlers annual convention in Rickreall; always with good feedback.

    SameThinginJune2 StopScaringTheCows2
     From the desk window in Early Spring . . . . . . Same thing in June, with organic Jerseys . . . . . .   Hey, Stop Scaring My Cows!
    Books:  We make part of our living selling antiquarian books, especially children’s literature, and Suzanne’s site at is really nice.  Also I offer a few hundred titles of folk music which can be searched here. (not my personal collection of a few hundred more)  For more titles, change the keywords… e.g. “music” or “fiddle”.
    truprice at gmail dot com