Condolences: TOTFA would like to express sincere sympathy to the Westmoreland family as we just received word that Gene Westmoreland passed away. Visitation will be on Friday, February 27, 2015, from 5:30-7:30, at Comanche Funeral Home; services will be Saturday, February 28, 2015, at 2:00, at Comanche School Gym.

Bart BakerThere are some very busy fiddlers in the city of Burleson, Texas. Valerie Ryals, Lydia Ryals (her sister), and Julie Morris (her daughter) have been busy with their group of talented students from Valerie’s Music Studio, in Burleson, Texas. The new, “Valerie’s Music ~ Texas Fiddle Orchestra,” has been in high demand since its creation in the fall of 2013. Several of our fellow TOTFA members (including two board members), are members of the Texas Fiddle Orchestra. Some of the Valerie’s Music alumni include musicians from Mumford and Sons, Asleep at the Wheel, a current American Idol contestant, and several Texas Country bands including: Pat Green, Aaron Watson, Kevin Fowler, Gary Kyle, Lincoln Durham, members of ZZ Top, and the current Mayor of Burleson, Texas. With the large group (ages 4-76) of fiddlers, guitarists, vocalists, mandolin players, and bass players, they are truly a sight to see! Champion musicians, with a focus on Texas-Style Fiddle Music and Western Swing, have made their orchestra in high demand! Just this past year, the orchestra performed at the Alamo, the Annual Red Steagall Cowboy Gathering, radio shows, “Good Morning Texas,” and various festivals in their community. They have also made the front pages of the Fort Worth Star Telegram and the local Johnson County newspaper.

TOTFA is very proud to have their participation and performances at our annual Benefit and Convention in Glen Rose, Texas. We are excited about the amount of fiddlers who have signed up, stayed, and played in our contest.

Valerie (owner of Valerie’s Music Studio and Texas Fiddle Hall of Fame Member) said it best, “It is extremely important to get our students out to perform in our communities and to learn, preserve, and promote the art of Texas oldtime fiddling. This will not only spark the interest for all ages to learn fiddle music, but entice communities to host fiddle contests and events.”

TOTFA is very proud of our members who are out spreading the love of Texas-Style Fiddling, and we thank Valerie Ryals, Lydia Stuart, Julie Morris, John & Marsha Crawford, and Bubba Hopkins for their constant support of the TOTFA through the Texas Fiddle Orchestra.

Stay in tune,

Bart Baker

TOTFA Balance Sheet...

Opening TOTFA Account Balance as of 12/22/2014 $3,201.97
Membership Revenue (currently active members) + 196.20
T-Shirt Sales + 19.12
Subtotal $3,417.29
January/December Newsletter Printing/Mailing - 126.94
Bank Service Fee - 12.00
Ending TOTFA Account Balance as of 01/25/2015 $3,278.75

The Devil's Box...

The Devil's Box available for purchase here!The Devil's Box is a fast paced jam-packed look at the world of contest fiddling. Every year contestants from all over the United States flock to the town of Hallettsville, Texas, to compete for the title of best Texas-style fiddler. Featuring performances from some of the greatest legends of American roots music, The Devil’s Box explores the beginnings of the art form and showcases the rising talents that will dominate the traditional music scene for years to come. The Devil’s Box is an instant classic, filled with fantastic music and great family fun. The 3-disc set includes:

Disc 1: The Devil's Box documentary, an 84-minute look at the world of contest fiddling and all of the major players involved. Bonus features include an extended history section of Texas-style, a four-minute movie of the Hallettsville Bar-BQ Cook-Off, Song Writers Serenade featurette, and an interview with the director Jason Hammond and producer Beth Jasper

Disc 2: The Devil's Box Bonus Disc features 42 complete fiddle tunes played by contestants from around the country as well as performances by Larry Franklin, Texas Shorty, and many, many more.

Disc 3 The Lost Benny Thomasson Tapes: This disc is a wonderful hour-long interview with the master himself, Benny Thomasson. Benny tells the story of Texas-style as only he knows it and plays 19 tunes like only he can. This interview from 1976 has been cleaned up and remastered and is the ideal tutorial for any fiddler who wants to hear the tunes exactly as Benny played them and learn some fascinating fiddle history along the way.

To buy the 3-disc set, click the "Buy Now" button below. You may pay with a credit card or a PayPal account. Thank you for your support! And spread the word about The Devil's Box - the happy documentary!


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