Photograph by Anon. (c) - All Rights Reserved
Everything you ever wanted to know about ....
Joel Bailes

Joel Bailes began fiddling by ear on a neighbor's violin in 1963 at the age of 15. He progressed by listening to recordings of fiddlers like Woody Guthrie and Peter Stamphel who played so crudely that he could figure out what they were doing. The next year he joined the Folklore Society of Greater Washington as a charter member and heard his first live fiddler, the late Gus Meade. Three years later he traveled in Ireland for five months to play with other fiddlers.

In 1974 he was founding fiddler of the Bluemont Dance in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. After 1977 he hung out with the old-timey music crowd west of Philadelphia, sharing a house with Carl "Banjo" Baron. Moving to Washington DC in 1980, he fiddled with his band the Capitol Hillbillies for the weekly Capitol Hill Dance from 1983 to 1986. Working at the Library of Congress, his present employer, he came into contact with fiddler Alan Jabbour of the American Folklife Center and played with him at parties. Joel played with Ralph Rinzler regularly during the last year's of Ralph's life. (Ralph had been mandolinist for the Greenbriar boys, manager for Bill Monroe, discoverer of Doc Watson, and founder of the Bean Blossom, Newport Folk, and American Folklife festivals.) In recent years Joel has been fiddling in a Cajun band and directing his own primitive New Orleans-style jazz band, in which he plays barrelhouse piano. Being entirely self-taught he has developed his own style of fiddling featuring strongly rhythmic bowing with much syncopation and "power singing," as it is called by fiddling friend Steve Hickman of King George Virginia.

Joel has a web site for his New-Orleans style jazz band, "Barrelhouse Brawl"

For more information or just to say "Hi", why not send an e-mail message.
E-mail to Joel bailes.

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