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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Texas State Guitar Accompanist Contest

Katie Glassman (fiddle) and Jacob Johnson (guitar)
 perform during the Accompanist Division.

Every April down in the little Texas town of Hallettsville, hundreds gather to revel in the sounds of the Texas fiddle. Well into its 45th year, this event is one of the oldest in the United States. Down here, Texas fiddling is rewarded with praise, hollering and cash money. On Saturday, the out of state contestants give their best shot at the top prize of more than $1000, while the Top 20 are guaranteed at least $200. Sunday, the Texas residents play for the top prize of $1500 with a payout to the Top 20. This year, the best Accompanist was awarded $500 with a payout to the Top Ten.  

Judges Joel Whittinghill (left) and Tom Weisgerber (right) listen to 
Jim Reina (guitar) back Wes Westmoreland (fiddle) in the Accompanist Division.

Many fiddle contests do not award an accompanist division, and most that do, award the accompanist who appears most times on stage. This makes sense as those accompanists who work that hard should certainly be recognized! At Hallettsville, they do things differently. Here, the Accompanist Division is a judged division. Accompanists are asked to grab a fiddler and play a tune in front of accomplished guitar judges. This year, the judges were Kentucky native, Joel Whittinghill and Minnesota native, Tom Weisgerber. Both are well respected musicians and accompanists. They were tasked with awarding the top Texas style accompanist.

Tom Weisgerber

This year, Texas native, Anthony Mature was awarded top prize. Anthony has been backing fiddlers for a loong time! He has learned from some of the earliest players and backed some of the finest fiddlers in the country. Here are the complete final standings from the Texas State Accompanist Contest:

Congratulations Anthony!

More from Texas Style Guitar Backup Blog: 

1 comment:

  1. I noticed, and you already know this, how many of those top ten names are familiar but they are the next generation! It's great to see the style being passed forward. As I watch these younger guys on YouTube I see the enthusiasm on their faces and notice how they are adding their own new additions to the art, often moving way up the neck!! Thanks for your website!