(Cross-posted from Josh’s blog.)
In honor of International Women’s Day, here’s a post about women who play old-time music. There’s a perception that old-time is a genre mainly for and by old white men. I’ll grant that the old-time scenes I’m aware of are awfully white, but a lot of musicians I respect are women. Here are some of them, with the only selection criteria being that they’re living and they’re the ones I thought of during my commute this morning:
Gabrielle Macrae, Joanna Macrae, & Marian Macrae Herrmann: The Macrae Sisters
I can’t find any videos of Maya playing, but she’s a fine musician in addition to being the archivist of the Canotes’ string band class.
Sandy Bradley was a real presence for me, growing up in Seattle in the ’80s and ’90s. She was a big part of Seattle’s square dance revival in the 70s, and her “Potluck” variety show on the radio informed a lot of my musical tastes (and I hear a lot of the Canotes, who were the house band, in my playing now). My first fiddle and bass were bought at the instrument auction she ran at Folklife. She dropped out of the scene around the late 90s, and recordings are hard to find now. Finding a used copy of Hollow Rock Legacy is probably your best bet. Here’s the first part of a more recent three part interview with her: