David Coe fiddles for contra dancers

David Coe fiddles for contra dancers

March 25th, 2011 by Staff Report in Chattnow Outabout

IF YOU GO

What: Contra dance, featuring music by David Coe and Neil Stresser.

When: 8-11 p.m. Saturday (basic lesson at 7:30 p.m.).

Where: Allemande Hall, 7400 Standifer Gap Road.

Admission: $8 adults, $5 students and seniors 65-plus.

Phone: 876-7359.

Website: www.contranooga.org.

Note: All dances are taught in detail, and no dance experience or partner is needed.

SPRING DANCES

Chattanooga Traditional Dance Society holds contra dances 8-11 p.m. every other Saturday. Remaining dances this spring return to All Saints Academy, 310 E. Eighth St., on April 9 and 23, May 14 and 28.

The Chattanooga Traditional Dance Society will welcome a bona fide star to its Saturday contra dance.

Fiddler David Coe, perhaps best known for his backup work with cowboy singer Michael Martin Murphey, will provide the musical accompaniment for the dancers, with an assist from Neil Stresser. Caller will be Jane Ewing.

The dancers will take a break from their regular venue to tread the pine floor at Allemande Hall, 7400 Standifer Gap Road.

Known as a "strong and steady" dance fiddler, Coe first picked up the instrument in southern Oklahoma, where he was born and raised. Rather than the contest style popular in the region, he was drawn to old-time Appalachian tunes and traditional Irish fiddling. That interest led him to play in bluegrass bands at festivals around his home state, then later with country dance bands in Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico, according to his bio.

He was playing in New Mexico in the late 1970s when he met and began touring with Murphey. Their musical partnership continues to this day. They have played from Carnegie Hall to the Grand Ole Opry with many TV shows, studio recordings and live concerts along the way.

Murphey offered his enthusiastic encouragement as Coe pursued his interest in Irish music. Coe eventually made his way to Ireland, "studying at the prestigious Guinness School of Musicology (i.e., playing in pubs with great local Irish musicians)," says his press material.

Coe moved to Nashville in the late 1980s and has kept up a steady schedule of touring, recording and teaching. His CDs of fiddle music range from bluegrass ("Fiddlin' Man") to Irish ("The Traveler") to Appalachian offerings ("My Own House").