Andrew Jones | Bowing Down Home

Andrew Jones, 1991 (curator Ken Perlman is at left)

Biography

Andrew Jones’ father played fiddle quite well, despite having the use of just two left-hand fingers. At first, Andrew was forbidden access to the family fiddle, and had to “sneak” the instrument in order to play on it.

Jones started playing consistently at age 12 and within a year or two he was playing for dances. Over the next few decades, he played for house parties and weddings throughout much of Prince County. He recalls that on those few occasions where the fiddler was paid, the average wage was about $5-10 per night plus in some cases a bottle of ‘shine (homemade spirits).

For a couple of years in the 1930s, Andrew played regularly on radio station WSHJ, based in St. John, New Brunswick. He has also played occasionally on Summerside radio station CJRW, most recently the West Prince Party Line show. A frequent and enthusiastic competitor at fiddle contests from Charlottetown to Tignish, he was awarded first prize at least a dozen times.

Jones learned his repertoire both from local fiddlers and from radio broadcasts emanating from Cape Breton, New Brunswick, and Québec. He points out that tunes from “away” were often modified by local players in order both to suit step-dancers and fit the highly syncopated bowing attack favored by West Prince players (he illustrates the point by playing old and new versions of the well-known tune St. Anne’s Reel).

Tune Selections

Jones, Andrew - Growling Old Man Accompanied by: Ken Perlman, bjo
West Prince
info
Jones, Andrew - Jimmy MacKinnon of Smelt Brook Accompanied by: Ken Perlman, bjo
West Prince
info
Jones, Andrew - Lord MacDonald's Reel Accompanied by: Ken Perlman, bjo
West Prince
info
Jones, Andrew - Miramichi Fire, The Accompanied by: Ken Perlman, bjo
West Prince
info
Jones, Andrew - Pigeon on the Gatepost Accompanied by: Ken Perlman, bjo
West Prince
info
Jones, Andrew - Princess Reel Accompanied by: Ken Perlman, bjo
West Prince
info
Jones, Andrew - Skinner's Pond Jig / Cock of the North Accompanied by: unacc
West Prince
info
Jones, Andrew - St. Kilda Wedding / Trip to Windsor Accompanied by: Ken Perlman, bjo
West Prince
info
Jones, Andrew - Ste. Anne's Reel Accompanied by: Ken Perlman, bjo
West Prince
info

Oral Histories

Jones, Andrew - Changing tunes to suit the dancers How locals changed the way Ste. Anne's Reel is played to suit step-dancing style info and transcript
Jones, Andrew - Jones sneaks the fiddle Had to sneak the fiddle at first info and transcript

Video Clips