Reuben Smith | Bowing Down Home

Reuben Smith waltzes with wife at Tracadie Dance, 1991

Biography

Reuben Smith grew up in a major fiddling family. His father Charlie played, as did three maternal uncles: John James, Alec, and Andy McGuinness. His father’s brother, Larry Smith was one of the most accomplished players of his day.

When Reuben was young, his father used to play the fiddle for recreation in the evenings. Reuben decided he wanted to try it himself, and one day when his parents were out he “sneaked the fiddle.” His first tune was Cock of the North.

Most of the local house parties were held at his uncles’ homes, because all of them owned pianos and had daughters in residence who were skilled accompanists. Reuben found that if a fiddler he heard at one of these dances played a tune he liked, he could remember it pretty easily. He also learned tunes by listening to Cape Breton fiddlers on radio and recordings; his favorites were Winston Fitzgerald, Carl MacKenzie, and Buddy MacMaster.

Smith started playing regularly for dances in the Tracadie area about 1960. For many years he ran his own weekly square dance at the Tracadie Community Center. At first, his wife Theresa provided all the accompaniment on guitar. Later on they were joined by Kaye MacEachern on piano, and finally by Ron Myers on electric guitar and vocals.

Smith was a founding member of the PEI Fiddlers’ Society. Two of his original compositions are featured here: My Two Sons, and Kimmy’s Jig. Bluewater Waltz was composed by MacEachern.

Tune Selections

Smith, Reuben - Bluewater Waltz / Too Old to Dream Accompanied by: Kaye MacEachern, pno; Ron Myers, gtr; Theresa Smith, gtr
Western Queens
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Smith, Reuben - Crooked Stovepipe / Down Yonder / Island by the Sea / Redwing Accompanied by: Kaye MacEachern, pno; Ron Myers, gtr; Theresa Smith, gtr
Western Queens
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Smith, Reuben - Jackson's Jig Accompanied by: Kaye MacEachern, pno; Ron Myers, gtr; Theresa Smith, gtr
Western Queens
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Smith, Reuben - Jerry's Beaver Hat / Rosewood Jig Accompanied by: Kaye MacEachern, pno; Ron Myers, gtr; Theresa Smith, gtr
Western Queens
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Smith, Reuben - Joys of Wedlock / Highland Jig Accompanied by: Kaye MacEachern, pno; Ron Myers, gtr; Theresa Smith, gtr
Western Queens
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Smith, Reuben - Mrs. Norman MacKeigan Accompanied by: Kaye MacEachern, pno; Ron Myers, gtr; Theresa Smith, gtr
Western Queens
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Smith, Reuben - My Two Sons / Kimmy's Jig Accompanied by: Kaye MacEachern, pno; Ron Myers, gtr; Theresa Smith, gtr
Western Queens
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Smith, Reuben - Pigeon on the Gatepost Accompanied by: Kaye MacEachern, pno; Ron Myers, gtr; Theresa Smith, gtr
Western Queens
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Smith, Reuben - RSmith Reel 1 Accompanied by: Kaye MacEachern, pno; Ron Myers, gtr; Theresa Smith, gtr
Western Queens
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Smith, Reuben - Southern Melody / Polo March Accompanied by: Kaye MacEachern, pno; Ron Myers, gtr; Theresa Smith, gtr
Western Queens
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Oral Histories

Smith sneaks the fiddle Getting hold of the fiddle in his father's absence info and transcript
Smith’s style of tune learning If he heard a tune he liked at a dance he would take a crack at it when he went home; he could get them in his mind pretty easily; you learn the ones you like better; you can always tell someone who plays by ear, because you get all the extra details: they play "snappy music" info and transcript

Video Clips