Farmer's Reel | Bowing Down Home
About this tune
Farmer’s Reel is one of those rare tunes that seems to perfectly suit the playing styles of fiddlers across the Island. Whether they hale from Kings, Queens, or Prince Counties, fiddlers’ versions seem to be extremely lively, resonant, and replete with interesting twists. To get a good sense of their varied and contrasting styles, listen in particular to the following versions:
According to living memory, Farmer’s Reel began circulating on PEI in the 1930s. It seems to have originated in New Brunswick, and indeed I have encountered several conflicting claims among New Brunswick fiddlers regarding authorship. Most recordings of the tune made before the 1990s, including those by Don Messer and Québecois fiddler Jean Carigan went by the title Golden Wedding. Consequently, this is the name that most non-Islanders associate with the tune.
Notation for this tune as played by Stephen Toole is in Fiddle Music of Prince Edward Island.