Wood, Richard | Bowing Down Home

Showcase with Brad Fremlin and Gordon BelsherImage copyright Richard Wood. Photographer: Lorne Miller.


Richard Wood is currently one of the very few individuals on PEI who can describe themselves as full time professional fiddlers. His activities as a touring soloist and as a member of prominent music ensembles have garnered him an international reputation as a fiddle virtuoso of the first order. Some of the several CDs he has released over the years are All Fired Up, Fire Dance, and Come Dance with Me.

In 1991, Wood was a young step-dancing prodigy who was in the process of rapidly becoming a fiddling prodigy. From an Islanders’ viewpoint, two things about Wood stood out at the time. First, he did NOT hale from Northeast Kings County, West Prince County, or some other hotbed of fiddling (he in fact grew up in the environs of Charlottetown). Second -- and even more puzzling -- there was no history of fiddling in his family. Islanders simply couldn’t quite make out where all that talent came from.

Richard had already put out a couple of commercial recordings by the mid-1990s when an appearance at the East Coast Music Awards brought him an offer to tour in Europe. Over the next 10 years he put together a number of ensembles and toured the UK, western Europe, North America, and Japan. Along the way, he worked in the backup band for pop-star Shania Twayne, and for a few years he toured as a featured guest artist with the well-known Irish group, the Cheiftians.

When Wood was a youngster his father frequently took him on unannounced visits among the Island’s old time fiddle players, particularly those from outlying areas of Kings County. Under his father’s watchful eye, the “old fellers” and the youngster would chat and swap tunes, the oldsters would offer advice, and so on. Wood remembers these visits fondly, and there’s no telling how many tunes and stylistic elements he picked up in their course. More than anything else, it seems to have been these visits that grounded him in Island culture and connected him to its musical past.

Medleys appear here from both 1991 and 2006 sessions, giving listeners an opportunity to monitor Wood’s musical growth (the 1991 medleys begin with Glencoe March and Richie’s Hornpipe).

Oral Histories

Richard Wood - Learning tunes and life-lessons from old-timers When he was 9 a lot of his best friends were 55 and 60, meeting up with older fiddlers; talking licks and music with them, and playing pno for them, you learned about life "get big but don't get too big…" info and transcript
Richard Wood - Visiting with older fiddlers Father took him to meet older fiddlers and play with them; meet them also at concerts and ceilidhs info and transcript