He’s known as the “Flipping Fiddler,” and yes, Scott Woods will be doing the trick when he performs at the Shatford Centre next week.
“People are always asking me if I will be performing that trick. I still do it, near the end of the show, but I still do it,” chuckled Woods.
The three time Canadian fiddle champion isn’t just a heck of player, he also has a bag of stunts that he can perform including his signature playing while doing a somersault and bouncing up to his feet without losing a beat.
“I was doing that since I was about 10 or 11 years old. The fiddle contest circuit is kind of a serious grind. To try and lighten things up some of the organizers of the contests put a class in called tricking fancy or novelty and you can basically do whatever you want with a fiddle. That is what I came up with,” said Woods.
It is about as difficult as keeping your family sane on a cross country trip packed into an RV. Oh, and he does that too.
“It’s a 45-foot tour bus,” explains Woods. “It’s kind of like a great big family RV vacation except we have to set up and play a show every night. We do 36 shows in a span of 40 days from Ontario to B.C. and back.”
On this tour, the Scott Woods Band consists of his nephew, mom and friends that he has known so long he considers them family. Depending on their schedule, the tour can also include his sister, niece and others. But, it was from his dad that the passion for the fiddle was passed down. And, it was the generation before that passed that down to his father by learning to play the music by ear.
“That is still a primary part of the tradition today, a lot of students learn fiddle music listening to recordings and imitate. Also part of that tradition is passing music down and we are doing that literally through passing down actual instruments to family,” said Woods, who has passed along some of his own fiddles to his nieces and nephews.
As part of that tradition the Scott Woods Band is paying homage to this tradition on this tour they are calling the Fiddle Legends. They are recognizing fiddle legends such as Don Messer, Al Cherny, King Ganam, Graham Townsend, Ward Allen and more in a two-hour variety show. The performance is a mix of old time fiddling, traditional country, step dancing, gospel music, trick fiddling with some humour thrown in.
“We are honouring them in a very respectful humble way as a way to say thanks, we are following in your footsteps and recognizing we didn’t come up with this on our own. They set the standard and paced the way for us to play this music,” said Woods. “The show is a real mix. You don’t have to be a fiddle fan or a country music fan to get something out of it. We have 17-year-old Kyle Waymouth, who is our bass player, but is a Canadian champion step dancer and he goes about 100 miles an hour with his feet. He is absolutely phenomenal and it is worth the price of admission just to see him dance,” said Woods.
Woods said part of the magic of the show is seeing the tradition stay alive in the younger band mates and family he has.
“The crowd really gets a kick out of seeing the younger group playing this old-time music. They recognize the young people are playing the music from the heart and soul and it is inspiring because they know the music they grew up with and loved is going to continue for another generation to love it,” he said.
Many of the Scott Woods Band shows are hosted by community organizations across the country as a way to fundraise. In this case it is the Shatford Centre, which provide the community with cultural offerings.
“We like to see some of the money stay in the community as much as possible, it is a real bonus for us. We feel good knowing that when we leave town that we have helped out some group with their fundraising efforts,” said Woods. “They often say what you do for yourself dies with you, but what you do for others remains immortal. That is the motto we built our shows around and try to live by.”
The Scott Woods Band is at the Shatford Centre on May 31 at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for children 12 and kids under five are free.
Tickets to the show can be purchased at the Shatford Centre or by calling 250-770-7668.