Instruments: Fiddle
Place of Birth: Mentone, Alabama

James Bryan of Mentone grew up on Sand Mountain, the son of an old-time musician who took him to visit every fiddler in and around that place famous for fine folk musicians. He learned tunes from local repertoires as well as bluegrass tunes from master fiddler Kenny Baker; who accepted Bryan as an apprentice. He won his first fiddlers' convention at the age of 12 and the prestigious title of Tennessee Valley Fiddle King at the age of 17. He has recorded two solo albums on the Rounder label and many more with Norman and Nancy Blake as the Rising Fawn String Ensemble. He plays Southern old-time and bluegrass tunes learned by ear as well as vintage tunes from New England and Britain, collected from rare old tune books.

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame

Genres: Country

Instrument: Fiddle

Representative Songs: "The First of May", "Ora Lee", "Big Footed Man in the Sandy Lot"

Biography: James Bryan was born in Mentone, AL. A fiddler almost since birth, Bryan won his first competition at 12, apprenticed with bluegrass master Kenny Baker, and took the title of Tennessee Valley Fiddle King at 17. Bryan eventually joined Norman Blake's Rising Fawn String Ensemble, where his mastery of the fiddle and repertoire of old-timey songs was honed. He made his solo debut on Rounder with Lookout Blues in 1983; The First of May followed two years later. Both albums featured a mix of old-timey Southern tunes, many with twinges of their English and Scottish heritage intact. Bryan continued to perform throughout the 1980s, both solo and with Norman and Nancy Blake. In 1995, he released Two Pictures, a collaboration with guitarist Carl Jones. He continued to make regular appearances at bluegrass and folk festivals, often accompanied by his daughter Rachel Bryan on guitar. ~ Johnny Loftus, Rovi




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