Instruments: Fiddle
Date of Birth: 1921
Place of Birth: McCalla, Alabama

Howard Colburn was born in McCalla in southwestern Jefferson County and grew up listening to the good fiddling of his father, grandfather, and the many fiddlers who came to play with them .His father, Webster Colburn, born in 1898, had begun fiddling after hearing a black fiddler playing "Hen Cackle" on a street in Selma. Web's father offered to buy him a fiddle if he would learn to play "Hen Cackle" like that. Both kept their promises; the fiddle was bought and Web, according to his son, learned to" play 'Hen Cackle' better than anybody I ever heard play it." Web Colburn married the daughter of Charlie Sellers, a noted Tuscaloosa fiddler, and often played for square dances with his father-in-law. Howard remembers Sunday afternoons when his father and other fiddlers would gather on Charlie Sellers' front porch.

Since Howard began playing at age five, his fiddle has never remained in its case for very long at a time. Retired from U.S. Steel where he worked as a heavy machinery operator, Colburn plays at fiddlers' conventions and at the Tannehill Opry, a jamboree held near his home in McCalla every Saturday night, sponsored by the local Old-Time Music Association.

Colburn learned "Home Again Blues" when he was 8 years old from a fiddler who was visiting his father. It is the sort of country blues tune found in the repertoires of many West Alabama/East Mississippi fiddlers of that time.

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame

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