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Music

Ryan & Brennish Thomson

Updated October 3, 2021

Articles and Reviews by Ryan Thomson

Making Music Left Handed.

My interests in "old time" music.

The Celtic Traveler, Oct 7, 2001.

Scottish and Cape Breton classes at Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, 2001.

More on playing violin left handed, and a link to my book on playing left handed.

A Night at the Ceili.

Origin of Jenny Lind Polka. (reel)

Is Cajun Music Jazz?

Common Irish Session Tunes.  Ryan Thomson's List

Violin and Fiddle Bow Rehairing.

• 1970's Contra Dance Scene in Southern California .

Fiddle techniques, for learning and playing, answers to questions. FAQ

Hazards of a musician's life on the road.

• The difference between "Songs," and "Fiddle Tunes."

• On piano accompaniment to fiddle tunes.

• On Selling violins through the internet.

• On memorization.

How much is my old violin worth?

Scottish fiddlers keep up the village traditions.

Fitting a shoulder rest to a violin.

Chicken Cheek Tweakers old time string band in San Diego.

• Country, square, and contra dances in Newmarket, New Hampshire


Focal Dystonia and other musician's disabilities:

Being a musician with focal dystonia.

Learning to fiddle with a disability.

Piano player with dystonia learns the violin.

Possible solution to flute player's dilemma with dystonia.


Reviews of fiddling and folk music events:

As a tune collector/performer/teacher, I travel to many festivals and music and dance camps. I write reviews of events I've attended and post them here. Some of these reviews have been or will be published in other printed folk or fiddling publications. There are many events for which I have not yet written reviews, and I will gradually add them to this page as they are finished.


14 th Irish Festival at the Irish Cultural Center of New England, 2004.

Black Creek Fiddler's Reunion, Altamont, New York, 2002.

North American Folk Music and Dance Alliance annual meeting, 2002.

Fiddleheads String Band Camp, New Hampshire, 2001.

Rocky Mountain Fiddle Camp, Colorado, 2001.

Festival of American Fiddle Tunes 1996, Port Townsend, Washington.

Festival of American Fiddle Tunes 1997, Port Townsend, Washington.

Festival of American Fiddle Tunes 2001, Port Townsend, Washington.

Ashokan Fiddle and Dance Camp, Northern Week, 2001.

• Augusta Heritage Center Irish Week, Elkins, West Virginia, 1996.

• Augusta Heritage Center Irish Week, Elkins, West Virginia, 1998.

• Augusta Heritage Center Irish Week, Elkins, West Virginia, 1999.

• Augusta Heritage Center  Irish and French Canadian Week, 2001.

Stonehill College Irish Festival, 2000.

• SAMW Summer Acoustic Music Week, 1997.

Wheatland Folk Festival, Remus, Michigan, 1997.

Northumbrian Piper's Convention. August, 1997.

• Dance Grand Rapids Irish Ceili, 1997.

Folk Project Fall Festival, Northwest New Jersey, 1997.

• "Clifftop," The Eighth Annual Appalachian String Band Music Festival, 1997.

Heritage Dance Festival, Plymouth Meeting (Philadelphia area), 1997.

Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music, Nelson, New Hampshire,1996.

Balance and Swim, West Virginia.

• California Traditional Music Society, music camp(CTMS) Malibou, California

Eisteddfod International Folk Festival, North Dartmouth, Massachusetts, 1996.

Fox Hollow Folk Festival

Lark in the Morning Music Celebration, Mendocino, California, 1996.

New England Folk Festival (NEFFA).

Northeastern Music and Dance Festival, NOMAD, Newtown, CT, 1996.

Philadelphia Folk Festival.

Philadelphia Folk Song Society Fall Fling, Green Lane, Pennsylvania, 1996.

Green Linnet 3rd Irish Music and Dance Weekend, Monticello, NY, 1995.

Mark O'Connor Fiddle Camp, Tennessee, 1994.

Squeeze In, Washington, Massachusetts.

Great Bay Folklife Festival, Newmarket, New Hampshire, 1990-1991.


Memorable musical experiences

Crossing the Sierra range by backpack with mandolin and pennywhistle.

A flood at the Glen Echo Ballroom contra dance!

Ode to a Cattle Car, a 4th of July parade with the Boogaloo Swamis.

My first "folk" gig, a trip up the long highway.

Cherries Jubilee, or: a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight.

• Calling a dance for the Ted Kennedy Jr. wedding, on Block Island.

Opening for Ricky Skaggs at the Augusta Civic Center in Maine.

Dodging a Brahma Bull at a Seagrams 7 gig, A working musician's life on the road.

• The last concert at Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone National Park.

• Pennies From Heaven, or: How to Make Money Playing the Accordion.

A hard act to follow, a performer dies on the stage.

Honk if you like our music!, a concert in Southbridge, Massachusetts.

Hazards of life on the Road of a traveling band, a car crash.

Mozart and Poison Ivy. If they'll pay, we'll play!

Fiddler performs despite injury

Playing in a full time Nashville band Ryan tours with Baked Apple band

Playing in Hank Thompson’s back up band in Maine.



Marching, marching, and more marching 

For some reason or other, promoters often envision marching musicians as a way to liven up an event. Sometimes this is effective, sometimes not. Since I missed out having a high school marching band experience, I've listed some other types of interesting musical marches I've participated in:


Boston First Night

Kensington Town Fair

Astra Party


Recording and Publication Reviews:


Crystal Clear, solo violin by Jerry Holland - CD review.

Fiddler's Bid Hamnataing - CD review.

Patty Furlong - Traditional Irish Music on Button Accordion - CD review.

J P Cormier Heart and Soul - CD review.

McKrells, This Past Year - CD review.

Kevin Burke in Concert - CD review.

Concertina and Squeezebox - publication review.

Claude Williams John Stewart - Jazz Violin and Guitar Duets - tape review.

Charles Mann "Walk of Life," contemporary cajun - Tape/CD review.

Cowboy Celtic, by David Wilkie and the McDades - tape/CD review.

Dances frae the North Vols. 1 & 2, Scottish - tape review.

Note By Note, A Guide to Concert Production - book review.

Zydeco, Blues and Boogie - CD review.

The Lundberg Brothers - Joined at the Ear - CD review.

Eileen Ivers, Crossing the Bridge - CD review.

Jacqueline Schwab - Mad Robin, piano - CD review.


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