by Ashley Janes
Locally raised fiddling champion Calvin Vollrath will return to the Morinville Community Culture Centre for a weekend of performances starting Friday, May 23. Vollrath, who last played here last spring, will be celebrating the release of two new CDs.
Recognized for his performing, teaching and composing abilities, Vollrath has twice been crowned the Grand North American Old Tyme Fiddle Champion. He has composed more than 475 songs, a number of original music books, and an instructional DVD.
The following is an interview with Vollrath regarding his upcoming performance:
Q: What can listeners expect from your most recent albums?
A: This year I’m releasing two CDs. Vintage Vollrath is filled with old songs that I grew up with and that were made popular by singers, not fiddlers. Yesterday by the Beatles, Delilah by Tom Jones, You Don’t Know Me by greats including Ray Charles, and many more. It’s a mix of vintage classics that I love to play. This is my 59th recording.
The Journey is my 60th. It represents my journey as a fiddler from the age of eight on. It’s filled with original tunes composed in the last year. I’ve also composed a medley of tunes for the album called The Journey. It starts with a jig called A Bundle of Joy and goes through polkas, reels, waltzes, and swing, ending with a reel called The Golden Years.
Q: What inspires you to create music?
A: I get inspired by darn near anything. Music is rolling around my head all the time. Hearing other styles of music inspires me to write in that style. When I get asked to compose a tune for a special occasion or person, I try to capture their feelings. I believe it’s a gift I have.
Q: Who are your biggest musical influences?
A: My dad, Art ‘Lefty’ Vollrath, was a fiddler and my first hero. After him, I’ve gathered many heroes. They include Graham Townsend, Andy DeJarlis, Frankie Rodgers, Alfie Myhre, Johnny Gimble, and Vassar Clements.
Q: How have you made your career so productive?
A: After my fourth recording, I decided to start my own studio. I’ve learned lots from trial and error. I don’t travel much anymore in winter months, instead staying home to record.
Q: Will you continue to write original music?
A: I sure hope so. With digital downloads becoming a huge part of the music world, I’m not sure how many more CDs I will release, but I’ll follow the world in whatever medium comes next. All my albums can be downloaded off my website, www.calvinvollrath.com, by clicking the Vollmart tab.
For more information or to purchase tickets to see Calvin Vollrath, call the MCCC at 780-939-7888.