Baton Rouge teen wins Louisiana fiddler's contest

Baton Rouge teen wins Louisiana fiddler's contest
Lamar Advertising supports the arts and they did the billboard on behalf of the La. Folk Life Fest.
Lamar Advertising supports the arts and they did the billboard on behalf of the La. Folk Life Fest.

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - 15-year-old James Linden sometimes works on a school night. On Tuesday, August 18, Linden and his father musician Jim Hogg performed for the Secretary of State's Louisiana Tourism Convention. They wore historic costumes at the LSU Rural Life Museum, where the convention entertained tourist bureaus from cities all over the South.

They had also performed for the larger convention crowd at the Crown Plaza Hotel this week. Linden took the state's top fiddle prize almost without knowing he was competing.

He and his dad Hogg were up in Natchitoches at Northwestern State University's Folk Life Festival.

"Actually, I didn't really know I was going to compete," James said, "But my dad insisted and signed me up, and about half-way through I realized this was a state competition!"

Linden said he first won the competition for his age-group. He's 15, so they were teens. But as the day progressed, he ascended in age classes to the very top finalists. Linden's passion for music is literally his joy.

"I listen to all kinds classical, swing, bluegrass, some jazz I guess you would say, really all kinds. Probably my favorite would be that acoustic folk music."

Because of his interest, he developed the ability to play the fast and furious runs and trills of the most difficult Scottish reels and Virginny Dances. Though unprepared for the state competition, he rolled out pieces he'd been playing for years, since a young age.

"I played a few pieces. I played 'Flowers of Edinborough,' 'Jefferson and Liberty' and 'Ashokan Farewell' (the popular theme from the PBS series "The Civil War"), 'Rustic Reel' and 'Off She Goes' and I finished on 'Tailor's Hornpipe' and 'Fisher's Hornpipe.' Those last two are the most difficult."

His father is a consummate musician, having played in bands, and hosted music radio shows. His world immersed young James into music from an early age. James' mother Linda, always supportive of Jim, was equally proud of James. She makes by hand all the historic costumes they use to play their period pieces.

You can understand why James is home-schooled because a flexible schedule allows for a rich array of experiences for the young musician.

I asked what career do you think you want as an adult?

"My working title is an historical interpreter and musician," Linden said.

You can check what Linden's up to on his website.

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