Folk Art, Folk Music

In these times when fiddlers can draw on every imaginable style and repertoire of music, Howard Rains and Tricia Spencer are that rare thing–contemporary musicians who have chosen to carry on the traditional music of of their own region. They have brought beautiful, nearly forgotten fiddle tunes learned from older generations and older times into the twenty-first century, and they play them with with skill, authenticity, attention to detail, and feeling.

Bruce Greene, Old Time Fiddler

Spencer and Rains play old time music

Tricia Spencer  is a Kansas fiddler who grew up learning the tradition of old time music from her Grandparents.  At an early age, she was perched up on some stage tapping her foot to the beat of fiddles, banjos, mandolins and guitars.  While growing up, her free time was spent traveling to festivals and fiddling contests throughout the Midwest where she learned from the likes of Pete McMahan, Cyril Stinnet, Lymon Enloe, Dwight Lamb, Amos Chase, and Lucy Pierce. Tricia is multi-instrumentalist who has studied with some of the great masters and is highly sought after as a performer, dance fiddler, and instructor.

Howard Rains is a native Texas artist and a fourth generation fiddler (or “VY-lin,” as his grandfather would say) from a musical and artistic family whose two obsessions are painting and playing the archaic style of fiddling of his home state. Howard plays rare, old tunes learned from friends, family, mentors, and old recordings. As much known for his painting as his fiddling, Howard has painted many of the great old time musicians, both living and gone.

Together, Spencer & Rains have performed and taught nationally and internationally, preserving and building upon the traditions of their region. The husband and wife duo are known for their twin fiddle harmony, which is a product of the influence of midwestern Scandinavian fiddlers Tricia heard as a child.  At the same time,  Howard’s distinct repertoire reintroduces listeners to the pre-contest styles of Texas fiddling. That same sense of harmony is in their vocals, as well, which they pull from all manner of American folk music. Both multi-instrumentalists, they are steeped in tradition and are dedicated to the preservation, performance, and teaching of old time music.


New Skeleton Keys Project!

Tricia and Howard and the Skeleton Keys featured in Mother Jones Magazine! (LINK)

“Something new and wonderful on the old-time horizon: An old-time music and art book of the ages! Beautiful and mysterious music, bound in a magical book!” –David Bragger


Visit THE STORE to get your copy of this unique book and CD of art and music.