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Howard Rains Discusses Old-Time Music This Week on McKissick's Radio Show

This week, McKissick's Punk & Old-Time Radio Show features special guest Howard Rains. Howard Rains is a native Texas artist and the fourth generation to play on his fiddle. He comes from a musical and artistic family, and his 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. Known for his painting as much as his fiddling, Howard has painted many of the great old-time musicians, both living and gone.

Together with his wife Tricia Spencer, Rains has 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. 

"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

Punk & Old-Time: Conversations on Community, Conflict, and Cohesion airs weekly on WUSC Radio (90.5 FM), Thursdays at 2:00pm EDT. Every week through April, Folklife Program Coordinator Ian Hallagan will talk with individuals situated in both the Punk and Old-Time communities about their experiences at the intersection of what most people would regard as two separate musical genres.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.