About The Speckers
AND NOW INTRODUCING THE SPECKERS.... An old-time family trio comprised of legendary fiddler John Specker and his two daughters Lila and Ida Mae. The Speckers play traditional American music as it's never been played before.
On stage, John stomps and screams, whispers and grins, crowds fall to attention, and he works them with professionalism and wit. Truly a wild-eyed fiddling man from the hills…who plays early American music the way it should be played, with heart. Crazy, crazy, heart.” [Funkyside.com 2004].
Fiery Vermont-based fiddler John Specker made his name in the 1970’s as the “Father of the Ithaca Sound” [Old-Time Herald magazine, Winter 2000/2001]. He fiddled with the Correctone String Band, pioneers with a riveting mix of old-time, Reggae and African rhythms. Fellow band member Danny Kornblum explained, “We wanted to take ourselves and our dancing friends to another level where the droning buzz of the fiddle and the chunk of the banjo…hung in the air like a ball of fire. We played into that fire to make it grow and burn brighter.”
Since those days, with full respect for, and mastery of, traditional Appalachian music, John Specker has profoundly influenced several subsequent generations of old-timey fiddlers. These include daughters Lila and Ida Mae, the two other members of The Speckers fiddle band. John and his family are legendary for their darkly intense, primal style. John “created a whole-band sound through the complexity of his bowing technique…with it’s inventive and dizzyingly fast double and triple stops, while simultaneously singing and tapping a powerful foot percussion.” [ Cornell Folk Song Society, February, 2009].
Even when daughters Lila and Ida Mae were babies, in a household isolated in the woods, John continued to hone his art. Always, at every available moment throughout the day and night, he fiddled and sang in his gritty, passionate baritone voice. In an unpremeditated feat of magic, he was tutoring his future dream band of a lifetime. As the two small girls nestled to sleep each night in the family’s drafty one room cabin, the floor joists vibrated to their Papa’s fiddle and banjo tunes. The two curlyheads absorbed their musical heritage painlessly, feeling it as just another evening breeze.
The Girls, now 26 and 23, have been on the road with John for several years now, touring as The Speckers. Fiddling and singing in rare biological synchronicity, they are a vital force in the “mountain-music” revival. Lila is coming up with words to go with the many dozens of instrumentals in The Speckers' repertory. Her “Waste My Time“ is a great favorite with audiences. Ida Mae delivers the old-new tunes convincingly in her thrilling contralto, in tandem with her Dad, even as she keeps pace on her fiddle.
Taking a stand for honest, fresh music-making, The Speckers are known for recordings that convey the energy of a live performance. But nothing beats the way this father and daughters trio drives a flesh and blood audience to near-frenzy. As John is fond of saying, “We can take you there, but we can’t promise to bring you back." With The Specker family band on stage, the ordinary laws of time and gravity are suspended. Get out your dancing shoes and prepare to levitate!