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Owen "Snake" Chapman

(1919 - 2002)

I never met this Kentucky fiddler, but was acquainted with someone who was mentored by "Snake" and who shared stories about him.  With his good friend, banjo picker Paul David Smith, Owen would visit the Reed Family in Pike County and give pointers to a young Jim Reed learning banjo.  Their music was in the rich old-time and  tradition and included original tunes, some of which I've learned and include here.  


Owen tells a story of going to his first fiddle contest:  "I had been playing some of his (Arthur Smith's) tunes for six months when this boy come along and said, 'Let's go to the fiddling contest in Pikesville.'  So I got my fiddle and we took off over there, but just as we got there, the last fiddler had finished.  I got up there just in time to pick my fiddle out of the box and play a few tunes and that's when I won my first fiddling contest playing 'Going to Town' just like Arthur Smith."

You can still get Owen's CD's and they're guaranteed to delight.

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