- Old Time
Ken Waldman primarily plays old-time music, which predates bluegrass. Historically, this is a string-band music linked to Appalachia, though, really, there are variants most everywhere in North America. Some of the tunes he plays are more than two centuries old, though he also has recorded over a hundred he’s composed in the style.
Though solo fiddling has its own long-standing tradition—and Ken will still occasionally play solo, especially in conjunction with literary or storytelling events—there’s also a long tradition of fiddle and banjo, and of four-piece string-bands with fiddle, banjo, guitar, bass. The permutations are endless: some groups will add a second fiddle, or a mandolin, or will specialize in singing. Some will feature a percussive dancer.
While the music is more widely recognized as square dance music, it’s also music of a community, and made among friends. Where bluegrass invariably features hot virtuosic solos, old-time music is an ensemble affair, which relies on a shared background of listening to the music, and playing it.