Western Swing

You’ll Smile

Story and Photos by Desiré Aguirre

When I saw the grin of Les Tucker, our ninety-six-year-old Western Swing Hall of Fame fiddler, I knew we were going to be all right. I knew he had one more hot lick under his bow, that he might even tackle the extra C string on his custom-made violin (which he, of course, made himself), and that he would take us all home.

I sat or stood with my musical friends, the District 1A (Sandpoint) representatives of the Idaho Old Time Fiddlers Association. Murry, our harmonica player, cupped her instrument in her right hand and leaned into the music. Joey, who had encouraged me to join this band of musicians, kept a steady rhythm on her Martin guitar while Don Davis, as tall as a long walk, laid out the melody on his mandolin, and Mark added harmony on one of his fiddles.

I stood, ebony bones in hand, tapping my feet. Two-handed, I laid out a triple and a double beat on the bones as I glowed in this slice of heaven, this piece of paradise.

On this day, we were playing at the Sandpoint Senior Center, which was having a car show as a fundraiser. I think we need a few more practices before we’re ready for the big stage at the annual National Oldtime Fiddlers’ Contest and Festival in Weiser [see “Jammin’ with the Champs,” IDAHO magazine, June 2015].

Dave Gunter, who also performs in the alternative folk group Bridges Home with his wife Tami, can play just about anything on every instrument and can sing “Tennessee Waltz” in the key of C or D. He always tries to keep us in time, in tempo, and in the correct key. He does it all with a smile and a grace that makes me settle right into the next tune—most of the time.

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Desiré Aguirre

About Desiré Aguirre

Desiré Aguirre lives in Sagle with an assortment of furry animals, including a horse named Patches and an orange cat named Mr. Butters. A storyteller who likes to sing, she is a multi-instrumentalist roots musician and an outstanding, and upright, member of the Idaho District 1A Old Time Fiddlers.

One Response to Western Swing

  1. Jackie henrion - Reply


    Beautiful article about beloved old time music, that anyone who’s heard will discover it embedded in the heart. Thanks Desiré!

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