Dusty Miller is one heck of a Texas Breakdown. I’ve never really worked up something specific with it, but it’s a fun one to jam with.
There is another tune that some people call Dusty Miller, but I call that tune Miller’s Reel, and it’s a very different tune altogether.
I was so tickled to get to make music this weekend with Jesse Morrell. I don’t get to see Jesse often, but when I do we always play music, and his rhythm really gets me jazzed. And, after a long Saturday of fiddling, Jesse showed up at my hotel room at 8:00AM Sunday to play a few more tunes!
His rhythm is so tight, and the energy really pushes me to the next level, and I have a feeling that my playing does the same for him. The relationship between fiddler and guitarist is one of those special things that is hard to describe, but when it’s right there isn’t much better.
According to this article on the Texas Oldtime Fiddler’s Association Website, Dusty Miller was one of the first recorded fiddle tunes in 1923, but it’s surely much older than that.
Dusty Miller according to Fiddler’s Companion
DUSTY MILLER . Old‑Time, Breakdown. USA, West Virginia. D Mixolydian/Major [Brody, Phillips]: D Mixolydian/Major (‘A’ part) & D Major (‘B’ part) [Krassen]. Standard tuning. AABB. Georgia fiddler/entertainer John Carson linked the tune with the song “Hard Time a Comin’” (Molly Tenenbaum). Modern ‘revival’ fiddlers sourced the tune from Bluefield, West Virginia, fiddler Franklin George, who learned it from his mentor Jim Farthing. Farthing was a fiddler from Virginia near the North Carolina border who had moved to West Virginia for mining related jobs and who performed carpentry with George’s father. Sources for notated versions: Armin Barnett (Charlottesville, Va.) [Krassen]; Fuzzy Mountain String Band (N.C.), learned from Frank George[Brody]; Bill Christopherson [Phillips]. Brody (Fiddler’s Fakebook), 1983; pg. 96. Krassen (Appalachian Fiddle), 1973; pg. 53. Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes), vol. 1, 1994; pg. 78. Rounder 0035, Fuzzy Mountain String Band‑ “Summer Oaks and Porch” (1973. Learned from Franklin George, Princeton, W.Va.). Kicking Mule 206, Eric Thompson‑ “Kicking Mule’s Flat Picking Guitar Festival.” Roane Records, Franklin George – “Swope’s Knobs” (reissue of original on Anachronistic Recrods)