I have long heard about how awesome Bryan Bowers is on Auto Harp – every time I teased an auto harp player about it not being a real instrument. And, I have to confess that he is awesome. He plays from his soul, and the music resonates through his being. AND, he is to the autoharp what Jake Shimabukuro is to the Ukulele. I will post a couple of videos of him playing auto harp soon for those of you who are interested.
I am really excited to have him playing with me of my fiddle tune a day. And, rather than playing auto harp, he wanted to play some chords on his mandocello instead, which was a kick. He taught me the tune, Kitchen Girl, about 5 minutes before we recorded, and it has a fun modal half minor quality.
If you ever get a chance to catch Bryan Bowers in concert, do it! It’s a great experience, especially in the more intimate house concert setting. He is a powerful presence on the stage – authentic, deeply present, and from the heart.
Kitchen Girl according to the Fiddler’s Companion
KITCHEN GIRL. Old‑Time, Breakdown. USA, West Virginia. A Mixolydian (‘A’ part) & A Minor or Dorian (‘B’ part). Standard tuning. AABB. Collected in 1966 from influential Glen Lyn, Virginia, fiddler Henry Reed by fiddler and folklorist Alan Jabbour, who popularized the melody along with the Hollow Rock String Band (through their 1967 recording). Reed’s tune has become so wide-spread it is sometimes played in Europe as a representative American old-time tune. Fiddler Bill Hicks points out that “kitchen girl” was often a term used for a female slave who worked in the kitchen. Another interpretation of the title is perhaps suggested by the painting below:
“Kitchen Ball at White Sulphur Springs, Virginia” (1838), by Christian Mayr (1803-1851). North Carolina Museum of Art.