Today, I tried to record the tune myself without any assistance. I was in Denver on business, and after my meeting, I found a nice place on the South Platte River Greenway, and rigged up a makeshift stand on a picnic table, and went to work. I have done this a couple of times before, but I had a little trouble this time. I’m sure you won’t notice what I screwed up. 😉 I could have fixed it in software, but I thought it would go well with my fiddling in the dark.
I learned this tune when I was a kid from a recording of Bob Mathews, a fiddler from Cheyenne, WY. I think it was a recording of the Chugwater String Quartet Plus One (Banjo, Guitar, Fiddle, and The double bass counted as two.) He called the tune Wyoming Moonlight.
I really liked the song, so I was playing it in fiddle contests sometimes, and at one contest I played it and an old fiddler told me, “That’s not Wyoming Moonlight, that’s Virginia Moonlight.” I’m guessing Bob heard the tune, and being a Wyomingan repurposed the tune with a title that fit his audiences a little better.
I hadn’t played this tune in quite a while, but it really is a pretty one, and I’m glad to bring it back.
It really is amazing how hard it is to find the history of some of these fiddle tunes…
Virginia Moonlight according to the Fiddler’s Companion
VIRGINIA MOONLIGHT WALTZ. AKA and see “The Dawn Waltz .” American, Waltz. A Major. Standard tuning. ABA. Source for notated version: Brenda Wallace and Danita Rast Hartz [Phillips]. Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes), vol. 2, 1995; pg. 321.