Pa’s Fiddle Project

by | 4 Jan, 2012

The Pa’s Fiddle Project Comes to PBS.

There’s a new album to be released June 5th to commemorate the occasion.

This Friday, 6th January, a concert based on the music written about in the Little House on the Prairie series of books by author Laura Ingalls Wilder, will be filmed at the Loveless Barn in Franklin, TN before a live audience, for broadcast by the PBS television network.  Pa’s Fiddle: America’s Music will broadcast first during the June pledge-drive season on PBS stations throughout the nation, and be available to those stations for broadcast over the next two years.

Artists performing include award-winning musician and musical director Randy Scruggs and an all-star string band featuring Matt Combs, Dennis Crouch, Chad Cromwell, Hoot Hester and Shad Cobb, along with featured artists Randy Travis, Rodney Atkins, Ronnie Milsap, Ashton Shepherd, The Roys, Natalie Grant and Committed (NBC Sing Off Champions).

Dean Butler (“Almanzo” on the Little House on the Prairie TV show) and Dale Cockrell (President of Pa’s Fiddle Recordings) have teamed up to produce this unique show that will feature these top-level artists performing and giving their best interpretations of the great American songs and tunes loved by Pa and Laura Ingalls during their lifetime.  A documentary about the making of the show will also be produced, and will be widely available for educational purposes.

To commemorate the occasion, a brand new album will be released by Pa’s Fiddle Recordings titled Pa’s Fiddle: American Fiddler.  The CD will be in stores first on June 5th.  It is, however, available as a pre-release special now at

This newest album spotlights the musical influence of Charles “Pa” Ingalls.  Ingalls, sometimes thought of as a fictional character, was the opposite.  He is perhaps the least recognized old-time fiddler from the 19th-century who, courtesy of the Little House books written by his daughter Laura, we have the most documentation on, in return telling us much about his life and music. His actual fiddle is on permanent display at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home & Museum in Mansfield, MO.  We know the names of many of the tunes and songs he played, where he played them, for whom, and often why he chose them.

Hidden for decades in plain view, “Pa” Ingalls (1836-1902) was a central figure in the autobiographical stories told by Laura Ingalls Wilder in her Little House on the Prairie books.  He was a highly regarded fiddler whose music making is captured by the 127 songs referenced in his daughter’s books.  It is surprising that this extraordinary musician is never included among the pantheon of American fiddlers, especially since he, his name, his stories, and accounts of his music-making are known to many millions the world over.

The album, which features songs chronicled in the books, helps place Charles Ingalls among the first rank of old-time fiddlers whose influence is foundational to so much of modern American music. It tells of the power of music to transcend the years, as the “old” songs of Pa Ingalls becomes new again through exciting and dynamic performances by some of the today’s finest acoustic musicians.

Great American songs on the CD include: Buffalo Gals, When Johnny Comes Marching Home, Polly Put the Kettle On, Life Let Us Cherish, All the Blue Bonnets, Golden Years Are Passing By, Boatmen’s Dance, Mary of the Wild Moor, The Campbells Are Coming, Haste to the Wedding, and more.

Acoustic masters Bryan Sutton, Matt Flinner, Matt Combs, David Grier, Jeff Taylor, Dennis Crouch, and others bring these great American folk songs to life on the album, and make them palatable for young ears of today.

For more information on the PBS taping, the previous two installments in the series, The Arkansas Traveler: Music from Little House on the Prairie and Happy Land: Musical Tribute to Laura Ingalls Wilder, or Pa’s Fiddle: Charles Ingalls – American Fiddler,  please visit the website.