Rolf Gidlow

tunebook 93 tunes.

I live in what is known as The Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, New England, in the northeastern USA. I’ve been a musician for almost 50 years, starting out in the school band when I was 9, taking up piano shortly thereafter and then other instruments as time went on. I played keyboards and guitars and harmonica in rock and blues bands, majored in composition & theory and piano performance in college. I’ve played everything from rock and blues; ragtime and jazz; to classical and contemporary chamber music.

Despite my many interests, the sound of pure ‘folk’ music (people’s music, not the label) is what really moves me. I first heard Woody Guthrie when I was about fifteen and was taken in a way that hasn’t truly happened since. And while I’ve studied, learned and loved other forms of music over the years, nothing gets me like that unadorned sound that comes straight from the heart and the soul. The origin doesn’t matter - Appalachia, the British Isles, Pakistan or anywhere else, it’s that sound that I’ve never gotten over.

I’ve always been fairly obsessive about whatever type of music has caught my ear, and I think that’s how I’ve been able to cover as much ground as I have. That said, I’m no longer a professional musician, and my scatter-shot approach has probably kept me from being really good at any one thing (other than piano, which I don’t play as much anymore). I’ve had a lifelong fascination with musical instruments of all sorts, which is why I can play so many but only a handful at all well.

My current fixation is with Irish traditional music. The short version is that I took up concertina a couple of years ago because a box wasn’t immediately available, and that led me into ITM.