Tune of the Month: Rusty's Waltz
As Linda Danielson (Evergreen Fiddler III) said in introducing this tune, “This is a waltz that Rusty (Modrell) made up; it has no name.” So I’ll just call it ‘Rusty’s Waltz,’ if you don’t mind. We’ve covered Rusty’s ‘A and E Waltz’ and his version of ‘Lost Indian’ (EF II and III respectively), both of which get a lot of play around my house and at my more public performances. This one I remember hearing back in the old days (early ‘70s for me) but have just recently started playing, and I think it’s a keeper.
While this tune comes across as a simple straightforward melody, it has charms nonetheless. As you ease into the E notes at the 3 rd measures of the 1st and 3rd lines you might expect a C chord. The Am substitution adds a tasteful and richer bit of color, as does the diminished 7 th chord in the 2 nd line. Rusty was equally at home with old time dance music and western swing. Seems to me that this kind of cross training made him a stand-out in both musical worlds. He had very melodic ideas in his swing playing, executed with strong rhythm, and his old time dance fiddling was always lyrical, clear and precise, without losing out on tasteful expression and rhythmic drive. Enjoy! The recording is from Linda Danielson’s ‘Oregon Old Time Fiddling Project’ ca. 1974.
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Stuart Williams, Music Editor
Updated March 5, 2014