Manage episode 321262038 series 3289736
In the debut episode of From the Mic we meet Phil Jamison of Asheville, North Carolina. Phil is nationally-known as a dance caller, old-time musician, and flatfoot dancer. He has called dances, performed, and taught at music festivals and dance events throughout the U.S. and overseas since the early 1970s, including over forty years as a member of the Green Grass Cloggers. His flatfoot dancing was featured in the film, Songcatcher, for which he also served as Traditional Dance consultant. From 1982 through 2004, he toured and played guitar with Ralph Blizard and the New Southern Ramblers. He also plays old-time fiddle and banjo.
Over the last thirty years, Phil has done extensive research in the area of Appalachian dance, and his book Hoedowns, Reels, and Frolics: Roots and Branches of Southern Appalachian Dance (University of Illinois Press, 2015) tells the story behind the square dances, step dances, reels, and other forms of dance practiced in southern Appalachia. A 2017 inductee to the Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame, Phil teaches traditional music and dance at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina, where for twenty-five years he served as coordinator of the Old-Time Music and Dance Week at the Swannanoa Gathering.
Music and soundbites featured in this episode (in order of appearance):
- “Blizard Train” – “Blizard Train,” Ralph Blizard & the New Southern Ramblers (June Appal Records, 1989) Ralph Blizard (fiddle), Phil Jamison (guitar), Gordy Hinners (banjo), Andy Deaver (bass).
- Phil Jamison, Thomas Maupin, and friends flatfooting at the Clifftop festival in 2010
- Phil calling the Grapevine Twist square dance and a big set dance at the 2011 Dare to be Square in Brasstown, NC
- Historic recordings from Phil (view the entire collection referenced in his book here):
- Mellie Dunham, "Chorus Jig" contra dance (1926)
- Samantha Bumgarner, calling a Southern (big ring) square dance to "Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss" (1924)
- Ernest Legg calling "Chase the Rabbit" square dance with the Kessinger Brothers playing "Devil's Dream" (1928)
- “Zai Na Yaoyuan De Difang” (In That Faraway Place) – “March Celebration: Chinese-Appalachian Collaborations,” Jenny & the Hog Drovers and Manhu (recorded in Shanghai, China, 2017) Maddy Mullany & Clarke Williams (fiddles), Phil Jamison (banjo), Hayden Holbert (guitar), Landon George (bass), Jin Hongmei (vocal)
- Phil's website, where you can also order his book, Hoedowns, Reels, and Frolics: Roots and Branches of Southern Appalachian Dance
- Square 'em up! A Dare to be Square event is happening in Dumfries, Virginia, May 6 - 8, 2022!
- Crazy about squares? There is SO MUCH on the Square Dance History Project webpage.
- Phil was featured in a great episode of Radio Lab exploring the history of square dance called "Birdie in the Cage"
- You'll find some of Phil's writing on dance traditions here on his website