John Specker

by

edited from http://www.thespeckers.com, http://www.funkyside.com, and http://www.vmls.org

John Specker (b. 1950) was born in Callicoon Depot, New York. He grew up in Astoria (Queens), New York spending summers on his family’s ancestral farm in the Catskills. At age 13 John began violin lessons. He would carry his instrument to and from his lessons in a guitar case so his peers would not mock him for playing the violin. John graduated from high school and attended Philadelphia College of Art. While attending P.C.A. he heard fiddle music for the first time. Before this he had never heard anything other than classical music on the violin.  As a sophomore, he got the notion to get out his violin again, this time to play old time music.  John dropped out of college at age 19 to play fiddle music.

From 1974 to 1977, Specker played with The Correctones in Ithaca, NY.  Correctone fiddler Danny Kornblum writes of that time, “We wanted to take ourselves and our dancing friends to another level where the droning buzz of the fiddle and the chunk of the Banjo…hung in the air like a ball of fire. We played into that fire to make it grow and burn brighter.”

Even when John’s daughters Lila and Ida Mae were babies, in a household isolated in the woods, John continued to hone his art. Always, at every available moment throughout the day and night, he fiddled and sang in his gritty, passionate baritone voice. In an unpremeditated feat of magic, he was tutoring his future dream band of a lifetime. As the two small girls nestled to sleep each night in the family’s drafty one room cabin, the floor joists vibrated to their Papa’s fiddle and banjo tunes. The two curlyheads absorbed their musical heritage painlessly, feeling it as just another evening breeze.

The Girls, now 26 and 23, have been on the road with John for several years now, touring as The Speckers.

John lives in Andover, Vermont.

John Specker and The Correctones play “Black Eyed Suzie”:

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