BOBBY TAYLOR-St. Albans, West Virginia

BOBBY TAYLOR, of St. Albans, West Virginia, is a fourth generation fiddler. He plays several styles of old-time and contest fiddling, but got his early start from the legendary Clark Kessinger, who influenced a world of fiddlers. Among his awards, was the 1977 WV State Fiddle Championship, but he retired early from competing to run contests. He has been the coordinator of West Virginia’s Vandalia Gathering contests at the State Capitol in Charleston since 1979, and the Appalachian String Band Music Festival contests since 1990.

Bobby has judged the Tennessee, Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia state championships, and is a regular judge at the Old Fiddlers Convention in Galax, Virginia. He has judged the Grand Master Fiddle Championship in Nashville, TN since 2006 to present. He was selected to judge the 2007, 2010 and 2012 Western Open Fiddle Championship in Red Bluff, CA. He was a judge at Jana Jae’s Grand Lake National Fiddle Fest in 2006, 2007 and 2009 in Grove, OK. In 2008, he was selected as a judge at the Grand National Fiddle Championship in Weiser, ID.

He has taught fiddle workshops at the Augusta Heritage Center, Allegheny Echoes in West Virginia, the 2012 Midwest Banjo Camp in Michigan and at the 2013 Festival of American Fiddle Tunes in Port Townsend, WA. In 2017, he was a featured performer at the Berkeley Old-Time Music Convention. He has performed on musical tours in Australia and Ireland, and was a featured performer at the National Folk Festival in Australia in March of 2008. He was a featured performer at the Library of Congress and at the Kennedy Center on August 16, 2012. The Library of Congress show was recorded for their permanent collection. In 2010, Bobby was presented the Vandalia Award. This award is West Virginia’s highest folklife honor.

Bobby currently judges extensively and presents historical showcases on fiddle styles.

Philosophy of judging: I look for contestants that own the stage. My highest scores go to contestants with great intonation, timing, technique and rich tone. Contestants need to play appropriate tunes within the guidelines that reflect the character and integrity of the contest.