Jana Jae comes from a musical family, her parents studied and met at Juilliard, her maternal granddad was a champion fiddler and grandmother was a pianist. “Granddad was one of the earliest contestants when the Weiser contest was in its beginnings as entertainment between square dance sets. The fiddling was such fun and so successful, that it won out! The National Oldtime Fiddle Contest was born and is still thriving.” Jana started playing violin at age two, made her first television appearance at age 5, and was a Weiser contestant at a young age. She credits the Contest with broadening her fiddle styles, learning from and emulating so many fiddlers from across America, going on to win several championships.

She continued to study classically as well, and won many scholarships, to Interlochen, the International String Congress, and the Vienna Academy of Music. She graduated magna cum laude in music, but she credits fiddling and Weiser for her career in music. She was discovered by Buck Owens at a show in Redding, CA, and her world changed. She is well-known for her years touring as a member of Buck’s band, and for countless performances on Hee Haw and other television shows.

Out on her own, she moved to Tulsa OK as requested by her booking agency, and found family roots there as well. She enjoys doing package shows with many country stars and now travels with her own band all over the world, sharing the art of fiddling with her blend of bluegrass, western swing, specialty numbers, and granddad’s show-stopping fiddle tunes, dressed up a bit!

She enjoyed judging at Weiser a couple of times in the past and is thrilled to be back as a judge again this year!

Judging Philosophy: Play in tune! Good intonation is essential (a pleasure for your listeners), a strong sense of rhythm (these are basically dance tunes), a nice clear tone (we want to hear all the notes!), some originality and innovative licks in the tune to make it your own – after all, this is fiddling! Do it your way, but stay true to the style of the tune, and get excited about sharing your tunes with us! If you are enjoying the music, a special confidence and joy comes through over the mic, and we enjoy it as well. The KISS rule applies. Don’t try to learn it all two weeks before the contest. Get comfortable and almost over-prepared with your tunes, and leave out whatever is bothersome or too difficult to play well – save it for the next contest! For example, it doesn’t take complex double stops to “sell” a waltz, especially if intonation is problematic. Just a nice sense of rhythm with good tone and whatever embellishments make it really a joy to play, makes it a pleasure to hear, what’s not to like? Can’t wait to hear you! Bring it on!!