Review  in Strings magazine, August/September 2003, No. 110.

Learning American Old-Time Fiddle Appalachian Style with Alan Jabbour (In the Groove Workshops, PO Box 2632, Amherst, MA, 01004-2632; available on VHS and DVD for $35.)

Alan Jabbour, who spent many years as the director of the American Folk Life Center at the Library of Congress, is the doyen of Southern old-time fiddling. This video/DVD gives fiddle fans the chance to glean some of his knowledge. Jabbour learned most of the pieces from his mentor, Henry Reed, and a couple from the Hammonds family; all hail from West Virginia, and all are revered for the authenticity of their repertoire. Jabbour supplies cogent commentary and easily understood illustrations of typical bowings. The course is full of insight into the performance practices of the old-time fiddlers he has studied. Jabbour is a master of the "upper south sound" heard at most old-time fiddle jams these days. He has absorbed that sound so well that he shows not a glimmer of his classical background. The pieces in standard tuning are played at regular and slow speeds. Importantly, he uses the same bowing in both versions, a rarity in fiddle-teaching videos. The retuned numbers are played through at speed a couple of times, without commentary. There are 50 minutes of music followed by a 15-minute interview with Jabbour concerning his musical biography and view of the music he plays and, clearly, loves. The camera work is excellent, always showing both hands clearly. There is music notation for the pieces, but that was not included in my review copy. This fiddling course contains the word "shibboleth"! How can you resist?

—Stacy Phillips