World-renowned fiddler to perform in Ashe

Wil Petty Staff Writer

November 11, 2013

Ashe County has always been a welcoming place for Jamie Laval.

“All of those experiences (here), that was my introduction to North Carolina and it caught the magic of the area,” Laval said. “Ashe County, there’s just something inviting and warm about the area.”

Laval, an U.S. Scottish fiddle champion, relocated to North Carolina from Seattle a few years ago. While he resides in Asheville, the earliest memories of the state were in Ashe.

“I haven’t performed in Ashe County in a couple of years so this is just a great opportunity to get involved with the Ashe County Arts Council,” he said. “I haven’t actually performed at their location yet.”

The performace will take place on Saturday, Nov. 16

Laval’s interesting take on his musicianship and performing has sent him to plenty of other places. It gave him the opportunity to perform on the NBC Today show and record with Dave Matthews on his platinum album “Some Devil.”

“It was cool because Dave is just a really normal guy,” Laval said. “He’s just a dude you want to hang out with and watch a movie with, drink beer and talk.”

Laval’s music also took him to Canada, where he was invited to perform a show for the Queen of England.

“There were speeches and a lot of media there,” he said. “When everybody was finished eating it was my job to provide after dinner entertainment, where I played a short show for the Queen.”

After the show, Laval was able to shake Her Majesty’s hand, and everything was done.

“I didn’t get to hang out and chummy up to the Queen,” he said. “The best I could do was shake my hand and wink at her and off she went.”

His music was what caused him to leave Seattle and relocate to North Carolina. Laval would write and record his album “Murmurs and Drones.”

Laval said he put his blood and sweat into creating that album – the effort paid off. Last year, the album won for “Best World Traditional Album” at the Independent Music Awards.

“It was just really gratifying to know that it wasn’t just an album I was passionate about, but I was reaching people,” he said. “People were excited about what they heard. It was about sharing music with everyone.”

Laval finds a way to take traditional Scottish and Celtic tunes that were originally folk and implement the music into a concert setting.

“I primarily take the old village dance tunes and arrange them in fun and intriguing ways,” he said. “The arrangements kind of tell the story of the emotional experience of Scottish people throughout the years.”

The show promotes a wide array of emotion from the audience. At moments there is an upbeat emotion accompanied with jubilation, while at other times the crowd remains somber.

“I interject with a lot of stories and insights I’ve come to about life and the world of art and music,” Laval said.

It is those thoughts and insights that Laval wants to bring back to Ashe County. After all, it’s the area that introduced him to his new home.

“People are just so genuine in the area,” he said. “There’s always that sort of small-town welcoming feeling. It’s one of the most beautiful areas of the state.”