Play the Classic Fiddle Tune "Arkansas Traveler"
Originally composed in the 19th century by Colonel Sanford C. â€śSandyâ€ť Faulkner, â€śArkansas Travelerâ€ť has led numerous lives. Adopted by Arkansas as the official state historic song in 1987, it was given boosterish lyrics by the Arkansas State Song Committee in 1947 (â€śFor the wonder state weâ€™ll shout hurrah! / And praise the opportunities we find in Arkansasâ€ť) perhaps to counter the impression given by the vaudeÂville routine it usually accompanied (Traveling city slicker to Arkansas fiddler sitting on porch: â€śHey stranger, lived here all your life?â€ť Fiddler: â€śNot yet.â€ť). The memorable melody was first recorded in 1922 by fiddler Eck Robertson and has been waxed numerous times since, most notably for guitarists on the homemade tape recorded by flatpicking pioneer Clarence White in 1962 (released on 33 Acoustic Guitar Instrumentals), on Norman Blakeâ€™s influential 1976 album Whiskey Before Breakfast, as the title track of Michelle Shockedâ€™s 1991 album, and by David Grisman and Jerry Garcia on Not for Kids Only.
Usually played in the key of D, â€śArkansas Travelerâ€ť works well on the guitar out of C position capoed up to the second fret or in D with no capo. In this eight-bar excerpt, Iâ€™ve arranged the tune in C, adding arpeggios to the A partâ€™s basic melody.
Excerpted from Fiddle Tune Essentials