95-year-old Elmer Rich, a famous old-time fiddler, died this past June 20th, West Virginia Day, at his home in Westover, West Virginia. He’ll be missed throughout these old hills.
He was born in December of 1919 and grew up just outside a coal community near Morgantown. His father was a miner; his mother was a telephone switchboard operator. Elmer was one of six kids and they all played music. It was 1936 when he and his family played for Eleanor Roosevelt out in Arthurdale.
Elmer Rich was 16 and playing the mandolin for Eleanor. He spent the next 70 years competing at various fiddle competitions, winning trophies and prizes.
A recording of the music and thoughts of Elmer Rich, recorded in August 2014 at an informal after-lunch concert during Old Time Week at the Augusta Heritage Center. He’s accompanied by Mark Crabtree on guitar and Tom Gibson on mandolin.
***Audio Courtesy of Andrew Carroll and the Augusta Heritage Center.