Dwight Lamb - Missouri Valley Style Fiddling

Master: Dwight Lamb, Onawa, Iowa
Apprentice: Bill Peterson, Canton
Art Form: Missouri Valley style fiddling

“There was quite a nest of old fiddle players right around this area,” says Dwight Lamb, speaking of western Iowa and eastern Nebraska. Dwight is from Onawa, Iowa, and plays the Missouri Valley style of fiddling found along the river from Missouri north. 

Dwight grew up with music in his family; his first instrument was the button accordion, on which he played Danish tunes he learned from his grandfather. He also listened to local fiddlers on the radio, and in the early 1950s tracked down Bob Walters, his favorite, in Decatur Nebraska, just across the river from Onawa. “Uncle” Bob became his main teacher, and Dwight carries Bob’s tunes with him still. 

Dwight’s apprentice was Bill Peterson of Canton, South Dakota, an accomplished fiddle player with a wide repertoire of tunes from his own Scandinavian heritage. They worked on a number of Uncle Bob’s tunes, and for Bill, the stories that went with them were as important as the music itself. He now feels he’s another link in the chain of this regional musical style, and he plans on teaching the tunes to others to keep it alive. 

“There were so many of the good old fiddlers that I got to meet that I really felt fortunate,” says Dwight. Bill feels the same about his apprenticeship with Dwight.

 Two men, seated together in a room (Bill Peterson at left, Dwight Lamb at right) play fiddle.

Bill Peterson, left, practices a fiddle tune with master Dwight Lamb.