Wednesday, November 18, 2009
One of the more interesting people that I have met while in Mississippi is an old-time fiddler named Jack Magee.
Jack Magee runs a family dental practice in Magee, MS, the hometown in which not only he grew up, but his family can be traced back to before the town was founded. I had heard of Jack long before I ever met him. Jack is known for two things: An extremely cheerful individual, and a well known fiddle player.
I've not yet had the chance to hear Jack play in person, but I have heard many recordings. A mutual friend often plays with him and has recordings of some of the sessions, and he is an amazing fiddle player. Jack himself claims that he is a part-time dentist and a full time fiddle player. At just the mention of music, Jack's face will light up with a keen interest. Jack's personality and passion for music, especially the fiddle, brings people from around the country to Jack's house once a year in an event that has been named "Jack-fest."
As mentioned above, Jack-Fest is a yearly event, held usually on Jack's birthday near the end of October. I really didn't believe such a thing would be more than a family and local friends gathering for a birthday party, however, noticing the tents, campers and people that attend Jack-fest, it's more than a birthday celebration; people come from around the country to celebrate their love for music. Jack-Fest is attended mostly by musicians, and in those old-time music and bluegrass circles, Jack Magee is well known for his Fiddle. Jack told me all are welcome to attend the yearly event, and I believe that while his talent may draw a crowd, the charismatic and friendly person behind the fiddle likely acts as a bridge to welcome people to enjoy new types of music they may not be familiar with while attending Jack-Fest, and keeps them coming back for more.