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Scott Woods whips up an Old-Fashioned Hoedown

"It's like Hee-Haw, a bit corny but lots of fun."
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Don't let the hayseed costumes fool you. The Scott Woods musicians are champion fiddle players and dancers. From left to right Leo Stock, Scott Woods and Kendra Norris. SUPPLIED

Nationally renowned Canadian fiddler Scott Woods introduces his high-energy variety show, Scott Woods Old-Fashioned Hoedown, to the Arden Theatre in November. 

“It’s a performance. Everything is laid out, but it’s very casual. It’s like Hee-Haw, a bit corny but lots of fun,” said Woods of his show on Tuesday, Nov. 8. 

The two-time winner of the Canadian Grand Masters Fiddle Championship has perfected his technique in all of Canada’s fiddling styles – Celtic, Cape Breton, Acadian, Cajun, French Canadian, Métis, East European and Ukrainian. 

One of his most high-profile shows was as concert director for the musical Memories of Don Messer’s Jubilee, which toured Canada in soft-seat theatres in 1998 and 2005. 

Currently residing in Ontario, Woods is dubbed the “Flipping Fiddler” for his ability to somersault as he plays. Some of his other stunts are playing a fiddle behind his back or under a leg and walking on barrels. 

“I’m still doing that nonsense. Just don’t blink. I only do it once,” said Woods, referring to the stunts. 

This uplifting concert celebrates the lives of country folk almost a century ago with spirited tunes and family-focused values. Joining Woods onstage is his sister Kendra Norris, a multi-instrumentalist on piano, accordion and fiddle. She also won the Canadian Duet Fiddle Championship with Woods three times. 

“I play lead and she follows. She instinctively knows where I’m going. Kendra plays from the heart, and she’s a bit of a card onstage. She dresses up like Minnie Pearl and has these silly expressions,” Woods said. 

The sixth-generation champion fiddler also ushers in Leo Stock, an 18-year-old singer-drummer and Canadian Step Dancing champion affectionately called “Spaghetti Legs.” Stock recently won the 2022 Open Step Dance Championship at Ontario’s Open Fiddle and Step Dance Contest. 

“Leo is tall and skinny, and his legs go 100 miles an hour. You wonder how he works that way. It’s like a clog and tap dance, but on steroids. People are constantly amazed by how fast he goes.” 

The third touring musician is Germain Leduc, an accomplished Francophone fiddler, recording artist and composer. 

“I’ve known Germain from fiddling and step dance competitions. We jammed together. He is a bit of a genius. Germain knows every fiddle tune there is. I can’t stump him. He plays classical, jazz, everything. I can play anything onstage and I’m comfortable no matter what happens I know he will follow me.” 

Woods was the youngest of four children raised in Fergus, a country town an hour north of Toronto. His father was a fiddler, his mother a pianist and together the couple played in a dance band. At the age of four, Woods started taking classical violin and piano lessons. By the time his eighth birthday rolled around he was performing in public. 

At 15 years, Woods enjoyed his first taste of adventure at an eye-opening fiddle competition in Carmen, Man. At the time, the teenager had never been outside Ontario. 

“Canada is a big country, but they treated us like family. When you’re in Europe if you travel 2,000 miles, you can be in another country. In Canada, if you travel 2,000 miles you still feel like you’re at home. Now when I go to Red Deer, there’s a lady that still makes pies for us. And in Melfort, Saskatchewan, there’s a woman who makes buns. It’s all very grassroots.”  

As a young man he originally enrolled at university to earn a business degree. Woods was on track to work at his father’s real estate company during the day and perform evenings and weekends. But the scales shifted and performing became his number one priority. 

When COVID-19 hit, cancelling all his contracts, Woods took a job with Freightline trucks hauling nickel from mines in Sudbury to Texas, Florida and assorted southern states. 

But the stage remained his “happy place.” Once the pandemic receded, Woods planned a Canadian tour with family-positive songs. 

At the Arden variety show, Woods does a recitation of Touch of the Master’s Hand, a poem that tells of a battered violin about to be sold at an auction for a paltry amount of money. Then a violinist steps up and plays the instrument, demonstrating its inner beauty and true value. 

He also plays Jerry Holland’s instrumental, My Cape Breton Home, a traditional Irish Waltz performed as a slow lament. 

“When I heard it, it brought me back to the reality of what I’m supposed to be doing with my life.” 

Taking Canada's fiddle music to Europe, Woods toured Germany, Holland, Switzerland, Austria and Spain. 

“The fiddle has been wonderful. It took me to wonderful places I would not have gone to, and introduced me to great friends I would not have met if not for the music.” 

The Tuesday concert begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Arden Theatre, 5 St. Anne Street. Tickets start at $52.50. Call 780-459-1542 or online at tickets.stalbert.ca. 


Anna Borowiecki

About the Author: Anna Borowiecki

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