At age 51, Russ Wilson, of Speedwell, is one the youngest musicians in Tennessee to have learned old-time fiddling from a family member. Tutored during annual visits and on a flow of reel-to-reel teaching tapes, young Russ learned almost note-for-note from his masterful third cousin, Fiddlin’ Bob Rogers, who emigrated to Los Angeles where he became a sought-after square dance musician. With his studied, but graceful, style, Russ quickly emerged as an old-time fiddling force. As a teen, Russ traveled to contests throughout the region, frequently besting the competition and eventually earning a fiddle case full of top-tier ribbons. Though nurtured in firmly traditional practices, Russ cultivates a deep curiosity and well-attuned ear to music-making from an array of performers and regions. Along with fiddling, Russ has also developed a distinguishing style on the dobro and flattop guitar. Whatever the instrument, though, of late, he mostly performs the old way, at home, intimately, surrounded by family members and friends. Along with his mother Lou Wilson-herself a regional ballad singing treasure-Russ often welcomes neighbors and visitors to his Powell Valley home place for refreshing afternoons of fiddling, singing, laughter, and conversation. With this flawless rural setting as his “stage,” Russ rarely fiddles in formal performance venues.