Crouch performing with John Cooper of the Red Dirt Rangers
|Born||April 1, 1952|
|Instruments||Fiddle, Guitar & Pedal Steel Guitar|
|Years active||1978 - Present|
|Associated acts||Red Dirt Rangers
Vince Herman Trio
|Website||Randy Crouch website|
Randy Crouch (born April 1, 1952) is an Oklahoma-based multi-instrumentalist. In eastern Oklahoma, Crouch is best known as a fiddle player. Although he has been referred to as "the world's best rock fiddler," Crouch also plays guitar and pedal steel among other instruments.
Growing up the son of a Methodist preacher in West Texas, Crouch’s early years were spent moving every few years from town to town in and around Amarillo and Lubbock. His parents provided a diverse musical background including piano lessons and Crouch also started playing ukulele and guitar. His grandfather, who played fiddle, had a big influence on him. Crouch learned to play fiddle from a Mel Bay mandolin instruction manual. Since the two instruments are tuned the same – a fiddle lacks the frets that make mandolin playing a little easier to do in key – it all transferred to the fiddle. During his freshman year of high school Crouch started playing in a band and has performed music ever since.
Crouch refers to his songs as "Oklahoma Protest music" and has a long history of protesting against onslaughts against the environment. He lives in an electricity-free geodesic dome that he built on a former landfill site. In 1973, after the Public Service Company of Oklahoma announced that twin black nuclear power plants (named Black Fox 1 and Black Fox 2) would be built, Crouch along with many other Oklahomans took legal action against PSO and a protest movement ensued. As a result of his involvement in the protest, Crouch was blackballed for a time by music promoters in and around Tulsa, although he performed at least 50 "stop Black Fox" events around Oklahoma.
Crouch's music has been a foundation for Oklahoma's Red Dirt music, having been one of the earliest musicians of Red Dirt's epicenter - The Farm - located in Stillwater, Oklahoma. John Cooper, of the Red Dirt Rangers band, said that the camaraderie of the protests was central to the spirit that help form the Red Dirt movement.
Crouch also represents a variation of The Tulsa Sound and has also been a primary influence on aspiring Oklahoma musicians performing bluegrass, folk, country music, and jam bands . In addition to performing as a solo artist, Crouch is a regular member of the Red Dirt Rangers band and is a member of the house band at the annual Woody Guthrie Folk Festival in Okemah, Oklahoma.
Crouch's live performances often include unusual techniques on a variety of instruments. "I once saw him play where he's over a steel guitar and a piano while he's playing fiddle," said Jim Blair, co-owner of Max's Garage and one of Crouch's musical compatriots. "In the middle of the song, he wants to tune up the fiddle, so he hits the A note on the piano with his fiddle bow and tunes the string and keeps on playing."
Crouch's songs "Big Shot Rich Man" and "Mexican Holiday" have been recorded by Jason Boland & the Stragglers. He played with Tulsa band South 40 when they recorded his song "Got Time to Party" for their 2006 release Home which also features guest spots by members of Asleep at the Wheel and George Strait's band. As a member of the Vince Herman Trio, Crouch performs with alumni of the jam bands Leftover Salmon and Ekoostik Hookah.
Crouch has been nominated for over twenty Oklahoma State Music Awards and in 2005 was inducted into the Oklahoma Music Awards Red Dirt Hall of Fame.
Year Title Record Label/Comments 2012 Me and You 2010 It's a Crime 2009 Just a Few More Things 2008 Straight From the Tap with Badwater 2006 Friends with Wanda Watson 2006 Home with South 40 2004 Kindred Spirits Binky Records (with Bob Childers) 2004 Natural Selection 2004 Somewhere in the Middle Smith Music Group (with Jason Boland & the Stragglers) 2003 What's Goin' On? 2002 Travelin' On 2001 Truckstop Diaries Sustain Records (with Jason Boland & the Stragglers) 1998 Unplugged with the Lisa Sisters 1999 Pearl Snaps Sustain Records (with Jason Boland & the Stragglers) 1998 Canyon Rose with Lisa Perry 1998 Angel Rose with Lisa Perry 1997 It's Too Bad Random Choice (with Flying Horse) 1996 The Flying Horse Opera Mars Records 1995 Take Two 1992 Fractal Rose with Lisa Perry 1983 Colorslide
- Glenn, Eddie.Fiddlin' Folk. Talequah Daily Press, June 25, 2007. Retrieved January 8, 2009.
- Wright, Leif M. Greatness wears a big beard: World's best rock fiddle player also inspires. OK Weekend.com. July 20, 2007. Retrieved January 8, 2009.
- Tryggestad, Erik and Colberg, Chris. Weekend Look: In town and around. The Oklahoman, November 3, 2006. Retrieved January 8, 2009.
- Blogspot.com. An Interview with Randy Crouch. Formerly published on the now defunct Texas Troubadours website. September 5, 2007. Retrieved January 12, 2009.
- Critter, Chris B. The 'green' beginnings of red dirt. The Current, December, 2008, p. 68-9. Retrieved January 9, 2009.
- Critter, Chris B. The farm that grew the red dirt. The Current, October, 2008, p. 14-5. Retrieved January 9, 2009.
- Conner, Thomas. Guthrie folk festival "matures". Tulsa World, July 15, 2002. Retrieved January 9, 2009.
- Woody Guthrie Folk Festival website. Sneak Preview of 2007 Woody Guthrie Folk Festival Entertainers. Retrieved January 8, 2009.
- Reverbnation.com. Randy Crouch. Retrieved January 12, 2009.