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Wade Stockton will be inducted into Texas fiddlers hall of fame

By BY MELISSA CROWE
April 24, 2013 at 2:04 p.m.
Updated April 23, 2013 at 11:24 p.m.

Wade Stockton

IF YOU GO

• WHAT: 43rd annual Texas State Championship Fiddlers' Frolics Hall of Fame Induction

• WHEN: 10:30 a.m. Sunday

• COST: $8 inside; admission includes Texas State Championship Fiddle Contest, guitar accompanist contest, and Cliff and Velda Fryer Championship Play-Off

• WHERE: Knights of Columbus Hall, 321 U.S. Highway 77, Hallettsville

• MORE INFO:FiddlersFrolics.com

Wade Stockton is a master of his music.

In 1974, while most boys his age were busy with sports and chasing girls, 14-year-old Stockton holed up in his room for hours with a fiddle under his chin.

Full of down-to-earth charm, Stockton, who has been attending, competing, judging and emceeing at Fiddlers' Frolics since 1974, will be inducted into the Texas State Championship Fiddlers' Frolics Hall of Fame on Sunday.

Stockton caught up with Get Out to talk about how he got started, his favorite fiddle and what he thinks about being in the hall of fame.

How did you become an "old-time fiddler" at such a young age?

I was playing guitar first, and my grandfather - my pap-paw, Gene Stockton - took me over to a fellow he worked with, an old-time fiddler, Jake Glidewell. He worked out at DuPont with my pap-paw. He got us together to play. I learned how to play some rhythm for Jake. I guess he liked it pretty good. We started going to jams and fiddle contests.

When I went to Hallettsville for Fiddlers' Frolics in 1974, I was in eighth grade. I saw some real fiddle players over there. I asked my folks for a fiddle; they said if I made good grades, they'd get me one. I guess I made good grades, because they got me a fiddle.

I was ate up with it. I was obsessed with it.

While most of my friends were playing outside, I was holed up in my room learning fiddle songs. I would practice probably 10 or 12 hours a day and my folks would say, "Put that down and come eat."

I guess I learned fast, but if you look at the amount of hours I had that thing stuck under my chin, it adds up.

I always wanted to make my pap-paw proud, no matter what. The way I saw people like Dale Morris and Randy Elmore, who were on top of their game playing - the sound they could get out of that instrument was so wonderful.

Of course, there was the crowd response. Dale would swoon the ladies. They were crowd-pleasers. That's what I wanted to do. There's just something about that instrument that sparked my interest.

Does the music still have the same effect on you as it did when you were 14?

Of course it does. You get up there - I'm standing out on the edge of the speakers playing and people are hollering and screaming and cameras are stuck on you. I like the attention.

Things about life, a job, they get in your way of being able to do that stuff. You've got to be able to make a living. I'm a weekend warrior now.

Now you play with The Scott Taylor Band. How has your style changed over the years?

When I grew up all I did was compete, playing a Texas-style competitive-style breakdown. It was more of a regimented-type of music.

It was very difficult, but after I got into my 20s, I really wanted to play band music, which was different all together because you're not playing the entire time. You're playing around a singer and with a lot of different instruments, too.

I like the different genre that we play also, where I play not only country but swing, but I like more of a southern rock also. Even an old dog will learn a new trick once in a while.

What's your most prized fiddle?

I do have several fiddles and guitars and things. I've always liked to buy, sell, trade, too. When I was growing up, a man named Cliff Fryer, one of the founders of the Fiddlers' Frolics, he was a fiddle collector. When he saw me playing, I guess I was doing pretty good. He told my dad to bring me over to his house in Hallettsville. He wanted me to play a better fiddle. He pulled one out that I liked, and he said take it and play it.

My dad said we couldn't keep it, but Cliff said it's cheaper than insurance and he liked to hear me play.

I am still to this day playing a Fryer fiddle.

It was made in the 1800s. It's a French fiddle called a Maline. It just really has a sweet sound. Fiddles are like people's personalities. This one fits me. I can get the tone and everything I want to out of it.

You'll be inducted into the Fiddlers' Hall of Fame this year. What does that mean to you?

It's awesome. I'm very proud and honored that they've picked me to go in there. Most of the time, it's two or three they put in. This year, the chairmen got together and told me I was going in by myself. Hallettsville, of course, has a very special place in my heart. I grew up playing there, judged there for years, and now, I'm the emcee of the contest. It's wonderful to be a part of it but also to know they think I'm good enough to be there with my heroes.

I've been going to that thing since 1974, and I've only missed one year because I had the chicken pox. It's a very special part of my life. Playing and judging and emceeing is all a wonderful thing. The main thing is it's like a family reunion. I get to see all of my buddies that see maybe once a year. We get to play and hang out and catch up - being with basically your family. It's a wonderful thing, and it's good for my soul.

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