Texas Style

This is a short preview trailer. You can watch the entire film at no charge on the Folkstreams website. Folkstreams is a nonprofit whose mission is to find, preserve, contextualize, and stream documentary films on American folklife.

Watch the entire film at Folkstreams

Texas Style centers on three generations of Westmoreland family fiddlers. From the elder H.D. Westmoreland to his grandson Wes III, already a state champion, we see the evolution of Texas fiddling. The difference between H.D.'s rhythmic, Appalachian style and the intricately fingered, rhythmically varied interpretations of grandson Wes marks a transition in the tradition of fiddling. Early Texas fiddling evolved at country dances, using the repetitious rhythms and limited fingering movements suitable for dance music. But when the dances began to lose popularity, a new audience developed. Famed Texas fiddler Benny Thomasson and his contemporaries elaborated the technique of fiddle playing by emphasizing the downward bow action and using the entire register of the fiddle. The contemporary style of fiddling practiced by their followers is hand clapping, toe tapping listening music, heard at fiddle contests and community gathering places. "Texas Style" brings you to the Homecoming, Rodeo, Reunion and Fiddling Contest in Gustine, Texas, where there are armadillo races, tobacco-spitting and frog hopping contests, cow chip throwing and young and old comparing their hog calling skills. Inside a canvas tent, some of Texas' most remarkable fiddlers compete to the foot-stomping delight of their audience.

  • Film by: Alan Govenar, Bruce "Pacho" Lane
  • Produced by: Alan Govenar
  • Cinematographer: Bruce Lane
  • Editor: Bruce Lane
  • Other Credits: Special Thanks to Folklore Media Center, Southwest Alternate Media Project, Institute of Texan Cultures, Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin, Texas Memorial Museum, Texas Folklore Society, Library of Congress, the Center for Contemporary Arts
  • Funding: National Endowment for the Arts, Texas Commission on the Arts
  • Original Format: Betacam SP
  • © 1985 Alan Govenar
  • 28mins, Color