The Second Stringers
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The Second Stringers

Nashville, Tennessee, United States

Nashville, Tennessee, United States
Band Folk Bluegrass


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



""Second Stringers: Grand Ole Opry Debut Smash Success""

John: Supersized!

As the proud aunt of the "one with his hair all up in the air," I could not resist sharing the YouTube video of nephew John Saba and the Second Stringers from Vanderbilt's Blair School of Music. Introduced by Mike Snyder, the group made their Grand Ole Opry debut Saturday night, playing a medley of the Grey Owl and Indian Killed a Woodcock! Great show, guys and gals! If you're near Nashville on April 4th, catch their live performance at the Vanderbilt's Appalachian Celebration. - Commentary from a fan's blog

""Midwest Fiddle Champs""

Eva Walsh and Rachel Baiman of the Second Stringers win first place at the 8th Midwest Fiddle Championship.

Via Paul Tyler: The winning performance by Rachel Baiman and Eva Walsh at the 8th Midwest Fiddle Championship, Open Division, held last night in Lincoln Square:

Video Link - Chicago Tribune

""Blair's Second Stringers make music on campus""

Some fiddlers say the difference between a fiddle and a violin is that a violin has strings and a fiddle has “strangs.” But members of the Second Stringers, Blair School of Music’s student string band, will say it has less to do with a Southern accent and more to do with style and love of the centuries-old folk music.

“That’s the main thing about this music,” Matt Combs, fiddle instructor and the group’s faculty leader, said. “When I got into it, it was my music, and I didn’t have to go to school for it. It was a lot of fun, and that’s kind of been our goal with this, to keep it fun and not get too, I don’t know, academic about it.”

Though the four students who form the string band earn academic credit for being a part of the ensemble, they have performed in public, at various Vanderbilt events, live on WRVU and, last spring, at the Grand Ole Opry.

“It was pretty incredible,” said sophomore fiddler Rachel Baiman. “I was a freshman. I wrote home about that one. ‘Hey guys, just getting off the Opry, I’m fine.’”

The Second Stringers

The group also will perform this weekend at Blair’s annual Appalachian Celebration. At the annual event, which will be held on Saturday at 8 p.m. in Ingram Hall, the Second Stringers will perform alongside the Matt Combs Quartet and James Bryan, whom one group member described as “a big old-time fiddler.”

Students in the current group in addition to Baiman include senior Eva Walsh, a vocalist, fiddler and occasional mandolin and ukulele player; senior guitarist and sometimes mandolinist John Saba and freshman bass player Jackson Hocott.
Some of them have musical majors, but others, like Saba, are from other disciplines, like English and anthropology. But that doesn’t keep them from forming a tight harmonious kinship. When they play together they watch each other’s eyes to signal changes, and when they’re not playing, they’re laughing.

“I was in 8th grade [when I started guitar],” Saba said.

“Aw, little John,” Raiman said, picturing a 14-year-old Saba.

“Serenading the ladies with your guitar skills?” Walsh joked.

“I played euphonium in band. That didn’t last very long,” Saba said.

“That doesn’t get the girls,” Combs said.

“No,” Saba said, as the whole group laughed.

As opposed to the euphonium, Combs said fiddle is one of the most wide-reaching instruments in the world, so it can be found in almost every kind of music.

“String band music, bluegrass, old time, western, swing, Irish,” he said listing genres. “There’s just a myriad of styles you can play on the fiddle.”

The audience at the Appalachian Celebration will get a taste of some of that variety, including an Irish jig set The Second Stringers will play. But what the group is most looking forward to is the jam session all the musicians will play in at the end of the night.

“It’s going to be a rocking good time,” Walsh said. -

""The Second Stringers""

The “Second Stringers,” the Blair School of Music’s newest student string band, debuted on the on March 28 with the Mike Snyder Band. Matt Combs, adjunct instructor of fiddle and head of the fiddle program at Blair, directs the group. Pictured here from left to right are Rachel Baiman, Eva Walsh and Alicia Enstrom. Other members on stage that night included Mike Rinne, John Saba and Ben Sanders. - Vanderbilt Magazine


Still working on that hot first release.



"The Second Stringers" are the fantastic string band of Vanderbilt's Blair School of Music, under the direction of Grammy-nominated fiddler and Grand Ole Opry veteran, Matt Combs. This year, the group features the talents of Rachel Baiman (fiddle, vocals), Ben Sanders (fiddle, mandolin, vocals), and Jackson Hocott (bass) with two new-comers, Luke Elderkin (guitar) and Jason Theobald (fiddle, vocals). The group plays old-time classics, bluegrass standards, and has covered country hits by the likes of Nanci Griffith and Karen Dalton. This year, the Stringers will perform covers and original music.