MOUNTAIN VIEW From the minute she saw the Dixie Chicks perform on television when she was 2 years old, Clancey Ferguson knew she wanted to play the fiddle.
Her mother, Babbie, said Clancey, after seeing that performance, would “air fiddle” all around the house and beg for violin lessons.
At age 5, after three years of begging for lessons, Clancey received her first violin and took her first lesson.
“I started out on classic violin and then transitioned into fiddling,” said Clancey, now 15. “I’ve been playing for about 10 years.”
When she was 9, Clancey started playing her violin in the fiddle style.
“It’s more relaxed,” she said. “You can’t tap your toes to classical violin.”
After her mother saw the skill Clancey developed playing the fiddle, she decided to move to a place where her daughter’s musical talent could thrive.
“We lived outside of Pine Bluff at the time,” Babbie said.
Six years ago, the Fergusons moved to Mountain View, a place known for its preservation of folk and bluegrass music.
Through the years, Clancey has performed at numerous venues in various states, but the Ozark Folk Center State Park in Mountain View is one of her regular stops.
“I like watching people’s reactions to the music we play,” Clancey said. “It’s really fun.”
At age 12, she was the first child to be named Musician of the Year at the Ozark Folk Center, Babbie said.
Clancey’s musical talents aren’t limited to just the fiddle. She also plays piano, mandolin and guitar.
“We have no storage,” Babbie said. “Instruments are in all of the closets and under all the beds.”
Clancey is home-schooled so she can focus on her music, and she goes to camps every summer to learn new musical skills and make music daily.
“When she goes to music camp, she meets people who are established in the music industry,” Babbie said.
Balancing music and school can be difficult at times, Clancey said, but her workplaces allow her to focus on schoolwork during downtime.
“Usually if I have a performance, I get up at 6 a.m. and do school,” she said.
When she performs at the Ozark Folk Center, Clancey said that between shows, she will sit down and do schoolwork if she has the chance.
Clancey has recorded three CDs of her singing and playing the fiddle with a band called Clancey and the Rag Tags.
“I recorded my first CD when I was 10 years old,” she said.
Clancey said her dream right now is to travel and be a performer.
“One day, I want to play on the Grand Ole Opry,” she said.
While living in Mountain View, Clancey said, she has learned how to clog and fiddle at the same time, along with jig dancing.
“Jig dancing is a mix of everything. It’s freestyle flatfoot [dancing],” she said.
Babbie said she devotes most of her time to teaching Clancey and helping her pursue her dream of becoming a performer.
“My job is to drive her places,” Babbie said.
Right now, Clancey said, the most difficult part of her fiddling is learning new tunes to play for her audience.
“Some tunes you have to really focus and work on,” Clancey said.
In addition to her musical talents, Clancey calls square dances at various festivals.
As far as the future, Clancey said, she would like to play more music festivals and would like to attend East Tennessee State University and earn a degree in business, with a minor in bluegrass music.
Staff writer Lisa Burnett can be reached at (501) 244-4307 or email@example.com.