Bluegrass musician Roger Huron's passion for music started early in life. By the age of 4, whenever his family would return home from church he would run straight to the piano in the living room. "I'd hunt and peck out the songs I'd heard in church," Huron said. He then pantomimed playing a keyboard and sang out "Jesus...loves...me...this...I...know."
But Huron said that in order to tell his story; you have to start with his mother. "She saw the natural ability in me early on and always encouraged me to play," Huron said.
Huron's mother, Mildred, had always played piano in the Huron home and came from a musical family. She let him start taking piano lessons at age 12. However, he could quickly tell that there were other instruments that he would be more suited for.
When Mildred let her son expand his lessons at age 14, he went to Rising Sun musician Clara Eggleston, who taught him the fundamentals of guitar and fiddle playing. He took his lessons and went on to play in a series of rock and country bands in the 1960s.
Huron said by the end of the '60s he had grown tired of playing electric guitar with all the extra gear that he would have to haul around in order to play his music. "I stopped electric and became more of a purist," Huron said.
With a renewed interest in bluegrass and mountain music, Huron took up the fiddle again and also began playing the banjo.
"I played some really bad fiddle for a long time," Huron said, "until I figured out to follow with the tune and keep that bow down on the strings."
In 1971 Huron played in his first fiddling contest at the Versailles Pumpkin Show. It was at that contest that he met Fiddlin' Dick Wilson. "He was mountain through and through," Huron said about the man who would become his musical inspiration.
As the years have passed, Huron has been able to play with some of the best local bluegrass talents. "It's a common interest that brings us together," Huron said. "You don't meet many strangers in these circles."
Mike Summers, who played banjo accompaniment for Huron at the Neavill's Grove Old Settlers Meeting fiddling contest Friday, said the years have been good to Huron's music. "I haven't played with him in 20 years," said Summers after they got off stage. "He's come along real well."
Huron's mother died recently after a long illness. "I used to sit at her bedside and play for hours on end," Huron said. "She always encouraged my playing, and I'll always remember her for that."
He said he still plays for her when he picks up the fiddle or banjo, whether on stage or at home. (Story - ©Ken Ritchie/The Madison Courier)