Kelly Perdue (1960-2005)
Kelly was an accomplished multi-instrumentalist and old-time musician who focused primarily on the mandolin. He was a founding member of the Mando Mafia, a modern mandolin ensemble who played global string band music. Kelly and the Mando Mafia went on to win the neo-traditional band competition at the Appalachian String Band Festival (also known as Clifftop) an unprecedented three times. In addition, Mando Mafia were among the finalists in this competition seven more times. Kelly passed away at the untimely age of 45, leaving his wife, Libby, and two young sons, Ben and Daniel.
At some point in his life Kelly sat down in front of a 4-track cassette recorder to start recording fiddle tunes performed on the mandolin. These tunes were recorded at far less than his full tempo in order to pass them on to players in the community who wanted to learn them. Copies of these recordings of varying quality have been passed around for years however, we felt there was a need to clean them up and present them to the wider world with the best quality possible. These recordings are what you can listen to here.
Each tune was announced and then played just a couple of times through. The majority of the tunes he recorded, as reproduced here, were either in the keys of G or C with a select few in the keys of D and A. Unfortunately for us, he did not exhaust his repertoire by any means. As Tim O’Brien said in an obituary for Kelly, “He had a head for fiddle tunes that was really something. He was full of fiddle tunes and you couldn’t stump him. He knew them all.”