This book, which includes 308 tune transcriptions, is organized around individual fiddlers who typically combine Appalachian-style fiddling with rags, pop standards, Midwest-style fiddling and sometimes a touch of Western swing to create a style often identifiable as Ozarks. Thirty Ozarks fiddlers and their lives are highlighted with biographical sketches, photographs, and tune histories. Another 50 great Ozarks fiddlers are presented in a similar manner but with less detail. The book and accompanying CD (with 37 tunes, many recorded in the field) emphasize the older fiddling traditions connected to the square dances and community events more than those connected to bluegrass music and modern contest fiddling. Some of the tunes in the collection are old standbys such as Bile Them Cabbage while others such as Finley Creek Blues are unique to the region.
The book is the result of years of work by two respected researchers. Gordon McCann won the prestigious Missouri Arts Award in 2002 for his decades of work documenting, studying, and accompanying Ozarks fiddle music. Drew Beisswenger, a music librarian at Missouri State University with a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology, has published three other works about fiddle music and is known for his strong transcription and analysis skills.