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Natalie Stovall: Peace, Love, Fiddle

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It started out as a choice between acting lessons or violin lessons when Natalie Stovall was 4 years old. Because her mother had fiddled with a violin while carrying the child, music won out.

“I’m not even sure I understood what the instrument was at the time,” Stovall said, “but I had a lot of fun in class.

Practicing, however, was another matter.

“I liked the attention and I liked being on stage,” she said. “That was a big deal, but she couldn’t get me to practice until she figured out that if she took me to a park, people would gather around me to listen, and then I’d practice all day.”

She loved playing so much that her teachers sometimes chastised her for smiling too much during recitals. Music, after all, is serious business, Stovall learned, until she discovered the other side of the instrument, the fiddling side.

“You could play fast and you could play two strings at once and you could make it up as you go,” she said. “I continued classical training up until I was 16, just to work on technique, but I was really a fiddler by then.
When she was 10, she auditioned for a job performing in Opryland park when they asked her to sing something. She didn’t sing, she told them. Sing anything, they said. She sang “Happy Birthday” and got a job singing as well as playing fiddle, and taking voice lessons.

Stovall ended up studying at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she played in orchestras and formed her first band, taking them home to Nashville with her to play around there during the summers. The drummer in that band is still with her today, but it took her 27 different musicians to create the lineup, now together for two years, that will perform with her on Saturday at the Fitton Center.


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