I'm a professional fiddle player with 30 years touring and recording experience, and over 100 album credits. I've worked with Bob Geldof, Alison Moyet, All about Eve, Michael Ball, David Soul, James Galway, Oumou Sangari, Najma Akhtar, The Quireboys and Boris Grebenchikov. I played on the debut single by Steps. "5,6,7,8"
My recording credits with major artists is a fairly random selection, but the majority of my live and recording work is either Celtic or Americana in style.
I have made a lifetime study of different fiddle styles, and can bring authority and authenticity whether I am playing bluegrass, western swing, country, rock, jazz, Irish, Scottish, gypsy or klezmer. I have written 11 books on different fiddle styles, and my website, fiddlingaround.co.uk, is the primary source of information about fiddle styles on the web, with a million hits a year.
The majority of my live work is playing with singers, and I take seriously the many ways in which a fiddler can enhance a song without getting in the way. I'm a big fan of Nashville session player Tommy Jackson, who with singers like Hank Williams mastered the art of creating an intro, filling the gaps between vocal lines, taking a simple but effective solo, and finding a great outro.
I have played on a lot of TV soundtracks, particularly BBC documentaries such as Michael Portillo's "Great Railway Journeys", "Wild Shepherdess" with Kate Humble, and "Journey to the edge of the World" with Billy Connolly.
As well as doing live work and recording sessions, I also write a lot of library music, usually in ethnic folk styles, and tracks from these get hundreds of different uses every year.
I'd love to hear about your project. Click the 'Contact' button above to get in touch.
10 ReviewsEndorse Chris Haigh
I would highly recommend Chris's work. I hired Chris to play fiddle on some of my songs and the tracks he delivered exceeded my expectation and really made the songs. He understood what I was looking for and his fiddle lines really complimented the other instruments. Working with Chris was very straightforward with good communication and quick turnaround time. Highly recommend, you wont be disappointed! https://stevewheelerband.com/music
I hired Chris to play on my EP that involves different styles of country music and Wow!, what a musician. I was blown away with his performance as he is an amazing fiddle player. He listened to my ideas and new exactly what I was looking for in the songs. Along with his interpretations, he helped mold the sound. His communication was outstanding and transactions and delivery of the tracks were quick. I truly am satisfied using Chris as my fiddle player and would recommend him above all.
I can highly recommend Chris for session violin, especially folk, blues, celtic styles. He's a great bloke as well as a superb musician,,,very easy to get on with and gets exactly what is required with a great vibe,
One day I came across Chris Haigh on the internet . I was looking for someone to play a fiddle part on one of my songs. I had looked at other people's sites but Chris' made me feel that he was confident on many styles of music. Honestly, I went with that impression and I'm so glad that I did. Not only was I happy with what Chris played but also how quickly he sent tracks to me. He sent three different tracks for me to choose from and all of those were fine.Any one of the tracks could have been used for the song.I know that I'll contact Chris again for some recording.
Chris played fiddle on our second studio album "Yee Ha with The Ree-Vahs!" and did a stunning job by really interpreting what we needed and stamping his ininmiatble style on the tracks he played on. His work on our tracks have been a real hit with our download fans across the World and he worked with us brilliantly to get the right feel. We did it all remotely from our studio in Northumberland but you'd never know as Chris feels "in the room" and fits perfectly to what we were doing. A great fiddler and great to work with either in person or remotely.
I needed someone who was highly competent in a range of styles for my record. Someone who could comfortably play western swing, country, blues and jazz. I know a few fiddlers from this area (Northern Ireland) and i looked at a heck of a lot of Youtube videos before i settled on Chris as the man for the job. He worked quickly, happy to do revisions and to satisfy the needs of the song. But the clincher for me was his sense of humour. Very important for working with any musician real or virtual.
Chris played on a couple of tracks for me and did a lovely and expressive job. he created the impros himself and worked seamlessly online with me.
If you want to hear them, they are here:
Our Summer Time
Lines of Love
I've used Chris on numerous projects over the years and the results have always been outstanding. Highly recommended!
Over the last few years I've used Chris on remote sessions for various production music projects ranging from vintage 'trad' jazz to bluegrass country style. He was able to completely nail the performances I was looking for and in most cases gave me more than I needed to choose from....cleanly recorded, great communication and delivered usually in a day or two. Perfect!
Chris did a great job on a folk country track for me where I needed violin in the style of something like Steve Wickham (water boys). He returned me a few versions and performances so I could comp through. Highly recommended
Interview with Chris Haigh
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I will take your song as seriously as you do
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Being my own boss. After University I was a school teacher for two years. The day I quit, I wrote a tune called "Everyday's a Holiday". I still smile at the memory, and it's as true now as it was then!
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Is anything else going to go on the track after the fiddle? What reference tracks did you have in mind when you decided to add fiddle?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Listen to several tracks by the session musician you're considering. If you like the playing but don't quite hear the appropriate style, ask for another track which may not be on the Soundbetter site. Once you're into the recording stage, don't settle for second best; keep going till you get what you're happy with. Check each take thoroughly- make sure there's no clicktrack or external noise, and make sure you back up everything that is sent. The session musician isn't necessarily going to hang onto the parts he's recorded, and if you get back two weeks later asking for the same parts again, they may be already deleted. Tell the musician what you want, but also, on at least one take, give them a clear run to be inventive and take risks. They may well come up with something much better than you had i your imagination. By all means send themes, hooks or melodies, but don't try writing out solos. The musician will nearly always produce something better than you can compose.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: The band I would most like to play with is Asleep at the Wheel. Western Swing may not be one of the most popular musical styles among the public, but for a musician there's nothing more fun.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Improvisation, using the language of a particular musical style, and bringing out all the nuances which no songwriter could be expected to be able to direct.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I bring decades of experience of working with singers, and listening to and analysing what other fiddlers have done.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I'll listen to your song, and try and relate it to other songs in the same ball park to give me an idea of what you might be hoping for. If I'm unsure of what you want, I might ask for a couple of reference tracks illustrating the kind of fiddle you like. I'll write out a chord chart, then play through the track until I'm happy with what I'm doing, then hit record. I'll make three passes, usually a safe one, something a bit bolder, and the third might include some more off the wall experimentation. I try to include plenty of stops, so you can edit between different takes.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I love jazz violinist Grappelli for the joy of his playing and his relaxed approach, but also Stuff Smith for his "in your face" aggression. Bluegrass/western swing fiddler Vassar Clements for his originality and amazing licks; Irish fiddler Martin Hayes for his dreamy sensitivity. Mark O'Connor for his precision, his slow vibrato and creamy tone.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I mostly work for singer-songwriters, either in Celtic or Americana styles. Usually there is no written part, and I improvise a part based on the feeling and style of the song.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: Playing in Riverdance for a week at the Hammersmith Odeon. The music is extremely challenging, and I had to memorise the whole thing in a couple of weeks. It is one of the few musical shows where the commercial success matched the artistic triumph.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I am completing a book on country and bluegrass fiddle for the publisher Schott, and beginning a library album of mandolin and fiddle tunes
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Alan Dunn, the accordion player and keyboardist. He and I have worked together on many projects. He is a first rate player and thoroughly reliable.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I learned classical at School, then after University joined a prog rock band. I have been professional for around 35 years, playing in countless bands in the UK covering rock, jazz, country, Western Swing, bluegrass, Irish, Scottish, gypsy, klezmer and many others. Around 20 years ago I started studying these styles seriously, and putting my findings on my website, and in a series of fiddle books. I have been doing session work since the 80's. Besides commercial recordings, I have done many jingles, library albums and TV soundtracks, called on by producers looking for a particular niche fiddle sound.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: The copying of different styles in a range of genres is my speciality. However, free-flowing improvisation, a strong bluesy element, and a dark, breathy tone on quiet sections are common features of my playing.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Celtic, country and gypsy style songs, mostly for singer songwriters. I also do a lot of work on library tracks, and TV soundtracks
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I have a simple but effective home setup using Garageband, a desk and a high quality DPA mic. Initially I can send back a rough mix mp3 at 256 kbps, for quick reference, to give you an idea of my style. If you're happy with the general approach I'll then do three versions and send them as cleaned up AIFF 24-bit file (or WAV or AAC if you prefer)