• A. Trae McMaken

  • The website of the fiddler, storyteller, and tradition bearer.

National Trails System Recognition for Music and Storytelling

It's not up on their website yet, but it came in the mail. I'm glad to announce that I've been featured in the Partnership for the National Trails System's quarterly, "Pathways Across America," for my work as a musician and storyteller with the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail. Thanks to those who suggested me for this recognition!

More Reviews!


"The Overmountain Men Chapter of the Virginia Society, Sons of the American Revolution had a guest speaker at it's March Meeting by the name of A. Trae McMaken who, for over a half hour, had the members totally enthralled by his persona of a Scotland Immigrant being caught up in the perils and throes of a bitter war between settlers in Southwest Virginia. His depth of knowledge of the assembly of militia and their march to Kings Mountain and the ensuing Battle leads one to believe he actually took part in one of the major turning points of The American Revolution.
I am not sure you could have better served our organization. Being a Chapter in VASSAR, we look for speakers that can broaden our knowledge of the various aspects of The American Revolution.
Your information in story form certainly had everyone's attention as all of us were on the edge of our seats listening and hanging on to every word."

Bobby D McConnell, President
Overmountain Men Chapter
Virginia Society, Sons of The American Revolution (VASSAR)
Event: March monthly Chapter Meeting, 2013


"You had the audience in the palm of your hand from the very beginning of the story of the march to Kings Mountain until the last word was spoken. The children as well as adults listened intently as you used authentic music and dialog to make that historical event come to life."

Betty Cobb
Johnson City Public Library, 2013

Thank you so much for being here at the Southwest Branch Library. Your performance was mesmerizing, and historically informative. I think everyone in the audience found something to take home with them, and enjoyed the time they spent with you. It is rare that history can not only be brought to life, but you did something even more rare, you brought the lives of history to us. I personally never thought of the Revolutionary war as a civil war conflict before, even though most of what we learned in school, taught that. I think we just chose not to listen during our American History classes. You brought life to these people. The audience empathized with each and every character you created. The ending that that last character was finally 'just the fiddle player' showed how much sound and fury the world goes through to signify so much and so little! 

Your use of your musical talent just made a great program even better.

Thank you for a fabulous program." 
Kim Wetmore
Catawba County Library, 2013


"Trae did a wonderful job of bringing the revolutionary war time to life through his interpretation of stories and music from that time. It was truly a lesson in history, culture and human nature all rolled into one."

Alice Cohen, 2013


"Not only is your fiddling super strong and your choice of tunes lovely, it was that your style of playing is incredibly 'danceable.' Just because someone is a great fiddle player doesn't make them a great dance musician. It was music that made you want to dance and rhythmically supported the dancer while dancing. This combination means that dancing is easier and a dancer is more likely to dance all night long!"

Annie Fain Barralon
Music Coordinator
John C. Campbell Folk School 
Saturday Night Contra Dance, 2013


Folklore and Fiddle

Well, it was a busy and fun summer, with lots of fiddling and folklore to go around. Now, I'm gearing up for fall, but first a few highlights from the last summer tour. The trip was a folklore fieldwork and performance trip in northern Michigan to Mackinac Island, Goodheart, and Beaver Island. I was contracting with Michigan State University to do some interviews and recordings and also performing for a square dance and for a couple nights at the Circle M on Beaver Island with islander musicians John McCafferty and Ed Palmer. It was a good time.

Below is a shot of the square dance I played on Mackinac Island, with friend and fiddler Jim Boynton acting as caller.

Here's a shot of us getting ready for the next dance.

Below is an aerial photo taken of the lighthouse on Whiskey Point of Beaver Island. Friend and fellow musician John McCafferty flew me over to the island for the Circle M performances.

This is a shot from earlier in the summer at the Eve Glen McDonough Folk School on Beaver Island. This is one of the workshop classes I taught.