If you're reading obituaries today of Sen. Robert C. Byrd, take a minute to search "Robert Byrd Mountain Fiddler" on YouTube. The 92-year-old Appalachian senator, in addition to being the nation's longest-serving member of Congress (House or Senate), was also an accomplished fiddler. In 1978, he recorded an album entitled "Mountain Fiddler," playing and singing some classic bluegrass tunes; the tracks are available on YouTube.
Christy Hardin Smith reminisces about Byrd's fiddling at FiredogLake, with video of Byrd playing at the Grand Ole Opry when he was Senate majority leader. Below are a few tracks from Byrd's 1978 album; in two of them, he delivers short introductions about how he learned the songs while growing up in West Virginia coal country.