Maddie Denton may be one of the best fiddle players you’ve heard, but not heard of. That might change with the release of her debut album, Playin’ in this Town. A veteran of the fiddle competition circuit, Denton has won 14 state titles in five states since 2008. She also handles fiddle duties for the bands Modern Tradition, the East Nash Grass, the Dan Tyminski Band, and the Theo and Brenna Band.
The album kicks off with a lively version of “Sally Goodin,” which Denton says in the liner notes was the first fiddle tune she learned and was her late grandfather’s favorite. There’s also a great version of the western swing song “My Window Faces the South.” She really gets to show out with John Hartford’s “In Tall Buildings.”
In addition to the fiddle, Denton handles lead vocals and plays mandolin, guitar, banjo and bass in a song she dedicates to her dad, who recently retired after 39 years on the job.
Along the way on the 12 tracks she gets help from some notable names, including her East Nash Grass bandmates Cory Walker on banjo and Gaven Largent on Dobro, Harry Clark on vocals and guitar and Geoff Sanders on bass. Theo MacMillan contributed some vocals and writing and Denton wrote one song, “Within My Heart.”
Denton, who was also a key member of the Middle Tennessee State golf team a few years ago, earned high praise from Sam Bush, who said, “She plays with bluegrass drive and the finesse of the Texas contest style.”