Ida Mae's Story
A 3rd generation fiddle player, Ida Mae was born in a one room cabin in the woods of Vermont. Along with her older sister Lila, she learned to play the fiddle at a very early age from her father John Specker.
Vermont Public Radio's Robert Resnik calls the Specker family "Vermont Folk Heroes." The Speckers have been performing since 2005 and are renowned for “playing a rambunctious version of old-time music that owes as much to punk rock as Appalachia, at least in attitude.” (Seven Days VT).
As a solo performer, Ida Mae fuses original, contemporary, and traditional material, bringing heartfelt new life and relevance to the chain of American folk music. Her EP of original music, 'Billy in the Heartland,' was released in December 2019. During the winter of 2020-2021, Ida Mae guest-hosted Vermont Public Radio's folk and world music show "All The Traditions," a temporary position which she is reprising in July 2023. In December 2021, Ida Mae was awarded a grant from the Vermont Arts Council to record live in-studio performance videos highlighting her emerging solo work. Ida Mae is currently touring with a backing band, frequently featuring Marc Edwards on guitar, Henry Clark on Mandolin, and Mowgli Giannitti on upright bass. They are releasing their first EP in summer 2023, recorded in a live session at the Peru Church in Peru, VT, by Dan Rome and Austin Burrell (Future Fields, Burlington). She also performs frequently with Michael James Wheeler and Will Seeders. In addition to performing her original material as a solo performer or with a full band, she is a member of traditional old-time string bands Terrible Mountain Stringband and The Speckers (fiddle, vocals), and is a member of the all-female, folk-punk trio The Break Maids (drums, fiddle, vocals).
Ida Mae loves being a part of the blossoming local music scene in Vermont and is always pursuing new opportunities to collaborate and develop as an artist.
"When Ida Mae Specker deploys scratch triplets, she does so in such a relaxed and natural manner that the effect is more like a bent note in the blues, like a little slingshot that throws the tune forward to make it swing a little. There is as much Mississippi Sheiks in her style as there is Appalachia."
“Ida Mae makes time-worn classics seem like they were written just for her.” ~ Seven Days VT
"Old-time music is my foundation. I think of it as a well, or a spring; new possibilities and artistic inspirations are constantly flowing from a single source... Every time someone plays a tune, a melody that is hundreds of years old is transformed and reinterpreted in a modern way. It’s a way of channeling and invoking voices from the past, but it’s also a way of expressing your individuality. As long as people continue to pass on the music to the next generation, it will continue to serve its purpose. As my dad says, we are just 'kinks in the chain.'” ~ IMS