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.
The trio began performing as The Speckers in 2005 and became 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).
Ida Mae is a part of the blossoming local music scene in Southern Vermont and is always pursuing new opportunities to collaborate and develop as an artist.
In addition to performing her recently released 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).
"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
Ida Mae released her first
solo album ‘Single Girl’ in 2013.
The album features her on fiddle, guitar, washboard, and kick drum, singing lead and harmony vocals. Reviewer Dan Bolles lauded her visceral, woozy grit, and compared her version of the classic ‘In The Pines’ with the definitive Leadbelly and Bill Monroe versions. He went on to state that, “much like her father, Ida Mae Specker is a profoundly gifted and technically sound fiddler. Her multifaceted bowing technique is particularly impressive. In terms of raw energy, Single Girl stands about a country mile from the majority of bluegrass and old-time releases.”
Ida Mae released her second solo EP ‘Billy in the Heartland’ in December 2019. This new EP represents her first release of all-original music (plus one traditional ballad), and is a departure into new, exciting territory. Brendon Thomas, from nearby Chester, VT, engineered the record at Owl Sounds studio and played the majority of the instruments. He is known as 1/3 of touring indie-folk band 'The End of America.'
Seven Days VT reviewer Margaret Grayson praised Specker's version of traditional ballad Wagoner's Lad. She compares the version to Joan Baez's, saying,
"Specker's brilliant decision to strum instead of fingerpick makes the century-old song feel completely new. It also demonstrates her strong vocals and ability to create something unique in a genre that's recycled the same tunes for generations."
Grayson also notes that on original song 'Red Dust in Texas,'
"Specker digs in on a powerful, guitar-fueled chorus with an outlaw country vibe that wouldn't be out of place on Tanya Tucker's comeback album."