Bluegrass fiddle tends to get lumped in with what's called "mountain music." So it's funny that one of the most recognizable fiddle tunes of all time, "Orange Blossom Special," actually has its roots in the lowlands of Eastern North Carolina. Ervin T. Rouse, who wrote the song in 1938, was born in Craven County and lived most of his life in Florida. But that's not terribly uncommon.
"In the mid-'80s, I was doing fieldwork and found that some of the richest counties for fiddle music were actually in Eastern North Carolina," says Wayne Martin of the N.C. Arts Council. "But people have focused on the mountain traditions for the past 100 years, and it has become so firmly associated with that. Down in Eastern North Carolina, people who play this music and have hardly ever left their whole lives, even they call it 'mountain music' because it's been branded that way."
For more on the oft-covered "Orange Blossom Special" and Rouse's sad and fascinating life, see this feature from Sunday's paper. There will also be a marker-dedication ceremony for Rouse on Saturday in Buzzard's Corner; details on that are in the story.