Hillary Klug is very popular in Nashville – but now the people who follow her have expanded across the globe fortunately to her YouTube videos.
The fiddler and buck dancer from Fayetteville, Tennessee got her beginning by giving wonderful street performances. She also served as the concertmaster of the Tennessee Fiddle Orchestra for 4 years.
But what’s even more impressive is the fact that she can play the fiddle and buck dance – a type of folk “tap” dance – both at the same time! Actually, Klug was even the National Buck Dancing Champion in 2013 (and the National Old Time Buck Dancing Champion in 2019).
For the rest of us who can hardly walk and chew at the same time, seeing her performance of “Cotton-Eyed Joe” is truly something to be mesmerized by – and people have done that more than 3.7 million times ever since she posted her video in 2018.
Born to a family which wasn’t exqxtly musical she told Strings Magazine last year that, despite that fact, she still felt called to dance and would even choreograph her own routines in front of a full-length mirror to whatever song came through on the radio.
At only the age of eight she took up clog dancing but after getting the chance to hear a fiddle performance at a music festival, she decided to branch out.
Taking lessons from some of the most renowned buck dancers and fiddle players in the South, she was pretty soon participating in different competitions and was named the Kentucky State Dance Competition in 2013.
It wasn’t until she began teaching her own dance class one day that she decided to mix up both her fiddling and dance skills.
“I needed slower music for my students to be able to practice. But I couldn’t find any recordings of slow fiddle music. So I brought my fiddle and played it myself. The next week I played another tune. We started getting faster with each class until I was able to dance and play at the same time, out of necessity,” she told Strings.
She got into busking (street performing) in Nashville as soon as she planned to drive into town from Fayetteville for a competition but she was really worried about the cost of making the trip.
“Parking was, like, 20 bucks each day for two days. I didn’t know if I’d even be able to break even. But I knew that busking was a thing on Broadway, so I took my fiddle and played for 15 minutes. Nobody wanted to hear it; they just kept walking.”
Fiddler players are nothing but common in the streets of Nashville. But fiddle players who can dance are another story.
“Then, I started dancing. I had my cowboy boots on. And everybody stopped. It was astounding. I got a $20 tip from somebody right away. That’s how I discovered that doing both together is very entertaining.”
Her YouTube channel and the millions of views she gets are pretty much al of the evidence needed to that. There are moments in her performance of “Cotton-Eyed Joe” where it’s close to impossible in order to believe that she’s capable of doing both of them at the same time – and she can keep the music sounding amazing despite all that movement!
The piece of wood she dances on also adds another layer of complexity since it’s pretty much raised off the ground – she has to be cautious not to fall off of it while dancing on it!
And if you think that’s unusually amazing, Klug now plans on touring around with her new album and perhaps even add vocals!
Did we hear anything about a triple threat?
Make sure to go down below if you want to see her wonderful performance.