Rocking the Fiddle with Boyd Tinsley and Crystal Garden at One- Eyed Jacks

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Published on: July 28th, 2017

Boyd Tinsley

Rock Fiddler Boyd Tinsley On Tour With Crystal Garden. Image courtesy of The James Mathews Band


Well-known rock-violinist Boyd Tinsley is taking advantage of The Dave Mathews Band’s 2017 summer hiatus to tour as performer, producer, and band-manager with jam-rock group Crystal Garden.

Fresh from an early July Unity Concert in Charlottesville, Va – just blocks away from a KKK rally – Crystal Garden will be play here in New Orleans at OneEyed Jacks on Wednesday, August 2, 2017.

Crystal Garden is Mycle Wastman on guitar and vocals, Charlie Csontos on bass, Matt Frewen on drums, Tinsley guest stars with the band, but for the most part he prefers to take a backseat role.

“The guys in the band are phenomenal musicians,” said Tinsley. “They can go anywhere musically, and I can see this band going in any direction they want to go.”

Tinsley is a fiddle player and mandolinist and, for many people, both those instruments are more closely associated with folk, Celtic, and Old-Time music than rock.

“Violin in rock music is still somewhat rare,” said Tinsley. “But what I do is influenced by Classical, Jazz and Bluegrass fiddle, and also by some older Blues violinists like Papa John Kreach from Jefferson Airplane, as well as Celtic music. That is the kind of music that has had a profound influence on me. And It has been great that I have kind of been able to develop a new type of playing – violin rock – and reach beyond the envelope.”

According to Tinsley, the fiddle wasn’t his first choice of instrument. However, from his very first lesson at 11 years of age, he was hooked on what he describes its uniquely human sound.

“The violin has human expression to it,” he said. “It’s almost like listening to the human soul. I connected to that part of it right away. I started when I was 11, so it has been more than 40 years that I have been playing, and it was probably the first thing that ever came naturally to me. And I am still learning so I try not to have any boundaries on what I can play. I don’t put limits on the music. I stretch and go to another place musically. the only way that you can grow is just to be fearless.”

That fearlessness when it comes to defying musical pigeon-boxes is something that Tinsley credits to his first fiddle teacher, Carl Van Valkenberg.

“When I first started to learn, he was my introduction to jazz fiddle players,” said Tinsley. “I grew up dreaming of playing rock fiddle because my teacher opened my eyes to those kinds of possibilities.”

Both Tinsley and Crystal Garden are looking forward to arriving in New Orleans.

“New Orleans is just like one of those highlight spots on any tour,” said Tinsley. “Some of the guys have never been here before, so it’s great that we can spend a couple of days here in New Orleans and I get to show them around a little.”

“And,” he laughed. “I will do my best to keep them out of the casinos.”


Crystal Garden will perform at One-Eyed Jacks, 615 Toulouse Street, New Orleans, 70130 on Wednesday, August 2, 2017. Doors open at

More information on Crystal Garden is available at

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