Beaumont Rag is a very popular fiddle tune of uncertain origin dating back to the 1920s and was named after the small town of Beaumont, in Southeastern Texas. The Beaumont Rag is considered a classic and is a favorite of most country or bluegrass fiddlers. It has probably been recorded more often by country fiddlers and flat-picking guitar players than any other rag.
This snappy little tune has several aliases such as: Possum Rag, White River Stomp and sometimes misnamed Dallas Rag, which of course is not the same tune. If the city of Beaumont were to have an official city song, Beaumont would certainly qualify because of its popularity everywhere in the great State of Texas.
Bill Keith takes this song for a really nice jaunt with his typical musical brilliance and melodic phrasing. The way Bill maps out these musical lines is always a mystery to me and probably most banjo players. This tune was recorded on his “The Grass Is Greener” LP in the mid 1990s and released on Rebel. Bill is joined by a great cast: Richard Green, fiddle, David Grier, guitar, and Chris Thile and Kenny Blackwell both playing mandolins.
Keith's natural musical genius and ability helped him to invent a completely new way of playing more of the melody of a bluegrass tune while still delivering the power and drive of Earl Scruggs. He invented a new way to lay out scalar and chordal positions on the bluegrass banjo neck. Bill's inventive new approach became known as Keith-style banjo playing.
I've put in the chord letters above the tablature to help you with this catchy fiddle tune. Have fun with this one...
Banjo News Letter, July 2013
Jack R. Baker