Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Leonard Finseth- A fiddler 30 miles from the border with many Minnesota connections
Leonard Finseth was born at the same Mondovi, Wisconsin farm where he lived all his life. Leonard's father came from Norway, and he married his mother in the early 1900's and they lived at that same farm. Leonard was born in 1911 and passed away in 1991. He learned to fiddle from his uncle Ed Quall. Ed Quall played fiddle for local dances with an accordion player. When Leonard was old enough, Leonard started playing with them on guitar.
He had several fiddling friends who he visited frequently and shared tunes with, among them being legendary Minnesota fiddlers Harold Sorenson and Edwin Johnson. In his archives there are reel recordings of him playing with various fiddlers in the Spring Grove, MN area.
His penchant for recording himself, his uncle, and his friends has led to a treasure trove of recordings that are packed away in his archives. He also recorded two commercial LP's. We can enjoy a few of his songs off one of his out-of-print records- The Hills of Old Wisconsin. Thirty miles away those same hills are known as Bluff Country, Minnesota.