Fiddler Candy Girard plays Gravenstein Apple Fair
When classical-jazz violinist and country-swing fiddler Candy Girard takes the stage, she’s not alone. She carries with her an impressive resume that is several decades long.
“I feel lucky because I have been able to make a living throughout my life by playing music,” said Girard, 69, who settled in Salmon Creek in 2018 after more than 30 years in Los Angeles backing a variety of musicians in concert, on TV and in recording studios.
“I always knew when I was in Los Angeles that I wanted to come up to Northern California, but I’ve kept playing,” she said. “I’ll die if I can’t play music.”
Girard will perform at the Gravenstein Apple Fair this weekend with the Jerry Kerr Band at noon Saturday and with Kevin Russell and The Familiar Strangers at 11:30 a.m. Sunday.
The Gravenstein Apple Fair features live music on two main stages, arts and crafts, food vendors, exhibits, farm animals, kids’ activities and, of course, Gravenstein apples, at Ragle Ranch Regional Park in Sebastopol.
During her long career, Girard has toured with James Bond theme song star Shirley Bassey and country music great Hank Thompson. She’s recorded with Barry Mann, Delaney Bramlett and Mason Williams.
Her TV credits include “The Tonight Show,” where she backed Tammy Wynette and Clint Black, as well as “American Idol,” “Whose Line Is It Anyway,” “Dancing with the Stars” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”
“When I lived in L.A., I worked with everybody. Down there, I was always a hired hand. You could hire me and I’d play,” Girard said. “It wasn’t so much me being featured. I was hired to back up other people.”
But perhaps Girard is being overly modest. In October, she’ll be inducted into the Western Swing Hall of Fame in Rancho Cordova.
Some of Girard’s musical credits go well beyond the usual sort of gig. For a decade, she toured on and off with the Circus Flora, which boasted the famed aerial act The Flying Wallendas.
She also played in the band at home games for the Los Angeles Raiders football team and at several amusement parks, including Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm.
“Sometimes, it’s hard to remember all this stuff I’ve done,” she admitted.
Girard also can be heard on the soundtracks of the “Firefly” TV series and the “World of Star Craft” video game.
“Looking back, I was always so stubborn,” she said. “I only wanted to do music.”
One of Girard’s collaborators during her Los Angeles years was mandolin player Tom Corbett. When she moved north, he connected her with his brother, Jim “Mr. Music” Corbett, musician and promoter of Sebastopol’s Peacetown concert series.
Before long, she had started working with local singer, songwriter, guitarist and band leader Kevin Russell, whose group she joined.
“He loves all the same stuff I do,” Girard said of Russell. “Musically, I am home.”
You can reach Staff Writer Dan Taylor at email@example.com or 707-521-5243. On Twitter @danarts.