Carroll Parham and Debbie Bridgewater are the heart and soul of Fiddle Sticks Music on the South Loop in Stephenville, and if you or someone you know want to learn to play a stringed instrument, they're equipped and ready to help you. For that matter, for those interested in piano or voice lessons, Debbie can help with that too.
"I've been playing since I was four," she said. "My father, Lee Bridgewater, was a fiddle player and I used to go with him to Blue Grass festivals. That's how it all got started for me."
And she must be doing something right: Debbie was the first woman guitar player ever profiled in Flatpicking Guitar Magazine in the January/February 1998 issue.
Carroll, who was raised near Chalk Mountain and still cattle ranches out there, was taught on an old guitar as a child by his mother.
"She was a kind, tender woman," he said. "She taught me as a little boy, so like Debbie, I've been playing all my life."
Between the two of them, they "can play virtually all the stringed instruments," Debbie says, adding, "and we've taught students as young as four and as old as 90, so if they're ready and willing, we can teach just about anybody."
They opened Fiddle Sticks in 2006 and say they've been busy from the beginning.
"We have a lot of adult students and we teach music to home-schooled kids quite a bit. We will teach people to read music, but we try to teach them to play by ear, too so they can just sit down and enjoy themselves without sheet music," Debbie said.
Carroll adds that they do workshops and run a two or three-day summer camp each year.
"We'll teach any kind of music, but we especially like to teach old music like country and western, blue grass and gospel."
"A big part of our mission here is to help preserve that old-time music," Debbie says. "Country music has changed so much over time, it's nothing like the old music. We want to expose people, especially kids who have never heard it, to the base foundation of where it all started."
Speaking of old-time music, Carroll and Debbie have an astonishing collection of old albums. You ready?
"We have around 240,000 old albums," Carroll said proudly.
They teach fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin, dobro, bass guitar, dulcimer, piano, steel guitar and as was mentioned, Debbie also teaches voice. In addition, they sell accessories and old LP's of course, and they restring instruments.
"We'll set up lessons in the evening for adults that work," Carroll says.
If you'd like to hear this dynamic duo playing, there's a short audio file on their website at http://www.fiddlesticksmusicshop.com/Fiddle_Sticks_Music.php.
Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page − it's a ways down there but well worth the effort.