Back to Rockville

Kansas City fiddler Betse Ellis gets some national spotlight

Most Kansas City music fans have known about Betse Ellis for 20 years or so. She was a founding member of the Wilders, a quartet that for 15 years toured the country and Europe playing traditional country and Appalachian music. This week, the rest of the country heard about her.

Sunday night, the PBS News Hour aired a piece about Ellis and her 98-year-old mentor, Arkansas fiddler and fiddle-maker Violet Hensley. The piece first aired on “Arts Upload,” a program on KCPT, the local PBS affiliate. It portrays the enduring relationship between the two and their love for fiddle music. You can watch it here.

The Wilders have been on hiatus for several years. Ellis has since pursued a solo career, touring nationally and releasing two albums: “Don’t You Want to Go?” in 2009 and “High Moon Order” in 2013. You can learn more about her and listen to and order her music at her website,

To reach Timothy Finn, call 816-234-4781 or send email to Follow the Back to Rockville blog on Twitter @kcstarrockville.