Patti Jo’s Country: Fiddlin’ Red and Desiree are Ruff Shodd

Fiddlin' Red and Desiree are Ruff Shodd

Fiddle and country banjo are pure delight. Tapping my foot and smiling, I looked at the name of the group. It was, Ruff Shodd: an old time string band that plays traditional, Celtic, folk, vintage blues, vintage country, and original songs.

“Rough shod” – Where had I heard that before? It was a term from my childhood, from my Midwestern mom. She would say, “They just run rough shod over ’em and there was nothin’ to be done.” I never thought much about it. I knew what she meant.

Now all these years later, I looked it up on the internet and found this definition:

rough-shod, 1680s, from rough (adj.) + shod. Originally of horses shod with the nails projecting from the shoe, to prevent slipping.

Two people performing traditional American music is fun, but wait until you see them. This is pure Americana.

Here is a video of an original song sung by Desiree Aguirre performing with Fiddlin’ Red Simson.

The Anniversary Song 

Fiddlin’ Red Simson is a tall and thin, Wild Bill Hickok look-alike with a long mustache, cowboy boots, and a wide-brimmed hat. His skill and close attention to authenticity in the performance of early American folk music can be heard in the sound tracks of movies and documentaries. Besides fiddle he plays guitar, banjo, mandolin, ukulele, harmonica, button accordion, jaw harp, spoons and sings real good. Favorite styles besides folk include ragtime and old time country. Fiddlin’ Red Simson is self-taught.

Besides being a fine musician, Fiddlin’ Red Simson is a real live blacksmith, producing replicas of Bowie knives, tomahawks, and fire starter steels. He hunts with a flintlock rifle and a black powder cartridge rifle. He loads his own bullets with a kit he designed from the original reloaders used in the 1870s. He competes in Cowboy Action as well as long-range shooting events.  


From Ruff Shodd‘s website: For 30 years, [Fiddlin’ Red Simson] has produced the common items used and carried by frontiersmen, that were traded to Native Americans using historic techniques and tools, including tomahawks, knives, axes, firearms and other sundry tools of the period.  These items have been used for historical re-enactments and are also displayed in many private collections.

Red is an historian and gives educational seminars, and performs old time music on his vintage collection of instruments. His seminars and presentations feature early American folklore from 1770 – 1870.

Fun Fact: In Washington Fiddlin’ Red performed as Wild Bill Hickok in a real Wild West Show.

Desiree Aguirre started taking lessons from Red in 2011. Soon, that same year, Ruff Shodd was formed. Desiree and Red believe their music is an emotion evoking art form that can heal a heart. Music that can make you laugh, cry and dance brought them together and now informs their performances.

From Desiree Aguirre: “Fiddlin` Red Simpson and I met three years ago, and I fell in love with old time string band music. Red taught me to play mandolin, claw-hammer banjo, back-up guitar, and some fiddle (the dog doesn’t howl when I play, but does leave the room if at all possible, so I leave the fiddling to Red).

“Red has been playing old time music for more than 40 years, and learned from some fine old fiddlers. We continue the tradition, and love the magic that occurs when we play together. We have added mountain dulcimer, hammer dulcimer, bones, and Bodhran to our act, and eventually, I hope to master the harp.

“A writer, I started putting words to music a couple years ago, and Red always selects the right instrument to back me up. Our music is traditional, folksy, and wrapped with love.”

Desiree Aguirre lives with an assortment of furry animals. Her favorite sport is riding her horse into the hills above her house. She is the editor of the Bereaved Parents of the USA’s Coeur d’Alene Newsletter, and writes a health tips column for the Sandpoint Senior Center. Desiree Aguirre’s blog for bereaved parents is called: The Worst Day Club and can be found at this link:



This song, Flying Circles, is what you get when it all comes together

Flying Circles on ReverbNation

Here is Fiddlin’ Red Simpson fiddlin’

Ruff Shod Waterbound

Here is Fiddlin’ Red Simpson singing Same Old Man

Same Old Man

Learn more and Contact Ruff Shodd

Fiddlin’ Red and Desiree are Ruff Shodd

Ruff Shod Website


Ruff Shodd is Ranked #1 on Reverbnation


Ruff Shodd on NumberOneMusic


Ruff Shodd on Facebook

Contact Ruff Shodd by emailing Fiddlin’ Red’s Music Store at


Fiddlin’ Red Simson is pictured here in front of Fiddlin’ Red’s Music Store in Sandpoint, Idaho that features the Washburn line of instruments, musical accoutrements, as well as used items. If you have an instrument that needs repair, Red can do that too.

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One Response to Patti Jo’s Country: Fiddlin’ Red and Desiree are Ruff Shodd

  1. Both Fiddlin’ Red and Desiree are wonderful musicians and fine folks as well. Desiree is also a member of our Sandpoint Monday Writers Group and she is a delight. She often does free writing in song form and weaves it into her local lifestyle and her true history of hard times.

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