For me, one of the best things about music is the fellowship it creates. In my life music has been a focal point around which a lot of wonderful friendships and artistic collaborations have grown and flourished, and it has provided a framework for so many great experiences.This collection of original and traditional music is, in large part, a celebration of musical fellowship and an acknowledgement of many of the friends with whom I’ve had the great pleasure of sharing music through the years. As each person contributed his or her unique gifts to the mix (so to speak), it was truly a thrill to watch the tunes become more than the sum of their parts. And it’s a thrill to be able to share them with you!
— Jody Marshall
1. Three Sisters of Erin (© Jody Marshall [BMI]) / Little Martha (Duane Allman) —
3:31 hammered dulcimers, percussion.
In Ireland, the Nore, Barrow, and Suir rivers—known as the “Three Sisters”—converge in the city of Waterford. In the first tune of this set, three separate dulcimer tracks converge to create a musical interpretation of cascading water. I’ve lost count of how many dulcimer tracks I ended up with in “Little Martha,” a tune I learned from the Allman Brothers’ classic album, “Eat a Peach.”
2. Cau’l Chouzano (Fernando Largo)
4:34 hammered dulcimer, Celtic harp (Ellen), silver flute (Elise), fiddle (Cathy)
A beautiful tune from Asturias, a Celtic region on the north coast of Spain. I am joined here by my band mates from the Celtic ensemble, MoonFire.
3. Celtic Jig Suite: The Gaudy Bauble (Amy White) / In the Grip of Stronger Stuff (Ian Anderson) / Ides of March (c Jody Marshall [BMI]) / Gaudy Bauble Reprise
7:13 piano, hammered dulcimer, fiddle (Andrea), bodhran & bones, shaker, mandolin (Amy), guitar (Al), tambourine & djembe (Steve), electric bass (Rico), bouzouki (Paul O.)
I’m grateful to Amy White for her wonderful tune, which marks the beginning and end of this journey in 6/8 time. I first heard the second tune at a Jethro Tull concert and adapted the melody for hammered dulcimer and mandolin. The third tune came to me during the wee hours of a March morning as the wind blustered outside.
4. The Brandy Tree (Otter’s Song) (Gordon Bok)
3:29 hammered dulcimer, vocals (Grace lead; Jody harmony), guitars (Al), piano (Paul N.)
Here’s what Gordon Bok says about this whimsical song: “I learned this from a small otter on Sherman’s Point, Knox County, Maine, on a cold morning in 1966. The refrain is my own.”
5. Mrs. Anne McDermott Rowe (Turlough O’Carolan)
2:48 solo hammered dulcimer
O’Carolan is the best-known of the 17th- and 18th-century itinerant Irish harpers. Many of his compositions are well suited to the hammered dulcimer.
6. Ross’ Reel no. 4 (trad. New England / Robertson’s Hornpipe (trad. Scottish) Banks Hornpipe (Parazotti)
3:36 hammered dulcimer, piano
A New England contra-dance tune (presented here with the second part first, an inspiration from the playing of fiddler Alisdair Fraser), followed by two tunes from the Scottish dance tradition. I particularly enjoyed playing with the classical elements of Banks Hornpipe, which is attributed to Parazotti, a 19th-century Italian fiddler.
7. Ragtime Tabby / Catnip Fling / Scattercat Polka (c Jody Marshall [BMI])
5:20 piano, hammered dulcimer, mandolin & guitar & accordion (Paul O.), fiddle (Andrea)
The antics of our many and varied cats inspired me to write these tunes.
8. Words Unspoken / Labyrinth (c Jody Marshall [BMI])
7:33 piano, hammered dulcimer, Celtic harp, chime, percussion, fretless bass (Rico)
Sometimes, it’s the words you don’t say that speak volumes …Long used for walking meditations, a labyrinth has a single path that leads to the center and back out again. The second piece in this set explores the fact that, sometimes, you end up right back where you started.
9. A Cottage in the Glen (c Jody Marshall [BMI])
3:19 piano, fiddle (Andrea), wooden flute (Karen), guitar (Paul O)
Oh, to have a little cottage where friends can drop by and share tunes around the hearth .... A musical toast to simple pleasures.
10. Vivace (Adam Falckenhagen)
2:42 hammered dulcimer, classical guitar (Paul O.)
Falckenhagen was an 18th-century German composer and lutenist. I like to play this lovely piece at a slower tempo than its title suggests.
11. Pumpherston Hornpipe (Jim Sutherland) / Puddleglum’s Misery (John Kirkpatrick)
4:30.hammered dulcimer, wooden flute (Karen), mandocello & guitar (Paul O.), acoustic bass (Charlie)
When I first heard these two twisty tunes I knew they belonged together. Their chromatic nature makes for quite an adventure on the hammered dulcimer! Pumpherston Hornpipe was originally written for the euphonium, a big brass wind instrument (basically a bugle on steroids).
12. Summer Garland (a.k.a. “The May Song”) (music by Padraigin Ni Uallachain; English translation of traditional Gaelic words adapted by Grace Griffith) / Miss Stewart of Grantully (Neil Gow) / Half-Past Three (c Jody Marshall [BMI]) / The High Road to Linton (traditional)
5:55 hammered dulcimer, vocals (Grace lead; Jody and Carey harmony and background), guitars (Zan), bodhran
There are many versions of the summer carol known as The May Song. This one is based on a version set to music by Gaelic singer Padraigin Ni Uallachain. The Gaelic chorus of the song translates as follows:
Golden summer from sunset
We brought the summer garland with us
From town to town and home afterwards
We brought the summer garland with us.
Miss Stewart is a Scottish tune typically played as both a march and a strathspey. My version is more or less a combination of the two. Half-Past Three is an example of the fruits of insomnia. And The High Road to Linton is a popular Scottish reel.