Original and Traditional Celtic Music

Al Petteway & Amy White's most recent release, featuring Al Petteway on guitar, Irish Bouzouki, bass, percussion & vocals, Amy White on mandolin, piano, guitar, congas, percussion, fiddle and vocals, and Paddy League on bodhran & percussion.

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You probably look at the tasteful, soft-focus pictures and think, "Christ, I wondered what happened to Guy and Ralna from The Lawrence Welk Show." But don't be fooled: Unlike that now-divorced husband-and-wife singing duo, Al Petteway and Amy White are not only really and truly in love with each other - an energy that ricochets between them during their performances - they're also in love with creating their caffeinated, jazz-spiked acoustic brew. Appropriately enough, these lovers are natives of Northern Virginia.

Petteway played bass in local funk bands in the late 70's, had a conversion experience after hearing John Renbourn at the Birchmere in the '80s, and became a virtuoso of Celtic-style finger-picked guitar with a world-class reputation and a lengthy discography.

White, a gifted visual artist, kept her music to herself until she met Petteway in 1994. Since then, he's helped her find the nerve to play her compositions for other people. (Her album of piano reveries, Bittersweet: an American Romance, was recorded partly at tonight's venue in 1998.) Meanwhile, White's background in classical music and improvisational jazz has stretched Petteway's repertoire, as evidenced on the first album to bear both their names, 1999's Racing Hearts. That project split their musical road into a tangle of possible paths. The one they've chosen to follow next will be featured on an upcoming album of "groove-oriented guitar duets" and, most likely, at tonight's show.

Pamela Murray Winters
The Washington City Paper

Tune List

  1. Mariposa (3:39)
  2. Riding the River (3:50)
  3. Morrison's Jig(4:54) *
  4. Polly Vaughn (5:39) vocal *
  5. Desert Dance (4:10)
  6. Playground (4:51)
  7. Wallflower Waltz (3:35)
  8. Hidden Wings (5:44)
  9. The Giddy Gauntlet / The Gaudy Bauble (3:28)
  10. She Moved Through the Faire (4:10) vocal *
  11. Racing Hearts (5:5)
  12. Lullaby (3:10) vocal

* traditional

Liner Notes


Al Petteway ~ acoustic guitar, Irish bouzouki, bass, percussion, vocals
Amy White ~ mandolin, acoustic guitars, piano, violin, congas, percussion, vocals
Paddy League ~ bodhran, percussion

Produced & Recorded by Al Petteway & Amy White
Recorded at Fairewood Studios, Takoma Park, MD
Mixed by Jim Robeson,
BIAS Recording Company, Inc., Springfield, VA
Mastered by Bill Wolf, Wolf Productions, Ind., Falls Church, VA

When we met at a St. Patrick's Day concert, it was truly love at first sight. We knew instantly that we belonged together and our lives soon become so intertwined, it was only a matter of time before we began composing music as a team.

We have accompanied each other for several years now, both on stage and in the studio. And we co-produced, co-wrote material for, and guested on our last four solo projects. This album represents our first entirely collaborative recording.

The Instrumentation on Racing Hearts is broad and reflects the variety we present in our live performances. And although instrumental music is our first love, we have included a few vocal tracks this time. (As promised, for our fans who have requested this repeatedly.) We are so grateful, every day, for having discovered this love and this music together. We are thrilled to share this recording with you. Thank you for your support and thank you for listening.
-Al & Amy

Our heartfelt thanks to:
Maryland State Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts, National Public Radio, House of Musical Traditions, Maggie's Music, BIAS Recording Company, Washington Area Music Association, Oasis Duplication, L.R. Baggs, C.F. Martin & Co., The Swannanoa Gathering & The Very Finest Family, Friends and Fans.

1. Mariposa 3:39 (Petteway/White)
Al - guitar / Amy - mandolin, shaker, tambourine, vocals / Paddy - bodhran First written and performed for "Celtino" a concert held at the National Geographic Society to benefit the victims of Hurricane Mitch.

2. Riding the River 3:50 (White/Petteway)
Al - Irish bouzouki, brushes / Amy - nylon string guitar / Paddy - bodhran Inspired by our first ride through white water.

3. Morrison's Jig 4:54 (Trad. Arr. White/Petteway)
Amy - piano / Al - guitar We couldn't resist.

4. Polly Vaughn 5:39 (Trad. Arr. Petteway/White)
Al - guitar / Amy - mandolin, vocals We came across this tune in a book of traditional songs of the British Isles. We love the emotional import of this story - particularly with respect to recent events - and purposefully omitted verses to leave interpretation open for the listener.

5. Desert Dance 4:10 (Petteway/White)
Al - guitar / Amy - mandolin, hand-whistle, shaker / Paddy - bodhran, percussion Inspired by our first trip to the red rocks of Sedona. We can still hear those coyotes howling in the early dawn.

6. Playground 4:51 (White/Petteway)
Amy - rhythm guitar, congas, percussion / Al - lead guitar, percussion "Can Al come out to play?

7. Wallflower Waltz 3:35 (White/Petteway)
Amy - 1st guitar / Al - 2nd guitar The whispered counting and the first solo guitar are the sounds of a lonely wallflower who is resigned to watch alone while others dance together. But when the harmony guitar enters, she is no longer alone. "May I have this dance?"

8. Hidden Wings 5:44 (Petteway/White)
Al - guitar / Amy - piano / the Faire Folk - chimes Hidden wings unfurl at the suggestion of loving hands. This tune celebrates the transcendent power of love.

9. The Gaudy Bauble / The Giddy Gauntlet 3:28 (White/Petteway)
Al - guitar, bass / Amy - mandolin, fiddle / Paddy - bodhran We enjoy this silly traditional tune titles and decided to follow suit with a couple of our own.

10. She Moved Through the Faire 4:10 (Trad. Arr. Petteway/White)
Al - guitar / Amy - vocal A love story... A ghost story...

11. Racing Hearts 5:52 (White/Petteway)
Amy - mandolin / Al - guitar, bass / Paddy - bodhran When you meet the love of your life...

12. Lullaby 3:13 (White/Petteway)
Amy - guitar, vocals / Al - Irish bouzouki, vocals Sweet dreams...

Racing Hearts
  1. Riding the River Al Petteway & Amy White 1:42
  2. Polly Vaughn Al Petteway & Amy White 1:40
  3. Playground Al Petteway & Amy White 2:18
  4. Hidden Wings Al Petteway & Amy White 1:53
  5. Racing Hearts Al Petteway & Amy White 1:45