Shannon Heaton: Oil for the Chain
Oil for the Chain
If you’ve someone on your gift list who is interested in Irish music, Shannon Heaton’s book Oil for the Chain is a great choice. It works on several levels: there are well known and lesser known tunes to play, presented both on the CD which goes along with the book, and through notation. Heaton is a a flute player but, as she points out, it’s not a flute book. It’s a music book, with ideas about developing your skills, playing with others, practicing, taking a break, learning new tunes, and all sorts of other thoughts that both beginning and experienced players will find helpful. There’s information for melody players and for backers, as well. Heaton plays in a duo with her husband Matt, who is a guitarist and also plays bouzouki -- a jig of his sparked the title for this book in fact, and in addition to tunes from the tradition, there is a good selection of original tunes from both Matt and Shannon. There are tips for creating your own music, also.
Shannon Heaton writes in a lively style and with precision and clarity. That’s how she plays her music too. The CD which comes along with the book is fine to listen on its own, as well, whether you have interest in learning the music or not. That’s a good note for those who might be thinking of giving this book to a family member and being around while they practice...
Several of the more than two dozen tunes included are The Star of Munster, The Black Haired Lass, The Skylark, and Redwoods in Winter.
And about that title? “Just as bicycle chains need oil to function, Irish musicians need tunes to play,” Heaton says.
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