Music Road Trip in North Dakota & South Dakota
Celeste Krenz hails from North Dakota. Though her musical career has taken her to Colorado, Nashville, and points beyond, to a partnership in a record company and to a duo project called The Rhythm Angels, it was to North Dakota that her thoughts returned while working on the music for what would become her album My Mother and Me. Her mother, who has made a career in business, had written lyrics years ago and brought them along on a visit to her daughter. At Celeste’s kitchen table, they worked out a batch of songs that contains elements of country, blues, folk, and swing. A tinge of that western sky and wide open prairie thread through he songs, too.
Becky Schlegel grew up on a a farm, but she also spent much of her young years traveling across South Dakota playing in her family band. The love of music stayed with her, as she followed her musical path into bluegrass and a move to Minnesota. She’s won just about every bluegrass and country award the northern plains are have to offer, and is beginning to make her mark on the national scene, both as a songwriter and and singer. Her latest album is called Dandelion. If you enjoy the way Alison Krauss and Lee Ann Womack approach their music, you will want to give Schlegel a listen. Dandelion is a fine place to start, and it’s a good soundtrack for South Dakota, too, as Schlegel opens with Anna, a song inspired by her grandmother, and includes songs such as Colorado Line and I Never Loved You Cowboy.
Tom Peterson puts eloquent words and melody to the landscape and lives lived in the northern plains, as well. He doesn’t sing on Dakota Lullaby: Christine Albert and Chris Gage do that, and a fine job they make of it. Gage grew up in South Dakota and got to know Peterson’s songs, and carried a few of them with him as his music took him on many paths. He’s a fine songwriter himself, as is his wife and duo partner, Christine. When someone gave them an old tape of Peterson’s songs, “I felt as though I’d found gold in the Black Hills,” Christine says. They recorded a whole album Peterson’s songs. The songs range from the funny to the somber to the passionate, all grounded in the heart of the northern plains and yet universal in meaning.
you may also wish to see:
Music Road: now playing: Christine Albert: Paris, Texafrance
Music Road: Ian Tyson: Yellowhead to Yellowstone
more music from the road trip
This is part of The Great American Road Trip, in which I’m partnering up with A Traveler’s Library to add musical ideas to the book and film suggestions for journeys through the regions of the United States which you’ll find there. Stop by and see what the Library has in mind to inspire travels through North Dakota, and check back to learn the Library's favorites for South Dakota, too.
For more about the road trip (and a look at some great road songs) see Great American Road Trip: Music begins
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