Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Music of Maine: Lissa Schneckenburger


Lissa Schneckenburger grew up in Maine, where she started out as a fiddler focusing on music for contra dances, and through years she’s added singing and song writing to her work in music. Through the course of several recordings, and in her live shows as well, she explores the unique music that’s found in northern New England. That music arises from a mix of influences brought by people from Ireland, Scandinavia, France, England, Scotland, Quebec, Acadia, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Appalachian mountains, and forged by people who lived in the mountains, forests, small towns and big cities, and along the waters of the coasts of Maine and neighboring states.

Schneckenburger is known for her fiddle playing, and she a gifted singer too. Some of the music on her album Song might sound both a bit a bit familiar and a bit different. She has delved deep into research for older songs from New England, and indeed they do carry hints of those flavors from other landscapes. You might’ve met relatives of Little Musgrove in English and Scottish collections, for example, and The Old Beggar Man has cousins in the Maritimes. Schneckenburger has put her own stamp on these pieces, though, making the historical tales as vivid as though they happened just yesterday.

Supporting her on Song are a number of New England based musicians you’ve met before along the music road, among them Hanneke Cassel on fiddle, Keith Murphy on guitar and harmony, Matt Heaton on guitar, Corey DiMario on double bass, and Natalie Haas on cello.

Want to know more about New England fiddling? Schneckenburger gives good insights on it in the FAQ section of her web site.

Maine has produced several other fine storytellers in song, too.
Aroostook County native Ellis Paul’s latest album is The Day After Everything Changed. Catie Curtis, who grew up in Saco, shares her music most recently on the recording Hello Stranger, and Patty Griffin, whose songs have been recorded by artists as diverse as The Dixie Chicks, Kelly Clarkson, and Emmylou Harris, is from Old Town. Her latest release is Downtown Church.

This is part of The Great American Road Trip, in which I originally partnered 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’d find there. The Library is closed now, but I think you will still find the journeys through music interesting.. For more about this (and a look at some great road songs) see Great American Road Trip: Music begins

you may also wish to see
Another Fine Winter's Night: Matt & Shannon Heaton

music of Vermont: Nightingale

for another way to hear about and think about Maine, listen to Presence in the Wild, an interview with Kate Braestrup, chaplain to the Maine Game Warden search and resecue services, from the public radio program Speaking of Faith.

-->If you'd like to support my creative work at Music Road and elsewhere,
here is a way to do that, through PayPal. Note that you do not have to have a PayPal account to do this.Thank you.

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


Blogger Alexandra Grabbe said...

I love the way you reference the origin of musical influences and help us associate a type of music with a state. We tend to forget that different regions had dialects and home-grown music before mass media homogenized it all.

11:24 AM  
Anonymous MarthaAndMe said...

Music of Maine! How great - I never thought of this. I love Maine, but never connected it to music.

1:40 PM  
Anonymous Vera Marie Badertscher said...

Lissa sounds like an artist worth looking for. And how wonderful that you found a whole list of musicians from Maine. Love your phrase "storytellers in song."

1:55 PM  
Anonymous Donna Hull said...

I've never associated Maine with music. Now I do. Thanks, Kerry.

2:55 PM  
Anonymous The Writer's [Inner] Journey said...

What an interesting journey this is. I'd love to read a compilation post once all the states have been visited, too!

7:04 PM  
Anonymous kris said...

I love this road trip! So fabulous. Lissa sounds like someone I should add to my "listen to" list. Thanks for this.

11:46 PM  
Anonymous Lisa said...

I love the idea of pairing music with a road trip. I love really delving in the unique culture of an area--hard to find sometimes in a McDonald's and Starbucks era. I'll add Lissa's music to my list.

12:49 PM  
Anonymous MyKidsEatSquid said...

Like Donna, I've never thought about what kind of music comes from Maine. Thanks for the introduction.

10:49 PM  

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