Wednesday, February 17, 2010

music of Vermont: Nightingale

A land of green hills and white mountains, rural home places and welcoming cities, lakes, rivers and winding roads, Vermont is a crossroads of music. There are communities of musicians who draw on backgrounds in Irish music, the music of Scotland, French Canadian music, the sounds of Cape Breton, bluegrass music, old time styles, the music of the Maritimes, and contra dance tunes. One band which brings all these aspects in to play, and creates new music honoring these threads of connection as well, is Nightingale.

Nightingale is Becky Tracy on fiddle, Keith Murphy on guitar, mandolin, and singing, and Jeremiah McLane on accordion and piano. Each was already an accomplished player when they met in the early nineties and formed a group playing primarily Celtic based traditional music for regional contra dances. Over the years, they’ve continued to do that, and have gradually focused more on original material, as well as writing and playing music that fits the club and festival stage as well. They like the balance of the two. “It’s great to be able to play music at a concert, where you can really go anywhere you want with it, and are not restricted by timing, as you are when you play for dancing,” says Murphy. “But there’s nothing like the energy of being literally in the middle of two hundred people stamping and swinging and dancing!”

The trio have four albums out -- they have just released the fourth one, called Jolie. Each of the projects, while differing one from the other, offers a lively mix that shows the band’s interest in and mastery of the confluence of musics that make up Vermont.

More about their work, their CDs, and solo projects by the musicians, may be found at the
band’s web site

side note while we're in Vermont: Music Road offers good wishes and congratulations to Hannah Kearney from Norwich for her accomplishments at the winter Olympics in Vancouver

photos above courtesy of Nightingale

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 the road trip idea (and a look at some great road songs) see Great American Road Trip: Music begins.

you may also wish to see

Hanneke Cassel

Leahy: Live in Gatineau

The Greencards

Update: Nightingale is disbanded. You may like to see what I have to say about Keith Murphy's latest solo recording Land of Fish and Seals.

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


Anonymous Vera Marie Badertscher said...

Your music for Vermont sounds absolutely perfect. Wonder what David Mamet has playing on his CD??

3:33 PM  
Blogger kerry dexter said...

no idea -- but his wife, actress Rebecca Pidgeon, was a singer before she decided to concentrate on her acting career, and at one point (she's Scottish) recorded an album of Celtic songs.
I've not heard it though.

4:51 PM  
Blogger Alexandra Grabbe said...

I'm always amazed by your wealth of knowledge on music, Kerry!

5:52 PM  

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