Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Autumn music

Leaves are changing color. The winds that sets them drifting through the air holds an edge , a hint of deeper days of autumn and winter yet to come. The look of clouds at sunrise and angles of light as evening shadows fall are changing. It is autumn in the northern hemisphere. A time for harvest, for gathering, for celebration, for connection, for reflection.

Music to go along with these ideas

As the Crow Flies is a gathering of songs and tunes, many with a Celtic tinge, several from the song bag of American folk music, and a number of fine original pieces which draw on these sounds. It is a music made by a gathering of musicians too -- a core of fourteen fiddlers who play instruments made by Bob Childs, and gifted few who bring other instruments to add to the sound. You’ll have met several of these musicians here along the music road before.

note: click on the cover images or the text links to the title to hear samples of the music

Lissa Schneckenburger is indeed a gifted fiddle player, but it is her gifts as a singer which are to the fore onAs the Crow Flies, especially on the country blues tinged folk song Dear Companion. You’ve met Keith Murphy here before too -- his guitar and piano give tasteful backing to the fiddlers and his tunes give them music to work with. Listen out for the crossing Celtic borders set Childsplay Strathspey/Black Diamond/Putney Mountain Polka and for Child Suite, a set of four tunes Murphy composed thinking about the children of Childsplay members. Hanneke Cassel composed and/ or arranged several of the pieces here too-- the full fiddle sound of the group she brings in on her composition The Last Alleluia is one of those. You’ll have met Cassel here along the music road more than once, as you will Shannon Heaton, who gives Childsplay several tunes as well as adding her flutes and whistle in to the mix. You’ve also met Katie McNally, who joins in on fiddle, as well as Ariel Friedman on cello, and Nic Gareiss , who contributes the sounds of his step dancing feet. The there’s Liz Carroll, who produced the album, and wrote a tune -- the title tune -- for the ensemble.

There are other musicians as well, ones you could be be meeting for the first time, among them the maker Bob Childs himself, Mark Roberts on banjo and bouzouki, and long time Childsplay members Sheila Falls and Bonnie Bewick on fiddle. The dozen tunes and songs and song sets move from fast paced to contemplative, full on orchestral sound to graceful spare arrangement. From the sounds of Ireland to the heart of Scotland to the hills of Appalachia to the roads of New England, from voice and guitar to banjo and flute and bodhran and at the heart of it, fiddle, the music flashes and shimmers and changes much like the light of early fall. As the Crow Flies makes a fine companion for listening in this early autumn time.

photograph of autumn leaves is by Kerry Dexter, and is copyrighted. thank you for respecting this

You may also wish to see more about the music of several of the people mentioned above
Music of Maine: Lissa Schneckenburger
Another Fine Winter's Night: Matt & Shannon Heaton
Hanneke Cassel: For Reasons Unseen
Scotland's music: Katie McNally: Flourish
music of Vermont: Nightingale with Keith Murphy
Liz Carroll & John Doyle: Double Play

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


Anonymous Alexandra said...

Thanks for sharing these suggestions. I had never realized there would be music appropriate for autumn.

8:27 AM  
Anonymous Roxanne said...

OOh, I like the few pieces I sampled. Thanks for the idea.

12:27 PM  
Anonymous merr said...

Your reviews are always so comprehensive.

12:54 PM  
Blogger Vera Marie said...

I'm late reading this. It has been sitting in my e-mail in box, but this morning it finally feels like fall in Arizona, and so I opened it up. Caught my eye because there is a children's theater troupe called Childsplay in Arizona. I wasn't sure whether you were saying this Childsplay (play on Bob Childs name, I guess)is a permanent group, or just a group that got together for this album. At any rate sounds lovely.

2:21 PM  
Blogger Kerry Dexter said...

it's a group that gets together for several months a year to do limited tours (mainly in New England) and sometimes to record. the membership in the group has changed over time -- I think there are maybe two of the original members still in it. this is the sixth album they've recorded and to my mind the best one.

6:15 PM  
Anonymous Living Large said...

I have my house all decorated for fall, now all I need is some music to go with it! Thanks for these suggestions.

10:23 AM  
Anonymous Sheryl said...

I never really associated music with the seasons (except, of course, with Vivaldi's The Four Seasons)...but why not? Music for the change from summer to fall absolutely makes sense.

5:07 PM  
Blogger Jane Louise Boursaw said...

This sounds lovely. I'm a fiddle player, so am always looking for new inspiration.

8:01 PM  

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