Artist Update: Eggs for Honey

 

McGraw-Fer-Off-Grid-Lo-Fi-FrontOn December 5, 2015, Chestnut House Concerts hosted Dave McGraw and Mandy Fer just over 2 years from their first house concert here in 2013. Mandy and Dave co-write their songs, and as time passes, their music is stronger, the lyrics richer and the harmonies sweeter.

After their show on December 5, Dave and Mandy mentioned that they would be house sitting “off the grid” for friends on a nearly uninhabited island of  Washington State’s San Juan Islands. They would be working on a new album while taking care of some aging donkeys. And, if you were at the house concert that night, you may remember some jokes about Dave being trapped on the island while Mandy learned the banjo.

Eggs for Honey is from their album off-grid low-fi and was featured as song of the day for Folk Radio UK  (FRUK). I can see why – it was posted just 20 minutes ago and I’ve already played it 4 times.  Click the link below to read more about and listen to Eggs for Honey.  http://www.folkradio.co.uk/2016/06/premiere-dave-mcgraw-mandy-fer-eggs-honey/

The album “off-grid lo-fi” will be available on June 24, 2016.

 

Kaia Kater, another female banjo player who writes her own music will be at Chestnut House Concerts on Monday, August 22, 2016.  More on Kaia Kater in upcoming posts.

Dom Fisher of Wood & Wire

Bassist Dom Fisher is one of the founding members of Wood & Wire from Austin, Texas. Dom is a native of New York and obtained a degree in Jazz Studies (double bass) from Ithaca College.  Dom describes his band as “strongly rooted in traditional bluegrass, with elements of progressive grass such as modern harmony and song forms”. Wood & Wire will be performing at Chestnut House Concerts on Friday, June 17, 2016. There’s a potluck at 6:00 pm and the music will begin at 7:00 pm.

 

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Wood & Wire at Greyfox Bluegrass Festival 2014.  Photo by Tim Lehman

If you would like to attend the Wood & Wire house concert contact Tim at tlehman9@gmail.com or send a text to 717 9409311.  Suggested donation of $15/20 at the door; all money goes to the musicians.

 

 

Dave Neigh of the Steel City Rovers – 4/5

Meet DaveNeighDave Neigh, fiddle player with the Steel City Rovers.

When Dave is not playing with the Rovers he can be found playing guitar, bass, Irish tenor banjo, mandolin, tuba and harmonica.  But not all at one time.

Dave also plays with the Ever Lovin’ Jug Band and the blues fiddle group Step On It!.  To see the Steel City Rovers on Thursday night (June 18, 2015), rsvp with Tim at tlehman9@gmail.com or call/text 7179409311.  Potluck at 6; Show at 7.

Low Lily: Preserving Tradition

Francis James Child, the son of a sail maker, was born in Boston on February 1,1825.  Child attended public school for his primary and secondary education during which time his potential and intelligence was apparent enabling him to continue his education at Harvard – graduating first in his class in 1846 and thus beginning his academic career at Harvard. Child was Harvard’s Boylston Professor of Oratory and Rhetoric until 1876 when he became the university’s first professor of English.

During his time at Harvard, Child’s deep passion was the collection and preservation of the ballad tradition.  He desired the most comprehensive collection of all known English and Scottish ballads, which by this time,  included their AmericanCover_of_Francis_James_Child's_''English_and_Scottish_Popular_Ballads'' and Canadian variants.  Child collected 305 ballads total, each one numbered and referenced as Child #7, Child #274, and so on.While Child’s collection was acknowledged by scholars, very few additions or changes were made for over half a century.  It wasn’t until the 1950’s that there was a renewed interest in ballads during the folk music revival.

John Burgess, author of Francis James Child -Brief life of a Victorian enthusiast: 1825-1896 states that since the 1950s, “new interpretations (of ballads) have appeared regularly, remarkably fresh and original given the ancient sources of the lyrics. Child passed on to subsequent generations of audiences and performers a legacy of scholarship that they have been able to enjoy on their own terms and express in their own fashion. In doing so, he preserved the continuing vitality of the ballad tradition that he loved so much” (Harvard Magazine, 2006).

A fine example of the preservation of ballads comes from the band Low Lily.  Vocalist and guitar player Liz Simmons heard a recording of “False Sir John” (aka May Colvin, the Elfknight, or Child#2) by Jean Ritchie and then changed the ballad from a major key to a minor key, modifying the melody and tempo. This ballad originated in Scotland, was modified by many including an Appalachian folk singer, and now by contemporary artist Liz Simmons.

 

Low Lily is an “American roots and branches” vocal and string trio which draws from tradition and today to create their own brand of new acoustic folk music.  They will be appearing at Chestnut House Concerts on Thursday, February 26, 2015.  Potluck at 6 pm, show at 7 pm.  RSVP with Tim at tlehman9@gmail.com or text/call 717 9409311.