Friday, September 02, 2016

Maple Syrup Cow / Summer Kitchen Waffle Time


Maple Syrup Cow / Summer Kitchen Waffle Time (mp3) (Maple pdf) (Waffle pdf)

Two recently composed dance tunes with a breakfast theme, played a little below dance tempo, with a few more mistakes than usual.

August was a great month for music. I was lucky enough to play for contra dances every Saturday night: twice at Tapestry, once at the Seed Savers barn and once for hundreds of brand new First Year students at Luther College. In addition I was honored to play at a country wedding and enjoyed another of my monthly solo mandolin gigs at Java John's.

The first tune was finished early in the summer and the second was written the morning after Nordic Fest ended. A number of my musician friends already have this tune with the title "July 31, 2016." It's current title came to me after a tasty meal during a recent visit to Door County, WI. (See photo above)

Speaking of Java John's, here's my setlist from Wed., August 24 (the night after the 8 inch rainfall in Decorah, which delivered our second 500 year flood in less than 10 years):

Java John’s solo mandolin, August 24, 2016

Set 1
1. Swarbrick Sends a Tune to Iowa (Goodin) / O’Neill’s Favorite (trad.) / Flowers of Edinburgh (James Oswald, 1710-1769)
2. Oswald: Airs for the Seasons / The Ambrosia
3. Blake: Bright Days (Norman Blake, 1938- )
4. Playford Tunes: George’s Maggot / Chestnut (from the Dancing Master, 1651-1728)
5. O’Carolan : Hewlett / Carolan’s Concerto (Turlough O’Carolan, 1670-1738)
6. St. Louis Railyard
7. Telemann: Menuets 1728 – no. 17 & 15 (G.P. Telemann, 1681-1767)
8. Oswald: Airs for the Seasons / The Capsicum
9. O’Carolan: Lament / Morgan Megan
10. Unbelievable

                                                           Set 2
1. August Deer Tracks: August 18, 2002; August 2002; August 31, 2009
2. Oswald: Airs for the Seasons / The Arbutus
3. The North Georgia Hills
4. English Guittar music: Andante (F.T. Schumann) / Allegro (R. Straube) / Minuet (R. Bremner) / Allegretto (E. Light)
5. Playford Tunes: The Happy Marriage / The Last New Vagaries
6. August 2, 2013 / August 7, 2016
7. Oswald: Airs for the Seasons / The Candy-Tuft
8. O’Carolan: Carolan’s Draught / Planxty George Brabazon, no. 2
9. Telemann: Menuets 1728 – no. 3 & 4
10. Maple Syrup Cow / Summer Kitchen Waffle Time

As you can see I gave the Italian composers a rest and focused mostly on music from the British Isles; Oswald, O'Carolan and tunes from the Playford collections. My next scheduled Java John's date is Wednesday, Sept. 21. Drop in if you feel like it. I haven't thought too much about the musical menu beyond wanting to play some more of the Oswald "Airs for the Seasons."

Before September 21 I have a couple of dances to play with Foot-Notes, including a special fundraiser for repair of the Highlandville Schoolhouse. If you can't make it to this event please consider a donation to this most worthy cause. I also am looking forward to joining Pat's Propellers at the Squirrel Moon Contra and Square Dance Weekend, Sept. 16-18. Who knows, today's tunes might make an appearance there.


  


Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Swarbrick Sends a Tune to Iowa


Swarbrick Sends a Tune to Iowa (mp3) (pdf)

Dave Swarbrick left this world on June 3, 2016 (a few hours before Muhammed Ali) and I wrote this tune in response later that same day. I've been listening to his music since around 1970, starting with Fairport Convention, then going back to those incredible records with Martin Carthy and on into his later work. I can't claim to have heard everything he ever recorded but I never heard anything from him that wasn't inspiring.

I was lucky to have seen him play in person twice in Bloomington, Indiana (I think, but maybe it was in Louisville), sometime in the late 70s-early 80s. Once with Martin Carthy and once with Simon Nicol. Both shows were brilliant. Recently I have been especially inspired by the collection of tunes he composed for Duncan Wood, recorded under the title Swarbtricks (2013).

I struggled with what to use for a title for this tune because I feel like his actual friends should have the right to use most of the titles I came up with: "Swarb" (I'm looking forward to that being a great tune) or "Swarbrick" or "Letter to Swarb" or "Swarb's Second Obit", etc. So, I came up with this title with an Iowa reference. It's a little ironic because the tune was actually written in Carrboro, NC, but Iowa was its intended home.

Anyway I hope you enjoy the tune. Take a little time if you can and listen to some of the real thing. There are plenty of recordings and videos to hear and watch. One of my favorites is the early recording Rags, Reels, and Airs, which also happens to feature lots of great mandolin playing.

The photo above is from a recent auction catalog where it was accompanied by this description:

An early 20th Century Gibson A1 Mandolin, previously owned by, toured, and recorded with Dave Swarbrick (Fairport Convention), purchased from him by the current owners late father, complete with strap, later fitted pick up (Headway - Needs pre amp) embossed strap and hard case featuring "Fairport" lettering and cloth cover. Email from "Swarb" to him in 2012, stating "If I play Mandolin with martin, fairport, anybody in fact its this one.....never recorded with any other instrument"

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Box Elder Stomp, live from Java John's, 7-13-16

Box Elder Stomp (mp3) (pdf)

One more recording from my July solo mandolin night at Java John's. This one is a solo version of a tune that Contratopia recorded on our Smitten CD long ago in combination with another swing-style tune called Lucy's Stroll.

The Box Elder Stomp is a fairly straightforward blues in G. Playing it solo allows me to wander a bit, for good or ill, and I enjoyed playing the tune quite a bit that night. Special thanks goes out to the Mystery Whistler at the finish. (I think I know who you are but I don't want to reveal your identity to the world just yet.)

The sheet music presented here includes the lead sheet for both tunes. Check out the Contratopia recording for further guidance.

Thanks once again to all the folks who have been turning out for these solo mandolin gigs. I love doing them. The next one will be on Wednesday August 24, stop by if you are in Decorah that night.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Woodhaven, solo version live from Java John's


Woodhaven (mp3, solo version) (pdf)

Another live recording from Java John's last week. I played this tune as the final number of the evening. I originally posted a recording of the two part version of this piece back in July 2008 but it works fine as a solo piece also. 

The photo above was taken in August 2009 near Blanchard, Maine, not too many miles away from where this music was first written down. The recording was done with my now vintage Zoom H4 recorder using the built-in mics, direct to mp3 at 320kbps and lightly edited using an even more vintage version Sound Forge Studio.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Java John's, July 13, 2016 Solo Mandolin


A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square (mp3) (live from JJ's)

I had yet another great time playing solo at Java John's in Decorah last Wednesday. I'll post the setlist below. I managed to play everything on the list except that I only played the slow movement of the Majo sonata.

I recorded the gig, audience conversations and all, for the first time. It's always enlightening to hear a live recording of yourself.

I've taken the unusual step of including a recording of a tune I didn't write this time. (If only I could write a tune one-tenth as good as this one!) It's far, far from perfect but I like the feeling of it and I think some readers may enjoy it also. I'm using a lead sheet but you can tell that I'm also improvising a bit.

(Hopefully you can get past the noise of the folks in the back of the room. They meant no harm, it's not a concert venue. There were several other folks listening quite intently though.)

Java John’s solo mandolin, July 13, 2016

Set 1
1. Swarbrick Sends a Tune to Iowa (Goodin) / O’Neill’s Favorite (trad.) / Flowers of Edinburgh (James Oswald, 1710-1769)
2. Oswald: Divertimento XI for solo mandolin
3. Scarlatti: Sonata K.90, 3. Siciliana - 4. Allegro (Domenico Scarlatti, 1685-1757)
4. French Creek Waltz
5. Sauli: Partita for Mandolin II, 1. Prelude - 2. Allemande - 3. Sarabanda (Filippo Sauli, c. 1710)
6. St. Louis Railyard
7. Telemann: Sonata no. 4 (1715), Allegro (G.P. Telemann, 1681-1767)
8. July 23, 2004 / July 1, 2004
9. Sauli: Partita for Mandolin II, 4. Corrente - 5. Gigue
10. A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square (Eric Maschwitz & Manning Sherwin)
Set 2
1. July Deer Tracks: July 1, 2002; July 2, 2003; July 8, 2013
2. Oswald: Divertimento XII
3. Lanterns On the River
4. Sauli: Partita for Mandolin II, 6. Gavotte – 7. Menuete
5. Playford Tunes (from the Dancing Master, 1651-1728)
6. Jigs: July 2, 2013 / July 11, 2005
7. Majo: Sonata per Mandolino e basso (Gian Francesco de Majo, 1732-1770)
8. Box Elder Stomp
9. Telemann: Menuets 1730 – no. 11 & 17 (p.66-67)
10. The Rights of Man (trad.) / Gilderoy (trad.) / Grace Hay’s Delight
11. Woodhaven

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Java John's Wednesday, June 15, 2016 & Johnny's Gone Fishing, Carrboro, NC, Sunday, June 5


I had a great time last night at Java John's playing solo for a special bunch of folks. Here's the setlist:

Java John’s solo mandolin, June 15, 2016
Set 1
1. Swarbrick (Goodin) / O’Neill’s Favorite (trad.) / The Rights of Man (trad.) / Gilderoy (trad.) / Flowers of Edinburgh (James Oswald, 1710-1769)
2. Oswald: Divertimento III
3. Scarlatti: Sonata K.81, 1. Grave / 2. Allegro (Domenico Scarlatti, 1685-1757)
4. June 6, 2015
5. Foot-Notes set: Orevalsen / Thore’s Schottische / Skurdalsdansen
6. Goodin: Divertimento 2016, no. 5
7. Telemann: Bouree & Passpied (1715) (G.P. Telemann, 1681-1767)
8. June 2014 waltz no. 3
9. J.S. Bach: Allemande, Partita II for solo violin (BWV 1004) (J.S. Bach, 1685-1750)
10. A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square (Eric Maschwitz & Manning Sherwin)
11. Unbelievable

                                                           Set 2
1. June Deer Tracks: June 13-15, June 9, June 24, June 8, 2013; June 25, 2003
2. June 2014 waltz no. 2
3. Oswald: Divertimento IX
4. Six Solos, Summer 2006 (not performed, not enough time)
5. Red Hawk Schottische / June 16, 2011
6. Scarlatti: Sonata K.89, 1. Allegro
7. June 2014 waltz no. 1
8. No Questions Asked
9. Telemann: Menuets 1728 – no. 4 & 14
10. Riding on the City of New Orleans, June 24, 2011 (jig/jig/reel)

I also had a great time playing a Sunday brunch gig at Johnny's in Carrboro back on June 5. It's a wonderful place to play and I hope to get back there sometime. Here's the setlist from that gig:

Johnny’s Gone Fishing solo mandolin, June 5, 2016
Set 1
1. Swarbrick (Goodin) / O’Neill’s Favorite (trad.) / The Rights of Man (trad.) / Gilderoy (trad.) / Flowers of Edinburgh (James Oswald, 1710-1769)
2. Oswald: Divertimento VI
3. Contratopia Waltz Set: Smitten (Goodin) /South of France (Goodin) /Ms. P’s Waltz (Erik Sessions)
5. Goodin: Divertimento 2016, no. 3
6. Foot-Notes set: Orevalsen / Thore’s Schottische / Skurdalsdansen
7. Telemann: Adagio from Sonata No. 1 (1728) / Menuet No. 46 (1728) (G.P. Telemann, 1681-1767) (p.42-43)
8. June 6, 2015
9. Deer Track: June 8, 2013 (p.19)
10. Polka Dots and Moonbeams (Johnny Burke & Jimmy Van Heusen)
11. Unbelievable
                                                           Set 2
1. Soldier’s Joy / Red-Haired Boy / Squirrel Hunters  (all trad.)
2. Majo: Sonata per Mandolino e basso (Gian Francesco de Majo, 1732-1770)
3. Contratopia Jig Set: Sweet Music (Sessions) / Why Ted Flies / Books and Ladders
4. Oswald: Divertimento VIII
5. Red Hawk Schottische / June 16, 2011
6. Sonata in L(ou)
7. Carolan’s Draught / Planxty George Brabazon #2 (Turlough O’Carolan, 1670-1738)
8. No Questions Asked
9. Telemann: Menuets 1730 – no. 24 & 29 (p. 68-69)
10. Deer Track: June 9, 2013 (p. 24)
11. Palmer’s House

I'll be back at Java John's on Wednesday, July 13. Drop in.

  



  

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Deer Track, June 13-15, 2013


Deer Track, June 13-15, 2013 (mp3) (pdf)

As I prepared for my solo mandolin gig at Java John's tonight I dug out this previously unrecorded Deer Track piece from the summer of 2013. I was writing one almost every day, thanks to my Kickstarter friends, and this one didn't make the cut for the final recording. Since today is June 15 it seems like a good choice.

I will try and work this piece into a set of June Deer Tracks that I will play tonight at JJ's.
 
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