Sunday, October 28, 2007

Harvest Stomp

Harvest Stomp (mp3) (pdf)

On Saturday, Sept. 29 Erik, Jim, Bill and I (as Bear Creek Bluegrass) played at our local food coop's harvest festival and barn dance. The dance was held in the Beard Barn, a beautiful old structure with a great dance floor. Next morning this tune popped up.

Two nights ago (that'd be Friday Oct. 26) Erik and I rejoined our Contratopia partners, Pat and Patrice, for our first dance in nearly six months. Held in the Armory at Northfield, MN it was aptly titled the Harvest Stomp!

Being a new tune for everyone but me we didn't play it for an official dance, but we did give it a good run down during what passed for a sound check. Recorded this morning on the now trusty Zoom H4.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

St. Francis and the Birds

St. Francis and the Birds (mp3) (pdf)

October 4 is the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, one of my favorite people. This year I had the honor of being invited to play some music at a morning chapel service on the Luther College campus that included a "blessing of the animals" ceremony.

I was given the opportunity to play this tune of mine as part of the service with the excellent assistance of two of my mates in the Western Home String Band, pastor Mike Blair on guitar and Ehler Orngard on pennywhistle. The weather was perfect, the music was clear and the pets (several dogs and one fish) were very attentive.

The chapel talk that day was given by Robert Belá Wilhelm, a gifted storyteller with a real feeling for St. Francis. The actual story of Francis and the birds is nicely told here in this excerpt from Jorgensen's biography of the saint, freely available for download courtesy of Google Book Search.

My little tune was written down over 20 years ago and is rarely played, partly because of its AABCC format. The print version that I present here is taken from the Contratopia Tunebook, a collection of over 50 tunes written by myself and Erik Sessions, which is available from me for $11 postpaid. I recorded it last night using an old Gibson mandolin that was built around 1917, not long after Jorgensen's biography of Francis was written.
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