Ashes on the Stream
When I was a college student in the early 80's, I went to a contradance with a girl named Jenny. The dance band included someone playing an oddly shaped wooden box with many strings. When the player struck the strings with little mallets it sounded like sunlight shimmering on a mountain lake, raindrops pattering on autumn leaves, and cold stream water tumbling over stones, all at the same time. It was the most beautiful sound I'd ever heard. Instead of falling in love with Jenny, I fell in love with the hammered dulcimer. During my more than twenty years of hammering I have developed a unique playing style, with a particularly strong emphasis on harmony, which I apply to a wide variety of music. Celtic tunes are a favorite, from wistful airs to lively reels to rambunctious jigs; but Beatles' songs, Chinese and Japanese tunes, a Cajun footstomper, and even an occasional classical piece are likely to show up in my performances. My development as a musician has been strongly influenced by dulcimer masters John McCutcheon, Malcolm Dalglish, and Dan Duggan; non-dulcimer musical influences include the Beatles (particularly George Harrison), Cat Stevens, Garth Hudson of The Band, and the Chieftains. I perform at coffeehouses, church services, benefit concerts, festivals, and other venues throughout Maine. For several years I was a contradance musician with the Kennebec Highland Band. I have taught beginning dulcimer at the Bay Path Dulcimer Festival (Princeton, Mass.), and have been featured on recordings by Maine musicians Jim Whitman and Floyd White. In June 2007 I appeared on the WCSH TV (Portland, Maine) features program "207". In 1996 I released my first cassette, Ring Out Wild Strings (out of print). My first CD Hobbitland (2002) contains several original compositions, tunes by the Beatles and Bob Dylan, and traditional music from Ireland, Quebec, and India. Ashes on the Stream (2007) includes more original material as well as Chinese, Japanese, Scottish and Irish tunes. I wrote the title piece in memory of George Harrison, after learning that his ashes were scattered on his beloved Ganges.