STEAM!

Music

Heartland

We are thrilled to share our new album of waltzes, all inspired by or written by folks from the heart of North America, and especially, the prairies of Kansas.  Pick one up at a dance, buy it from CD baby, or email us and we’ll send you one in the mail.

Take a Listen

Full Track Listing

  1. Wheat  (Martha Edwards)
    Not only did we enjoy the wonderful hospitality of Martha and Bob when we played in St. Louis, but we got this lovely tune that Martha wrote for her son’s wedding.
  2. Kansas City Moon (Greg Allen)
    Greg Allen, from Lawrence Kansas, knows ALL the chords, and he managed to get lots of them into this jazzy tune. Embrace the “tyranny of the dotted crotchet”.
  3. Heaven Right Here (Cathy Barton)
    The gathering of musicians and dear friends at the Walnut Valley Festival (aka “Winfield”) is the musical highlight of our year. Our band grew out of the decades-long musical connections forged during jams lasting ‘til early morning hours. Cathy’s song captures not only the welcoming and eclectic nature of our camp, but also our sense of returning home to a magical place where everyday cares disappear.
  4. Heart of the Heartland (Peter Ostroushko)
    We couldn’t really leave this great tune off an album called “Heartland”, could we? We dedicate this to Charlie Hall, who submitted it for the Winfield ”homework“ 10 years ago. Hey Charlie … we finally learned it!
  5. Prairie Waltz (traditional)
    Dave learned this from a book of Canadian waltzes played by Don Messer. He chose this one because it had the most notes. It seemed appropriate to include, given that Alice grew up on the Canadian prairies.
  6. The Blue River Waltz (Jay Ungar)
    Little known fact: Jay Ungar lived for a time in Manhattan Kansas, a town owing its existence to the Big Blue River. When settlers, funded by the Manhattan Company, were making their way up the Kansas River in 1855, they ran aground on the sandbar created by the Blue, abruptly ending their journey. We picture a lazy summer afternoon float down this meandering, cottonwood-lined stream.
  7. Tallgrass (Alice Boyle & Robert Rosenberg)
    Alice’s day job is biology, and she has spent countless spring mornings studying birds of tallgrass prairies. This tune was inspired by seeing dawn break and hearing the Eastern Meadowlarks Dickcissels, and Grasshopper Sparrows add their voices to the morning chorus.
  8. The Stig / Flying Home to Shelley (jig/reel)
    True story: the Stig is a race car driver in a UK television series – how he inspired such a lovely jig, we may never know. The Stig was written by John McCartin and features Pat Japenga on flute. Flying Home to Shelley, is surely Paul Gitlitz’s most popular tune, and rightly so. It is a joy to play and a favorite of callers, dancers.
  9. Home on the Range (traditional)
    The familiar state tune of Kansas. The lyrics are a sad homage to the natural and cultural changes that have transformed the plains region. We tried to evoke the raw, earthy reality of the white settlers who displaced tribes such as the Kansa and who were the last generation to experience the great migrations of bison.
  10. A Place in the Heart (Bill Crahan)
    We learned this tune the same month that composer Bill Crahan died. Bill was a beloved member of the music community in Lawrence Kansas. We play this for all of those who have a place in our hearts.

Lyrics

Our dear friend and banjo phenom, Cathy Barton, wrote this lovely song. The words were inspired by her experiences at the Carp Camp jams where we spend our Septembers… at the Walnut Valley Festival (aka “Winfield”).

Heaven Right Here

Some people think after we die we will go
To a dancing place high up above
But I see glimpses of heaven right here,
In laughter and music and love.

On a late autumn night, and jig and a reel,
hold a place in my heart that none else can fill,
Where tunes dance in my head, where they whisper goodnight,
And they rouse me to welcome daylight.

Some envision a mighty host high up above,
And angels with shimmering wings,
But I see a tent and a circle of friends,
Hear the favorite tune each one brings.

And the smile on each face, like a welcome embrace,
Come and join our circle and play.
And all cares disappear in the crisp Autumn air,
And we play till the dawning of day.

It’s the hammer on the string, It’s the mandolin ring,
It’s the magic feet tapping high above everything
Love’s in each waltz, love’s in each air,
And you know that that is heaven right here.

It’s the bow on the string and the songs that we sing,
It’s the tunes that we play that can make the grove rings
Love’s in each note, love’s all through the air
And that is heaven right here
Don’t you know that is heaven right here

Home on the Range

It was a scary thing to try to re-interpret this old song of the wild west: it has become hackneyed through over-use. But of the many, many versions and verses “out there”, several resonate with us. The verses we chose tell of a the beauty of the prairie, and the parts that have been lost forever… one where great herds of bison migrated freely, where the grass stretched to the horizon, and where European settlers felt small and vulnerable, yet sensed the inexorable changes afoot.

Oh, give me a land where the bright diamond sand
Flows leisurely down the stream
Where the graceful, white swan goes gliding along
Like a maid in a heavenly dream

Where the air is so pure and the zephyrs so free,
Breezes so balmy and light,
I would not exchange my home on the range
For all of the cities so bright

Home, home on the range
Where the deer and the antelope play
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day

The Kansa was pressed from this part of the west
Their likely no more to return,
To the banks of the Blue River where seldom if ever
Their flickering campfires burn.

How often at night when the heavens are bright
From the lights from the glittering stars
Have i stood there amazed and thought as I gazed
Their glory exceeds that of ours.

Home, home on the range
Where the deer and the antelope play
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day

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Jackalope

Want your very own copy of this cool CD? Buy it now from CD baby!

Congratulations on a well worthwhile and well executed project! The most impressive thing, to my uninitiated ear, is the very high quality of the instrumental ensemble: whatever instruments you are each playing there is always good balance, excellent tone, and all the signs that you are listening to each other — like a good madrigal group or string quartet.

Dr. A. M. C. Waterman

Read the whole review!

Or alternatively, buy one from us directly. Send $15 + $2 shipping (within USA) to 403 N. 16th St. Manhattan, KS.

Take a Listen

Full Track Listing

  1. New Potato / Ross’ Reel #4 / MacArthur Road  (reels)
    This collection of tunes has some surprising changes, as fun for us as for dancers. New Potato was written by Paul Gitlitz, MacArthur Road by Dave Richardson. Ross’ #4 is rumored to have been written by William Ross, Pipe Major to Queen Victoria.
  2. The Goat on the Green / The Clare Jig (jigs)
    Irish jigs played with a dreamy contra dance groove. Both are traditional tunes.
  3. Peter Eat Your Heart Out (Song)
    Bruce Thomson’s tune was inspired by the sweet sounding cactus-stained fiddle made and played by “Fiddle Bill” in Albuquerque, NM. Claire penned the lyrics to tell the “true” story.  When next in Albuquerque, look for Fiddle Bill in front of the Frontier Restaurant.
  4. The Falls of Richmond (slow reel)
    In this version, we go low with mandola and viola. We could not pass up the actual falls, while passing through Richmond, VA.  It turns out the “falls” were more like a trickle, and that day, we learned of the benefits of having an ice turban as a post-hike heat remedy.
  5. The Grind / Fritz’ Frolic (reels)
    A breezy pair of swing tunes from Paul Gitlitz. Robert and Alice became friends with Paul while living in Vancouver, BC. Paul suggested that we might like these tunes and he was absolutely correct. We especially like that the Grind was named for a coffee shop in Vancouver.
  6. The Island of Woods (air)
    This beautiful lament for Ireland’s lost forests was written by Liz Carroll.
  7. The Rolling Wave / The Collier’s Jig / The Maple Leaf / Providence (jigs/reels)
    Dublin’s Darach de Brun wrote the Maple Leaf. We paired it with a couple of our favorite Irish traditional tunes and close them out with the Providence reel.
  8. The Stig / Flying Home to Shelley (jig/reel)
    True story: the Stig is a race car driver in a UK television series – how he inspired such a lovely jig, we may never know. The Stig was written by John McCartin and features Pat Japenga on flute. Flying Home to Shelley, is surely Paul Gitlitz’s most popular tune, and rightly so. It is a joy to play and a favorite of callers, dancers.
  9. The Little Hambo (hambo)
    Scandahoovian elegance.
  10. Home with the Girls in the Morning / Glory in the Meetin’ House (reels)
    These traditional old-time tunes are dark, driving, and fun to play. Our bud, Rosco Tuttle, pulled out his bass and Claire set to cloggin’ on this set.
  11. The Pleasant Beggar / Salvation (reels)
    Robert introduced us to Pleasant Beggar, written by Russ Barenberg. A happy panhandler? Or a favorite canine friend? Salvation (MCPS/PRS) is a Simon Bradley composition,. We learned this tune from the playing of Rodney Miller.
  12. Robert and Alice’s Waltz (waltz/song)
    This waltz was written by Hope Grietzer and Jim MacWilliams for the wedding of Robert and Alice at Winfield in 2010. Claire created the poetry that celebrates the union of half of our band.
  13. Reel de Mattawa / Reel de Montebello / Fleur de Mandragore (reels)
    French Canadian tunes for your listening and dancing pleasure with special guest Josef Poutine on feet. Richard Forest wrote the first two tunes, and Michel Bordeleau composed Fleur with its masterful chord progression. We love these tunes!

 

Lyrics

Peter Eat Your Heart Out 

Bruce Thomson’s tune was inspired by the sweet sounding cactus-stained fiddle made and played by “Fiddle Bill” in Albuquerque, NM. Claire penned the lyrics to tell the “true” story.  When next in Albuquerque, look for Fiddle Bill in front of the Frontier Restaurant.

Fiddle Bill lives on a hill in an old VW Van
He took a piece of wood and he carved as he could ‘cause he is a fiddling man
Peter he is trained you see and he makes them violins
But Bill made one and sun of a gun, if it didn’t just give me grins

Tunes ring, hearts sing. Hear that fiddle just shout!
It looks kind of gritty, but it sure sounds pretty. Peter eat your ole heart out

Fiddle Bill carved as he will puts his pocket knife to use
So he made a fiddle, and dyed it purple with the prickly pear cactus juice
Knots and divots cross the face and it sure do look a wreck
But with toothless smile, he played it for a while, and the shivers went down my neck
Last night, I had a dream, it happened right in the square
Bill and Peter were playing on their fiddles and the notes just filled the air
Bows were flyin’, faces smilin’, people all gathered round
And they all started dancing, singing and prancing, the soul of the city was found

 

Robert and Alice’s Waltz 

The swallows they fly from you to me, the sun, it shines here and there
This year has given us time to breath and now is the time to share
The fiddle, it plays so sweet and so low, guitar offers shade and rest
The morning finds tunes that ebb and flow, joyful notes softly pressed

You’re flying to me… I can feel you so near
You’re flying to me…Can you feel us swirling closer every day

Oh come to my arms and dance with me, laugh in this evening’s soft light
The guitar and the fiddle make love, and we dance away to the night