New EP Release Coming in September!

My last album, The Singing Messenger, was released November 15th, 2016. Since then I’ve been busy with a Winter-themed album (which is still in process), and this brand-new EP entitled Starlight Variations. This new EP will be available in all the major streaming platforms and at Bandcamp on September 15, 2018. Until then, you can hear some of the tracks right here: Starlight Variations EP


Building Some Dulcimers Again

Due to some extreme family pressures, it has been next to impossible to get any of my handmade dulcimers built. Now that seems so be changing some, in that I have a few instruments on hand, and I’m hoping I can continue in this rhythm for at least the next two or three months. Let me know if there is something you are interested in or if you’d like some pricing info — email is…
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Two Variations on Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

This time we’ll have a go at some variations on Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. I’ve been improvising over this one for decades, and it’s always fun. When you’re doing variations on a well-known folk melody like this, the process is a little “tighter” than improvisation: you are working with some of the main pitches that the original melody has, but you are connecting them with passing tones, sometimes moving them around a bit in the…
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On the way to Cranberry!

Mary and I are about to sample the splendor of at least two of the Finger Lakes near Penn Yan in upstate New York. Tomorrow we will arrive in Latham, NY for the 39th Cranberry Dulcimer and Autoharp Gathering. I will be teaching three workshops and also doing a featured concert set on Saturday night. If you are in the area, please check it out: it is a great festival with a long and wonderful…
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The Dulcimer Capo and How It Works

  Dulcimer capos are interesting devices, because they work very closely with the modal nature of the mountain dulcimer’s mostly diatonic fretboard. I had an GREAT question from one of my email newsletter subscribers recently: “I am intrigued by the notion of using a capo on my dulcimer as you mention in your recent post. As far as I can make out, this enables you to achieveĀ  the melody scale for Dorian mode without retuning?…
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A Country Waltz Project

Here are a few 32-bar arrangements of a little country waltz I wrote in the last week. The first one is in D out of DAD tuning, and the second one is in G, while still in DAD (with no capo). These are both bare-bones arrangements, though the one in D has more fills added on the TAB, but not in the music itself. The one in G is really bare-bones, allowing you to use…
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Other Instruments with Diatonic Fretboards

I’m curious about what other dulcimer players and builders think about the whole range of dulcimer-like diatonic instruments that you basically strap on and play underneath like a guitar. There are some interesting new instruments that have gotten on my radar recently: http://seagullguitars.com/seagull_merlin.html http://www.folkcraft.com/druid-moon-dulcileles.html …and of course the well-known McNally Strumsticks, which have been around for a LONG time: http://www.strumstick.com/ …and then the Olympia Dulcimer Company with their “walkabout” dulcimers (I have a bit of…
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Interview with BT Fasmer

This was a real joy for me – being able to tell my story easily and freely, with just the right questions. The interviewer here is BT Fasmer, who has a GREAT New Age Music portal he runs in Bergen, Norway: Interview with Jerry Rockwell Enjoy! Jerry