NEW RECORDING: When Small Birds Sweetly Sing

 Listen to a sampler [display_podcast]

When Small Birds Sweetly Sing is the second album from the duo of Susie Burke and David Surette, though over their twenty-year collaboration they have each contributed to each other’s solo efforts. The album has been in progress for some time, and it has a pleasing unforced quality about it.

It opens with a majestic anthem of friendship, “I Will be Here”. In advance of the first lyrics we hear Susie’s powerful hum riding over the chords, and we know she means business. Read more

NEW RECORDING: Spyglass | Rodney Miller & Elvie Miller

There’s a commonly deployed fairy tale where a person is put under a spell that causes them to fall in love with the next person (or creature) that they meet. The concept is entertaining, but it also suggests a truth in the human psyche; that there are things that can occur within us that ripen our receptivity to romance. It is with some caution then, that we urge you to listen to Spyglass, an album made up entirely of waltzes.

SpyglassRodney Miller is in his fourth decade as a recording artist, and has for some time enjoyed residence in the pantheon of contra dance fiddlers. His previous albums are fairly distinct from each other while maintaining a common thread of being comprised of solid dance tunes; well-chosen blends of jigs and reels, and the occasional waltz. It requires both creativity and confidence to produce a recording that does not deviate from ¾ time.

 

Elvie Miller, his daughter, may have a genetic blessing on her musical abilities, but it still takes considerable effort to make music sound so effortless. One cannot say that she “accompanies” her father on piano and accordion; her playing provides an equal partnership (indeed she is even heard in a 2:1 ratio in several places, multi-tracking both instruments). Her playing exudes a steady strength while frequently venturing into the ethereal. Read more

NEW RECORDING: Lathrop’s Waltz, by Sarah Bauhan

Lathrop’s Waltz is the title of a new release from flute and whistle-player Sarah Bauhan. Through each of her 4 albums (starting in 1991) Sarah’s efforts have evolved in breadth and sophistication, though it must be said that she set the bar quite high from the beginning. Lathrop's Waltz

One could be unfamiliar with Sarah’s music, or even this genre (New England/Scottish/Celtic) and yet still reap great pleasure from listening. The melodies range from haunting to delightful, and they are well served by the caliber and diversity of the musicians. I believe Sarah took a risk (albeit well-calculated) in having such variety. Some of the pieces are rendered in a more modern, fluid style (the piano and bass stylings of Kent Allyn tastefully reveal his jazz influences), while other pieces are more solidly New England, accompanied by the inevitable Bob McQuillen, who has also served as a mentor throughout Sarah’s career. Read more