Folknotes: November

terry landisBarefoot Through The Music is a new recording from Terry Landis, who has been gracing the Monadnock Region with her singing for many years. Terry’s voice is at once urgent and soothing, providing a sort of audio massage.  I’ve been listening to her perform live for many years, almost always in various configurations with other musicians, and indeed one of her gifts is her ability to engage with both vocal and instrumental collaborators, bringing out their best, and setting a strong foundation for the song she is singing. This is really fun to watch in a live performance, but it’s also well-conveyed in this recording. This album features vocal support from Carol Raynsford and Nadine Laughlin, keyboard, bass and  production from Danny Solomon, and Terry’s sons Ezra Landis on guitar and Owen Landis on percussion.

The innovative flavor of the arrangements starts right with the opening number, an upbeat rhythmical version of “How Can I Keep From Singing”, which lifts it from the usual hymn-like rendering into a percussion driven celebration.  A cover of The Incredible String Band’s “Painting Box” is a nod to the whimsical profundity of hippie era songwriting.

Barefoot Through The Music is available at the Toadstool Bookstores in Keene and Peterborough, or you can send an email to Terry directly. You can listen to a short sampler here.


Driving over to Hancock recently I was suddenly confronted with the spectre of a substantial moose in the middle of moosethe road. Fortunately there was sufficient distance for me to stop before impact. The creature seemed oblivious to my presence, and graced me with a minute or so of awed observation before stepping into the woods and disappearing, as if through a magic curtain. I have seen moose only a few times before, but  each time they depart in the same mysterious manner, one moment there, and the next, invisible. It occurred to me that the moose might figure in New England (or western) folklore- so many times animals are representative of certain values or forces in particular cultures.  Cursory research doesn’t reveal much in Native American lore, but there are several post-European settlement references to “white” or “ghost” moose.  The logical conclusion is that these are Albino moose, but  typically Albinos are disadvantaged, would have a low survival rate, and would be unlikely to grow large.  The more likely explanation is that the animal has been infested with moose ticks, and in the course of rubbing their fur to relief the irritation, they break it the hairs off near the white base of the shaft.  So coming across a white moose could be considered a “moosetickcal “ experience.  We would love to learn more about moose lore, and hope that knowledgeable readers might add some comments to this article (See options at the end).

Cosy Sheridan will perform with her partner TR Ritchie.Moving from moose to muse, we are delighted to be hosting a concert with singer/songwriter Cosy Sheridan on Friday, November 13th, in the Nelson Town Hall.  Cosy’s performances are intelligent and sincere, touching on a variety of profound and personal topics, but she also entertains, providing  an appropriate measure of levity and warmth. Her voice is powerful and reassuring. Please visit her web site for more details and some musical samplings. Tickets are available online by clicking here.

No doubt the hall will still be warmed up the very next evening when fiddler Rodney Miller is joined by yours truly on the piano, and caller Don Primrose, for one of those amazing Nelson contra dances. Hope to see you there.

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