Sun Side of Shade Mountain
This album was recorded with the two of us just sitting there - the way people play music in their homes when they just play for the pure joy of it. Like they did in the old days. Like they do now. Like they will in the future - when they just want to make music. The tunes are those that are woven in the memories and fabric of the people from this region - often requested and never forgotten. Shade Mountain is the longest ridge in central Pennsylvania. It runs east and west sloping off to the south. The south side is called the sun side. In choosing the tunes for this album we went with the ones that are most often requested at gatherings on the sun side. Roots run deep in these hills and the music has been in our families for a long time. This album is dedicated to the memories of our grandfathers who, one way or the other, made sure the music would be passed on. 1. The tick tock of Grandfather's Clock 2. Red Haired Boy comes down to us from the Scotch Irish who first settled this area. The very old timers, most of whom are now gone, played this tune. It seems to have skipped a generation but has come back around and is played by the new old timers and the young who are of a mind to learn it. 3. She'll be Coming 'Round the Mountain or "Sie Kummt Rum Der Barrigis" is a local favorite and is still sung in Pennsylvania Dutch language by a few people. The tune is the same, though. 4. Liza Jane and Skip to My Lou are taught in Kindergarten around here. I don't remember ever being taught Buffalo Gals but sometime along the way enough people had sung it, that it stuck. A lot of the local pickers play it. 5. Home on the Range was written in Kansas around 1870. It's a good tune and good tunes travel far and wide. We might have more mountains than ranges here, but the locals all know the tune and the words. Luke sends this one out to Bob and Karen Henderson of the Flat Rock Ranch in Hamilton, Kansas. If he wasn't here, he'd be there. 6. My mother spent all of a Sunday afternoon once whistling Redwing to me till I got it right. She said it was a good one and one that I'd better learn. It's a standard among the pickers when we get together to jam. Good thing I learned it. Luke plays bones on this. 7. Swing Low Sweet Chariot is popular at the many Gospel sings around Shade Mountain. 8. Shenandoah is one of the most beautiful tunes of all times and is often requested. It started out as a river shanty, a song sung by the men who floated down the rivers. When it made it's way to the Gulf of Mexico it was adopted by the sailors on the clipper ships and became known around the world. 9. McCloud's Reel is also known as "Hop High Ladies" and "Uncle Joe." What you call this tune kind of depends on where you're from in the Appalachian Mountains. These days because people move around a lot more than they did way back when, we introduce it by all three names - or we just play the tune. 10. John Ryan's Polka has become a recent local favorite ever since it was played in the movie "Titanic." The folks around here don't know it by name so much, but ask for "that one the Irish guys played in the movie when everyone was dancing." 11. I learned Old Jim Dawg by the name "You Gotta Quit Kicking My Dog Around" when I first took to playing the fiddle. It has a lot of the drones typical of the fiddle playing around here. I sing a verse to get going on this. Luke plays jawharp which makes for a good mix. 12. Arkansas Traveler known by most of the younger people as "I'm Bringing Home a Baby Bumble Bee" is another well known standard played at picking sessions. 13. One time Luke and I were at a gig playing away on some Celtic tunes and an old timer asked if we could play something he knew. We asked, "Like what?" He said, "Like Flop Eared Mule! Something like that!" So we played it! 14. Even though very few people around here know the words to this tune, it is often requested and they all sing along even though they only sing the words "Waltzing Matilda! Waltzing Matilda! You'll come a Waltzing Matilda with me..." 15. Gospel tunes are big in these mountains. I'll Fly Away and I Saw the Light find their way into most jam sessions and sing-alongs when people get together and at church services. 16. An all-American favorite most everyone who wasn't born just yesterday knows and can sing along to Red River Valley. It's learned early on in these hills when someone takes up playing a musical instrument. 17. Grandfather's Clock is another favorite that remains popular and is often requested. All the pickers find their own way to play the chimes. I learned from Red Edwards. Luke plays the tick tocks on a wood block, a kid's toy, we picked up at the Dollar Store.