And now back to our regularly scheduled program

Once again, things kept us away from recording for the last month.

One of those things was the Chenango gig this past weekend, which involved two hours in the car together. We listened to the mixes that I’ve roughed out so far, and decided that we have at least four, possibly five pieces that are CD-worthy, if I can just get the mix right. For example, the level of reverb (for the fiddle) that sounded good on my computer speakers was overwhelming in the car.

Tonight, we worked on three medleys: redoing Banish Misfortune / Swallowtail Jig, and first attempts on Dubuque / Spootiskerry and O’Keefe’s Slide / Derrane’s / Trip to Durrow.

Dubuque is a fun tune with a syncopated B part; we start with a half-phrase call and response between dulcimer and fiddle for the two A parts, playing together on the B parts, and then the guitar joins in for the second time through. I play chords the last time through, experimenting with a kind of back-up approach inspired in part by Ken Kolodner and Karen Ashbrook, although they might shudder to hear that.

After a run of dulcimer walk-downs in the B parts, dulcimer and guitar play the first time through Spootiskerry. The fiddle plays some floaty sustained notes in the B part, then takes over for the second time through. I get to do some fun arpeggios in the B part where the chords change pretty quickly.

The other set is two jigs followed by a reel. For a change, we have the guitar start this one, playing melody, then the fiddle joins in on the second A part, and dulcimer on the Bs. Dulcimer starts Derrane’s, with just a few well-placed guitar strums. Trip to Durrow’s change to the reel meter, with its fun chord progressons, brings a boost of energy to close the set.

Sometime this week I’ll need to listen to these takes as well as the most recent takes of Out on the Ocean / Morrison’s / Kesh, which hadn’t fit on the jump drive last time. Hopefully, even though we all felt sloppy tonight, some of these takes will be usable. Even if they’re not, there’s really no such thing as a worthless night of practice.

Oh, we might have also decided on an album title, but I’m not telling yet.