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Goldcrest | The Goldcrest Collection

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The Goldcrest Collection

by Goldcrest

This band’s first album brilliantly captures their creative yet traditional sound and their versatility ranging from driving to delicate. It includes eighteen mostly newly-composed tunes to accompany English and contra dances of Joseph Pimentel.
Genre: Folk: Contra Dance
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Mile of Smiles
4:35 $0.99
2. The Treasure of the Big Woods (Lamp On the River)
4:33 $0.99
3. Ramsay Chase (Winter Oranges)
4:20 $0.99
4. Bluebonnets
4:00 $0.99
5. Mr. Millstone’s Inauguration
5:03 $0.99
6. Changeling Intuition (Castlewall / Floating Ground)
5:43 $0.99
7. Come With Voices Singing
5:05 $0.99
8. The Farmer’s Joy
4:05 $0.99
9. Mr. Hamilton’s Inauguration
4:28 $0.99
10. Westaire Court
4:04 $0.99
11. Beautyberry (Baptist Johnson)
5:15 $0.99
12. Peace and Joy
6:52 $0.99
13. Blackbird Pie (Yellow Song)
4:26 $0.99
14. Hotpoint Special (Zone Nine)
4:30 $0.99
15. Mr. Legge’s Initiation (Lovely Lane)
4:12 $0.99
16. Dance of a Lifetime (Yonder, Year By Year)
6:34 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Named for an English songbird with close relatives in the Americas, Goldcrest was hatched in the spring of 2002, when pianist Dave Wiesler got two of his favorite musicians together to form a trio for English country and contra dance. The chemistry was right, and the group has been scheming ever since for more opportunities to play together, despite their geographic separation. Goldcrest features New Orleans fiddler Daron Douglas, Silver Spring MD multi-instrumentalist Paul Oorts, and Newark DE pianist/guitarist Dave Wiesler, all seasoned musicians of national reputation, steeped in the folk dance traditions of Appalachia, New England, and the British Isles.

The music on their much-anticipated first album accompanies twelve English country dances and four American contra dances of good friend and choreographer Joseph Pimentel, who lives in Washington DC. It is perfect for dancing, great for making road trips or household chores zoom by, and worthy of careful listening. Most are newly-composed tunes by Dave and Daron, as well as Debbie Jackson and Adam Broome, along with one traditional tune by Turlough O’Carolan. They range from stately and elegant to driving and energetic, from regal and marchy to soft and delicate. Daron plays fiddle and Dave plays piano on all tracks. Dave also plays guitar on tracks 3 and 8. Paul plays mandolin on tracks 3, 4, 7, 10, 13, 15, cittern on 1, 6, 8, 11, guitar on 5, 7, 9, 14, and musette accordion on 2, 7, 12, 16.

The dance and tune notes below include track number, dance style (E=English, A=American), track duration, and the meter, key, name, and composer of the tune(s). All repeat seven times and are longways duple minor formation, except that 4, 6, 9, and 12 repeat nine times and 16 is a circle mixer.

1. Mile of Smiles (E), 4:35, 2/2, C, Mile of Smiles, (c) 2011 Dave Wiesler, BMI
This dance is dedicated by Joseph to Dave and takes its name from Dave's tune. 'Mile of Smiles' is what Dave's maternal grandmother, Mabel Pershing, called the farm near Washington, IN, where Dave's mother grew up. Dave says his mother, Helen Wiesler, is one of the most perennially good-natured people he's ever known, and this tune is dedicated to her. He thinks it captures her gentle persistence and optimism, as well as the rolling landscape of southern Indiana.

2. The Treasure of the Big Woods (E), 4:33, 2/2, Dm, Lamp on the River, (c) 1998 Dave Wiesler, BMI
This dance celebrates the rediscovery of the ivory-billed woodpecker in the Cache River Valley of Arkansas in 2005, long after it was presumed to be extinct. While continued confirmation that the species may yet live has proven elusive, the real "treasure" may be the hope it represents even more than the woodpecker itself. The tune, "Lamp on the River," is dedicated to fiddler Laura Lengnick, who was one of Dave's first musical collaborators when he began playing for dancing in 1993. Laura, Dave, and bassist Ralph Gordon soon afterwards formed a band called Laura and the Lava Lamps that played contra dances for many years around the DC area, until Laura moved from her home on the banks of the Rappahannock River in Virginia to go teach at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina. This tune, recorded by the Lamps on their album Primordial Groove, is more lyrical than typical contra dance tunes and caught Joseph's attention. The tune appears in Dave's book Dave Tunes (1999), but it's in Em there, because Dave had this erroneous idea that it would lie better on the fiddle, even though he had originally composed it in Laura's favorite key of Dm. We moved it back to Dm where it belongs for both Primordial Groove and for this recording.

3. Ramsay Chase (A), 4:20, 6/8, G, Winter Oranges, (c) 1995 Daron Douglas, ASCAP
"Ramsay Chase" is dedicated to Joseph's partner, Fred Todt, and published earlier in The Cardinal Collection and in Great Contras and Squares from the Great Lakes State. We include it in The Goldcrest Collection paired up with Daron's tune because they fit so well together, as happily discovered at the dance weekend when Goldcrest first played together. Caller Lisa Greenleaf recognized the magic and urged them to stay with the tune all the way through the dance. Joseph enjoyed it from the dance floor. Daron says, "'Winter Oranges' is a tune named for brightness in the darkest time of year. Now I'm lucky to live in a place where neighbors leave satsumas and grapefruit on my porch, and I have a lemon tree in my backyard. Winter sunshine."

4. Bluebonnets (E), 4:00, 9/8, Dm, Bluebonnets, (c) 2006 Debbie Jackson
Joseph wrote "Bluebonnets" shortly after moving to Houston in 2005. Originally named "Trip to Texas, " his first experience with Texas bluebonnets blanketing the country side prompted the name change, which also fit perfectly with this bluesy slip jig by Michigan pianist Debbie Jackson. The dance is simple, but Debbie's incredible tune brings great fun out of dancers' bodies.

5. Mr. Millstone's Inauguration (E), 5:03, 4/4, Bb, Mr. Millstone's Inauguration, (c) 2012 Dave Wiesler, BMI
The tune and dance are dedicated to David Millstone and were presented to him on the occasion of his inauguration as president of the Country Dance and Song Society. David has been an inspiration to us all, and we thank him for his many contributions to folk dancing and for his steadfast friendship.

6. Changeling Intuition (A), 5:43, 2/2, Bm, Castlewall, (c) 2002 Dave Wiesler, BMI; 2/2, A, Floating Ground, (c) 2009 Dave Wiesler, BMI
This contra dance was inspired by and dedicated to the central Ohio band, Changeling, consisting of Joseph's friends Deborah and Karl Clark-Colon. The recording features tunes with quite different feels for the dance. Dave wrote the marchy (Scots measure) tune "Castlewall" in his head while building a garden bed at his home in Charlottesville, VA. The tune takes its name from the concrete blocks he was hoisting into place and leveling. "Floating Ground" is a play on words and was inspired when the grounding pin broke off his 100' extension cord. Like a lot of Dave's favorite tunes, this one has a repeating melodic motif 'floating' over a more slowly changing chord structure.

7. Come with Voices Singing (E), 5:05, 3/2, E or D, Come with Voices Singing, (c) 2009 Dave Wiesler, BMI
This dance is dedicated to Cincinnati English dancer and caller Debbie Hall. The tune "Come with Voices Singing" takes its name from annual caroling parties in the Philadelphia area. For years they were hosted by Emlen and Ruth Cresson. Thirty or forty singers, mostly from the folk dance communities, would fill the Cressons' living room and read through page after page of carols in four-part harmonies. Sessions ranged from Jingle Bells to Bach and would finish off, with singers full of joy and a little hoarse, with the Hallelujah Chorus and Silent Night. Dave wrote this tune at the piano shorty after one such party. Someone told him it was hard in E, so he started passing around a transposed version in D; it is recorded here in both keys.

8. The Farmer's Joy (E), 4:05, 6/8, A, The Farmer's Joy, (c) 2004 Adam Broome
Adam Broome is an exceptional singer, guitarist, and tunesmith in the bands Crowfoot and Maivish. He says that his tune was inspired by a particular sweep of fields and hedgerows in North Norfolk, England. "It is a place I like to walk, especially in the early spring sunshine when celandines and primroses are in bloom. I imagine the farmers of days gone by loving this place, as I do now, and how looking on the gentle beauty of such a pastoral landscape must have bought them much joy.... Or some such romantic drivel. " The tune appears also on the Crowfoot CD As the Crow Flies. The dance is dedicated to Crowfoot and to one of Joseph's close friends, Bobbie Friedman.

9. Mr. Hamilton's Inauguration (E), 4:28, 9/8, G, Mr. Hamilton's Inauguration, (c) 2001 Debbie Jackson
This dance was written for one of Joseph's mentors, Bruce Hamilton, to celebrate his inauguration as president of the Country Dance and Song Society in May, 2006. Michigan pianist Debbie Jackson says that this beautiful tune was "born out of a short chord progression that kept running through my head: G, C, Em, D. Since the tune was written, I have had the privilege of working with Bruce on many occasions, at camps, and in other musical collaborations."

10. Westaire Court (E), 4:04, 2/4, C, Westaire Court, (c) 2004 Debbie Jackson
Debbie Jackson wrote this tune in honor of Ray Bantle and Marge Cramton and their cozy home on Westaire Court in Ann Arbor, Michigan, site for many wonderful gatherings of friends. It is also recorded with Debbie's English country dance band, Childgrove. The tune inspired the dance, which Joseph also dedicated to Ray and Marge.

11. Beautyberry (E), 5:15, 6/8, C, Baptist Johnson, Turlough O'Carolan
This dance is dedicated to Daron, inveterate gardener and lover of wild things. Beautyberry is a plant native to the American south and was in both Joseph's Houston garden and Daron's New Orleans garden. The tune is by O'Carolan, the blind Irish harper of the Baroque period and (ironically) the most prolific composer of English country dance tunes.

12. Peace and Joy (E), 6:52, 3/4, Dm, Peace (Observation), (c) 2005 Dave Wiesler, BMI; 2/2, D, Joy (Analysis), (c) 2005 Dave Wiesler, BMI
In 2005 Joseph approached Dave with a special request. He had been working on ideas for a dance medley along the lines of what is done in Scottish dance, where a dance is done once as a Strathspey and repeated as a reel. His idea was to medley a triple-time tune (waltz or minuet) to a duple-time tune. One section of his dance had a circular hey, however, and this part seemed rushed in duple time with only two steps per change, so Joseph asked Dave if he could write a tune with a "hemiola-like" section for that part. Out of this puzzle emerged the second tune, which has four bars of 3/2 to start the B1 part. The tune titles come from a 2010 Pinewoods workshop Joseph led on English Dance calling for American dance callers, in which he stressed separating observations from judgments when teaching a dance. It became a running line for the participants through the week: Is that an observation or is that analysis? It seemed to Dave, with his science background, that observing peacefully, without distraction or prejudice, might lead to insight and joy when the data were analyzed.

13. Blackbird Pie (A), 4:26, 6/8, G, Yellow Song, (c) 1992 Daron Douglas, ASCAP
This dance is reprinted from The Cardinal Collection because Joseph likes the English dance feel when combined with Daron's Yellow Song. Daron says this tune was written "for a yellow dog named Koren who came to my Tennessee family. It took about 20 minutes for us to call her Corn Dog and seven years of her peaceful willingness to give us a long lesson in letting go."

14. Hotpoint Special (A), 4:30, 2/2, G, Zone Nine, (c) 2002 Dave Wiesler, BMI
Joseph dedicated this dance to his friends in the Hotpoint Stringband from Athens, OH. It takes its name from the eponymous tune by Larry Unger, which works well with the dance. Goldcrest pairs it here with a more laid-back tune that Dave dedicated to Daron. After Daron moved down to New Orleans, Dave asked her what she thought of her new home. "It's gardening zone 9," she exclaimed. "They've got palm trees down here!"

15. Mr. Legge's Initiation (E), 4:12, 2/2, C, Lovely Lane, (c) 1997 Dave Wiesler, BMI
Joseph dedicates this dance to John Legge, who started contra dancing at Baltimore's Lovely Lane Church, the mother church of the United Methodist denomination. Dave wrote "Lovely Lane" there on another occasion, warming up to play for the Monday night English dance series. He remembers quickly jotting it down and field-testing it before the dance with fiddler Jeff Steinberg. It appears in his tune book Dave Tunes (1999).

16. Dance of a Lifetime (E), 6:34, 3/4, C, Yonder, Year by Year, (c) 2010 Dave Wiesler, BMI
This dance is dedicated to Dr. John Ramsay, Fred Todt's uncle, and 2010 recipient of the CDSS Lifetime Contribution Award. Yonder is the name of a children's book written by Tony Johnston and illustrated by Lloyd Bloom. Fiddler Andrea Hoag gave it to Dave when his two boys were young, and Dave read it over and over to them, trying hard not to cry. It's a cycle-of-life story -- simple, beautiful, and wistful, like this tune, which seems fitting for a dance honoring John Ramsay's lifetime of achievement. "There is the plum tree growing year by year ... in blossom with a thousand, thousand bees. Yonder. Way over yonder."



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