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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Dulcimers for David, Too! D4D2

by Steve Eulberg

(Here is my review of this generous project that was published in the Spring 2015 issue of Dulcimer Players News--everyone interested in either kind of dulcimers should subscribe and receive this beautiful and informative quarterly in your snail mail box!)

“Just listen to the dulcet tones of the dulcimer!” I can still hear David's Schnaufer's voice in my memory as I write that phrase.

Asleep at my hosts' home of on a recent tour, the dulcet tones of the tunes on this new CD were very sweet as they gently called me to awaken and savor them. I was so glad to hear this CD, because my copy had not yet arrived in my mailbox before I left on tour. Now that I've returned home and keep listening I continue to be delighted.

This project includes some previously unreleased tracks played by David himself, or ones from out-of-print recordings (Norwegian Wood, Elk River Blues/Sandy River Belle) as well as some played by David with students and friends (Jim Curley, John Hartford, Vince Farsetta, Bonnie Carol and Lee Rowe). I'm particularly taken by his frailing style on a banjomer on Cumberland Gap which opens the CD, and his note­r & quill playing of Sally Anne on a Tennessee Music Box.

Another tune was composed by David and played by others: Twilight Eyes by Tull Glazener & Molly McCormack, and yet another was composed by David with Rachel Dennison (sister of Dolly Parton) performed here with Debbie Porter.

Still others have been submitted by a stellar line-up: The Wright Family (with an uncredited performance by Don Pedi), Maddie MacNeil & Rhodes Wooly, Thomasina, Aubrey Atwater & Elwood Donnelly, Sue Carpenter, Doug Berch, Vince Farsetta and Karen Mueller.

A special delight is the inclusion of Blackberry Blossom by the Nashville Dulcimer Quartet (Sandy Conatser, Lee Rowe, Linda Sack and Natasha Deane, all students and friends of David.) This tune has special significance because it is the central theme in the concerto he wrote with Conni Elisor and recorded on his 1998 CD Delcimore.

(In the interest of transparency, my duo, Fiddle Whamdiddle, also have a track on this CD. We chose Barlow Knife, a tune I first recall hearing David play on Stage II at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas. I then taught that tune to my fiddling partner, Vi Wickman, and we recorded it as part of our Old School Old-Time project that honors the people that shared this music with us. My curiosity is eager to know the reasons why others chose the tunes they donated to this project.)

While the music on this recording is top notch and that reason alone is enough to recommend it for your musical collection, there is another, even more compelling reason to purchase this CD.

The 1st National Mountain Dulcimer Champion, David was very dedicated to sharing music with others and as Associate Dulcimer Professor at the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University he did just that. Several of his young students went on to become champions and professional players and teachers of this instrument.

To continue the sharing of the music of this “user-friendly” instrument, Debbie Porter produced a recording in 2007 called Dulcimers for David, the goal of which is to raise funds to purchase dulcimers to be given to children. As of this writing, 33 dulcimers have been placed into the hands of children, teens and young adults who express an interest in playing.

Dulcimers for David, Too (D4D2) continues the sharing of his generous legacy. The sale of just 13 CDs at $15 a piece covers the cost of each instrument. In fact, some clubs have purchased CDs to raise the necessary funds to acquire instruments for young players!

If you'd like to apply or know of someone who would like to receive a dulcimer, have them write to Debbie at to make that request.

CDs are available from Debbie Porter at and from selected other locations as well.

(Note:  After the original publication of this review, I heard from Doug Thompson that David only recorded with his banjo-mer, made by Doug.  This printing corrects my earlier mistaken reference.)

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Another Project Released with Steve as Session Musician!

Being a musician has another way of offering awesome experiences:

One can be contracted to work as a Guest Artist, or Session Musician on another musician's project.

My supervisor at Peninsula Music Together, Pam Donkin, referred me to Andy Zamenes, who needed some traditional instrumentation for his upcoming project.

Andy (aka Andy Z) and I settled on hammered dulcimer as what he needed for a couple of tracks on his new project, Classic Songs & Tunes.

After consultation and working with the tracks we sent, I met him at the studio last November in Livermore where he was recording and mixing the tracks.  

Here are a couple of views from my corner in the middle of the sound baffles:

A short while later the tracks were completed, and today Andy gave me my copy of the CD so I finally got to hear the completed project.

It is a sincere joy to collaborate with fine musicians and help them bring their vision to fruition!