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This month's Free
Photo by Vince Farsetta
In 2006, the dulcimer world lost one its greatest talents and advocates, David L. Schnaufer, to a battle with cancer. He left behind legions of friends, admirers, and inspired dulcimer players who mourn his loss, and celebrate his life. His music especially is in all of us who ever had the privilege of meeting him, hearing him, and learning from him, and his influence continues to spread as we continue to share what he taught us with others. For more about David's life, check out the "Remembering David" page which you can get to from the Nashville Dulcimer Quartet's website.
September was David's birth month, so once again, I am taking this opportunity to post one of his original songs. This month's offering is an arrangement of a song he co-wrote with his long-time songwriting partner Herb McCullough called "Twilight Eyes" in 1987. (David and Herb also collaborated on both "Starry Lullaby" and"Wait A Minute" which you can find in the "Tab Archives" section on this website.)
David actually recorded this tune twice. The first recording of it was on his 2nd cassette release entitled "Dulcimer Deluxe" (which has since been combined with his first first cassette release titled "Dulcimer Player" and released in CD format as "Dulcimer Player Deluxe"). That first recording was as an instrumental only, and also featured Mark O'Conner on fiddle.
David and Herb also came up with a set of lyrics for this tune. They tell the story of an Irish immigrant who migrated to this country, only to eventually grow homesick and decide to return, and is told from the point of view of the one left behind. Years later, David met pop star Cyndi Lauper when she became one of his dulcimer students through the music program at the Blair School of music in Nashville. That turned into a long-time friendship and collaboration, as David appeared on a number of Cyndi's albums. She returned the favor by recording the vocal track to "Twilight Eyes" when David recorded the song again on his "Delcimore" CD. Here's how David described his collaboration with Cyndi:
David writes . .
"Cyndi Lauper is my student, friend, teacher and inspiration. A New York based artist of worldwide renown, her distinctive voice and songs have shaped our musical landscape since 1983. It was a treat to find out years ago she was also a delcimore player who composed many of these songs on that instrument. We finally met in 1996 when I was working on my Tennessee Music Box project and was trying to find some country artist who would like to use the old box on a session. Cyndi heard me play ten seconds on the instrument and had an idea for her song "Fearless" from Sisters of Avalon. We recorded it together the next day. Other projects followed, and her own dulcimer playing has come to the forefront of her live appearances around the world. Probably more people have been introduced to the dulcimer through her than anyone in history. I was thrilled when she wanted to do a song on this disc. I wrote "Twilight Eyes" with my good friend, Herb McCullough, in 1987 and always hoped to hear her sing it. Thank you, Cyndi, for the most magical musical moments of my life."
Enjoy the tune, and as David would say, keep on pickin'!
Music and lyrics by David Schnaufer and Herb McCullough
Copyright © 1987 3 Minute Movie Music (BMI)
All Rights Reserved Used by permission