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This month's Free
Photo courtesy of "Live in Studio C", WPLN Radio
It's been just over three years since 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.
Sadly, on January 10, 2009, the music world in general, and the mandolin world in particular, lost another immense talent, when Jerome "Butch" Baldassari lost his battle with cancer as well. I have no doubt that these two musical giants have reunited their friendship and collaboration that marked their time together here. Butch was as passionate about the mandolin as David was about the dulcimer, and they both were true ambassadors and evangelists for their respective instruments. One of the many things they had in common was the unshakeable belief that these instruments should not be "pigeon-holed" into any one single type of music, and they effortlessly straddled the widest spectrum of musical genres. Butch became well-known as a bluegrass musician through his work with performers such as Alison Kraus, Richard Greene, and the band "Lonesome Standard Time". But, just like David, he was equally adept at arranging everything from baroque to classical, to traditional, to jazz and contemporary music for his chosen instrument. He revived the sound of the mandolin orchestra by forming the Nashville Mandolin Ensemble, much as David did by creating and directing the Nashville Dulcimer Quartet. Butch composed "Blue Moon Over Kentucky" as an orchestral piece featuring the mandolin, based on bluegrass melodies by Bill Monroe, much as David did with his "Blackberry Winter" concerto. Their collaboration culminated with the 2006 release of "Appalachian Mandolin and Dulcimer", a program of 14 tunes performed on a variety of mandolin and dulcimer family instruments that showcase traditional music of the Appalachian Mountains.
David's birth month was September, so each year at this time, I choose a tune to honor his memory. This year, I decided to choose something that would honor both David and Butch, and the collaboration that grew out of their friendship. So, this month's free tab offering is a 3-part arrangement of one of the tunes from that recording entitled "Cheep Mountain", a fun and lively fiddle tune that was relatively obscure prior to their recording.
David and Butch made a number of appearances together, including one for the Woodsongs Old-time Radio Hour, a weekly program broadcast out of Lexington, KY. They archive "podcasts" all their shows, and you can listen to the episode with David and Butch byclicking on this link, then scroll down to EPISODE #377. You can choose from 3 different audio formats (depending on how fast your internet connection is), or even the complete video podcast!
Enjoy the tune, and as David and Butch would say, keep on pickin'!