Music for Autumn's Connections

by Kerry Dexter / Oct 18, 2021 /
Kerry Dexter's picture

Reflection, transition, change: autumn weather, as well as the celebrations, traditions, and memories which go along with the season, invite each of these. That is also the case for the music you will be exploring in this episode of Music for Shifting Times.

Music for Autumn's Connections

In the song Travel These Ways, Karine Polwart and Dave Milligan consider connections of hope, persistence, and friendship lasting through change. You will hear Karine singing and Dave on piano. Listen out especially for the interplay of voice and piano on this song, and on all the songs of the duo's album Still As Your Sleeping, where you will find it recorded.

Travel These Ways was commissioned by Luminate, Scotland's organization for all sorts of things to do with aging, for their Dementia Singing Network. It is available in that organization's online resources, as well.

Karine Polwart and Dave Milligan both live in Scotland, where you may find them at work on solo projects as well as collaborating with a number of artists, Dave often with his wife harpist and singer Corrina Hewat and Karine lately as part of The Lost Words: Spell Songs projects.

"At the heart of it all is a calling to this land...at the the heart of  it all is a story to be told..." are part of what Karen Matheson sings in the song At the Heart of It All. Matheson is lead singer with the band Capercaillie, whose members join her on the song. It was written by Donald Shaw. With Matheson, he is co-founder of Capercaillie; you will hear him on the track, too.

Listen to At the Heart of It All for the music, certainly. Listen also with the idea of climate emergency and what might be done about it. Gentle and beautiful as the song is, it offers much to consider with that in mind. With the UN Climate Conference COP26 coming up in Glasgow in early November, it seems a good time to revisit and reflect on the song. Capercaillie is based in Scotland. At the Heart of It All is the title track of the album on which it appears.

Speaking of reflection: autumn light tends to invite that sort of thought, as well as the lively connections which go along with celebrations and gatherings inherent in the season.

Living in the Catskill Mountains of New York State in the US, Jay Ungar and Molly Mason know a good bit about the change of seasons. They both compose; they both (although not on this track) sing. Jay most often plays fiddle, Molly guitar and piano. They both play other instruments on occasion as well. You will hear familiar melodies woven into what they create with the tune Thanksgiving Waltz.

At this writing, Thanksgiving celebrations in Canada are just past, US Thanksgiving Day is on the horizon; it's always a good time to reflect on giving thanks and the connections which might result. Jay Ungar and Molly Mason have recorded the tune several times, first on their album Harvest Home, and most recently on their recording called The Quiet Room.

Speaking of The Quiet Room, that's what Jay and Molly call their weekly Wednesday night sessions at their Facebook page. Whenever you are reading this, you will want to check in to see if these are still ongoing; in any case, there's a good archive of past performances at that same page.

"It is about the passage of time, how one season moves into the next, and how we are always standing in a shining moment of now," says Carrie Newcomer of the song The Handing Over Time. Newcomer wrote the song with her frequent touring partner, keyboard player Gary Walters. Walters plays keys on the song. Paul Kowert adds electric and upright bass, Allie Summers joins on violin, Jordan Tice plays mandolin and guitar, and Newcomer plays guitar and sings lead and harmony vocals. Together they create music which finds depth in simplicity, not unlike the words of the song. You will find The Handing Over Time recorded on Carrie Newcomer album Until Now. Newcomer is based in Indiana.

However your seasons may be changing at the moment, may the creativity of these artists offer you good companionship for the journey.

 

 

 

Thank you for staying with us through this journey. Below, you'll find a link that will take you to an article which has a bit more backstory on the series. It also has links to a number of the stories, including ones called Listening for Community, Music for Winter's Changes, and The Geography of Hope.

Music for Shifting Times

Music for Shifting Times

 

Kerry Dexter is Music Editor at Wandering Educators. You may reach Kerry at music at wanderingeducators dot com.

You may find more of Kerry's work in National Geographic Traveler, Strings, Perceptive Travel, Journey to Scotland, Irish Fireside, and other places, as well as at her own site, Music Road.