THE SNOWY HILL

 

                  

 

© 2018 SNAPPIN' BUG RECORDS

Selections from the Samuel Bayard Collections performed by:

Richard Withers ~ Flutes, 5 string Banjo, Vocals

Kathy Fallon ~ Guitar

Mark Tamsula ~ Guitar

Bruce Molyneaux ~ Mandolin, Plectrum Banjo

Oliver Browne ~ Fiddle

Kenan Foley ~ Snare Drum

 

CDs will be available for purchase through

Elderly Instruments

 

 

~ABOUT THE RECORDING~

TRACKS

1. THE DUBLIN JIG/THE FAIR 4:10
2. MONONGAHELA COLLEGE/PANCAKE/THE STICK BEAT 3:45 
3. THE GIRL IN THE GREEN HAT 2:24 
4. THE WHITE FEATHER/PULL DOWN THE SHEETS 2:31 
5. PETE PEPPER'S FIFE TUNE/THE SNOWY HILL 3:32
6. GILPIN'S REEL/O'BOYLE'S PADDY ON THE TURNPIKE 3:45 
7. IRISH STUFF/JOHNNY McGILL 3:35 
8. THE VALLEYS ROUND JACOB'S MILL 3:04 
9. HOST OF THE FLEADH 2:04 
10. THE B. AND O. RAILROAD 3:30 
11. AH, YOU'VE RUINED IT/THE BUNGALOW 2:48
12. ALLEGHENY HOME 2:56 
13. THE WIND THAT SHOOK THE BARLEY/SILVER LAKE 3:06 
14. LINSEY-BACK 2:55 
15. MARY ROGER'S DANCE TUNE/PUT THE ENGLISH ON IT/THE OLD STONE BARN 3:39 
16. LAMENT FOR THE BEE 2:58 
17. SIMMONS' REELS 3:43 
18. SHOEHAMMER/THE ERIE EXTENSION 3:16 
19. THE YORK-NEW SALEM TOWNSHIP FAIR 2:49 
20. KELLOGG'S QUICKSTEP/THE BELLING TUNE/THE GREEN BED/HORNER'S MARCH 3:27

 

 

 

 

         

THE SNOWY HILL

Southwestern Pennsylvania Fife Tunes

and Other Music on the Wooden Flute

 

     The Snowy Hill is our fourth recording from the collections of Samuel Preston Bayard, who traveled throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania between 1928 and 1963, visiting fiddlers, fifers and singers, and writing out over a thousand of their tunes and songs. Their music was a keystone of the region's culture, originating with tunes and songs of British Isles and German forebears and re-crafted over generations to fit community life in this northern corner of Appalachia. While we've focused previously on Bayard's dance music with fiddle and banjo, The Snowy Hill features the flute representing the region's fife tradition. 

     Fife and fiddle traditions of our region were not categorically distinct, however. Repertoires of fifers and fiddlers overlapped and several of Bayard's sources played both instruments. The tunes were functional and versatile, characterized on any given occasion not by whose repertoire they came from but by the purpose they were put to - the kind of movement they accompanied and marshaled, be it dancing or marching. 

     The fife tradition is relatively obscure nowadays. Fife and drum corps once moved troops efficiently around the country during the wars Pennsylvanians took part in and their tunes were passed down by families of veterans. The fife also had a peaceful, celebratory role in community life, however, and fifers also got together to enjoy and swap tunes in casual home gatherings.

Formerly, just as Pennsylvania was thronged with fiddlers, so likewise she abounded in local fife-and-drum ensembles. … Once in great demand, the fifers and drummers played on every conceivable occasion of local interest (Bayard, 1983, p. 4).

Apparently (see The Belling Tune note), such occasions could even include a couple's wedding night. 

     Bayard notes that highly individualized fifing styles and tune settings were traditional. When asked how they kept the melody together while marching with all that variation, Greene County fifer Marion Yoders explained, "Well, Sam, when they was all a-blowin' their innards out, and the drums backin' 'em up, it wouldn't have made that much difference." (Bayard, 1983, p. 4.) 

     The Snowy Hill may seem more evocative of the British Isles than our previous recordings, particularly Northern Ireland. A few tunes are still recognized among Irish musicians and others would slip easily into Irish sessions without comment. At the same time, however, these tunes are very much at home in Southwestern Pennsylvania, and most have been established for centuries as part of the local repertoire. There is nothing to suggest that Bayard's sources thought of themselves as playing British Isles music, or considered their playing style as anything other than homegrown. Accordingly, I'm making no conscious effort here to play in a particularly Irish flute style. 

     I've slipped in a few of my own compositions, and our arrangement of My Old Kentucky Home, Goodnight, from Pittsburgh's famous native son, Stephen Foster. I hope these additions won't detract from the primary intent here to represent traditional music of our region.

Richard Withers, Forest Hills, PA, 2018

     Bayard, S. P., Ed. (1982). Dance to the Fiddler, March to the Fife: Instrumental Folk Tunes in Pennsylvania. University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press.

     Bayard, S. P. (1944). Hill Country Tunes: Instrumental Folk Music of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

1     The flutes on this recording are simple-system, 6-holed wooden flutes, very similar to the much shriller fife, but pitched lower. The marching flute in the key of F comes closest to the sound of the fife. 

2     With the possible exception of Simmon's Reels, collected from a fiddler raised on Prince Edward Island.

 

Flutes, 5 string Banjo, Vocals: Richard Withers

Guitar: Kathy Fallon, Mark Tamsula

Mandolin, Plectrum Banjo: Bruce Molyneaux

Fiddle: Oliver Browne

Snare Drum: Kenan Foley

 

Recorded at Richard's home in Forest Hills, PA., and Community of Christ Church, Bethel Park, Pa

Mixing and editing by Mark Tamsula and Richard Withers. 

Layout: Richard Withers and Mark Tamsula

Cover art: Kathy Borland

Back cover photo: Ellie Withers

CD Replication by Oasis Disc Manufacturing:  http://www.oasiscd.com

All tunes arranged and produced by Richard Withers and Mark Tamsula.

© 2018 SNAPPIN' BUG RECORDS

 

 

 

~THE MUSICIANS~

Richard Withers has performed and recorded Old-time music on the banjo and Irish music on the flute, whistle and other instruments over the past three decades. In addition to performing and recording the music of Southwestern Pennsylvania, he can be heard playing clawhammer banjo on recordings with the old-time string band Lackawanna Longnecks and Irish-style flute with Hooley, a Pittsburgh-based traditional Irish group.   www.hooley.info

Kathy Fallon is an accomplished guitar and tenor banjo player and singer who has performed and recorded Irish and other traditional music in Kansas City, Pittsburgh and elsewhere over the country and the UK.  She has performed regularly with local Irish bands Hooley, The Geese in the Bog and the Rolling Scones and with Kansas City based band New Grange. Her sensitive and creative style of accompaniment makes her a favorite among traditional folk musicians.

Mark Tamsula has been performing and teaching in the Southwestern Pennsylvania region for over 30 years. He plays and teaches fiddle, banjo, guitar and mandolin, drawing from an ever expanding repertoire of tunes and songs. In addition to performing and recording the music of Southwestern Pennsylvania, Mark also performs with the bands Lackawanna Longnecks (old time) and Grand Bon Rien (Cajun).    www.appalachianmusic.net

 

Ken Foley is a versatile drummer who teaches music as an adjunct faculty member of Carlow College. Known as a skilled percussionist in Pittsburgh’s internationally recognized jazz scene, he also plays with Pittsburgh-based Cajun band Mon Bayou Boys and is recognized for his photography of jazz musicians.

Oliver Browne grew up in the traditional music scene in Dublin and his skillful fiddling has the respect of leaders in Irish music. Since coming the U.S. and settling in the Pittsburgh area in the 1980’s, he remains a sought-after fiddler for performances, dance competitions and sessions throughout the country. He has performed for decades with Pittsburgh-based Irish traditional group Hooley (who can be heard on their 2001 recording Cuts from the Turf , available on iTunes and CD-baby), and The Rolling Scones.

Bruce Molyneaux is a mainstay of traditional Irish music in Pittsburgh and long-time member of bands Hooley and The Geese in the Bog. A local authority on the music of his grandparents’ region of Ireland, County Kerry, Bruce also has roots in bluegrass music from his college days in West Virginia. His energetic banjo and mandolin playing can be heard for Irish dances every Tuesday at The Harp and Fiddle in Pittsburgh’s Strip District.

 

 

~QUOTES~

 

"The Snowy Hill is my new standard for traditional music albums. It looks backward and forward with perfect clarity: the old tunes are performed enthusiastically, with freedom, and the new tunes are artfully crafted, worthy of inclusion in the canon. Richard's playing is gorgeous, and his arrangements are thoughtful and dynamic. I especially appreciated the moments in the album when the tunes were played long. Many players state the tune, repeat, then move on, but Richard plays with a rare faith in the music, that these tunes are more than novel, 16-bar compositions, and they deserve to be considered on a deeper level. 

 As someone who only recently fell in love with the traditional music of Southwestern Pennsylvania, I'm grateful to know it's in such good hands. Richard and Co. are doing the brave and discerning work of not only preserving a tradition, but tending it so it can grow and flourish.”

- Cameron DeWhitt, podcaster,

“Get Up in the Cool: Old Time Music with Cameron DeWhitt and Friends” - www.camerondewhitt.com

 

Well, Sam, when they was all a-blowin’ their innards out, and the drums backin’ ‘em up, it wouldn’t have made that much difference.”

– Marion Yoders, Greene County fifer

 

"Mark and Richard have once again drunk deep from the great Southwest Pennsylvania fiddle-tune collection of Sam Bayard. No reproduction or imitation here – pure oldtime Pennsylvania, freshly brought to life again by Mark and Richard."

Alan Jabbour, folklorist and musician

 

"Mark and Richard draw from the deep well of traditional fiddle and fife music in the longstanding Pennsylvania tradition.  The tunes flow forth not as artifacts but as living pieces of contemporary art.  They pulse with an immediacy that is infused with respect, moving the listener with their immortality."

Bob Buckingham of Fiddler Magazine

 

"Anyone who has been around the hill at Clifftop for the last decade has heard the beautiful and rare tunes that Mark has rescued from the hills of Pennsylvania. Now he and Richard bring us a marvelous cd that does for that region what Bruce Greene has done for Kentucky and Gary Harrison for Illinois."     

Philip F. Gura, author of
*America's Instrument: The Banjo in America*

 

"Nice tracks there! Always a treat to hear the old tunes and songs not just preserved, but alive and lively,... present[ed] with a clear regional focus."

Dan Gellert

 

"Samuel Bayard was the most prominent scholar of traditional Pennsylvania music. It is wonderful to know that this tradition still lives through the playing of Mark Tamsula and Richard Withers. Bayard would have been proud!" 

Carl Rahkonen, Ph.D., Ethnomusicologist, Indiana, PA.

 

"Dr. Sam Bayard collected the old tunes from the hollers and the hills …. Mark and Dick have brought them off of the flat page and back into our ears and straight to our tapping feet. You can hear the mountains in these tunes." 

Dave Krysty, Fiddler and Folklorist, 
Pittsburgh, PA.

 

"Mark and Richard have created an appealing aural anthology that revivifies the spirit of early Pennsylvania fiddlers and fifers, bringing Sam Bayard's collections to life in 3-D: dance, discovery, and delight." 

Deane Root, Professor of Music;
Director, Center for American Music;
University of Pittsburgh

 

"It is extremely doubtful if any other living man could have produced such a piece of research. Bayard's expertise in the field of general folklore, as well as fiddle and fife tunes could hardly be matched."

George Swetnam, Pittsburgh 1983

 

"Nothing that Sam Bayard has written has ever been refuted."

Kenneth Goldstein, head of the University of 
Pennsylvania's Folklore and Folklife department

 

 

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