Thursday, April 16, 2015

37: Long Journey Home - Songs of Water

Ah, that's a little different.

So as well as the guitar I also dabble in playing the hammered dulcimer. Mainly because while listening to a Rich Mullins song called "Creed" I kept thinking - what is that incredibly energetic sound that is driving this thing? That high-strung thing that isn't a mandolin and isn't a harpsichord and is giving it so much momentum? And it was the hammered dulcimer, which features on several Rich Mullins tracks and not really anywhere much else outside of Appalachia and a few bearded folk concerts in the UK.

But one of the few experts on the instrument is one Stephen Roach, whose rootsy band 'Songs of Water' go back several years. I was first given their debut album (also titled "Songs of Water") as a gift and for a while wasn't sure what to make of it. Some of it still remains a musical mystery to me - something I struggle to listen to because it doesn't quite go anywhere. But track one - "Long Journey Home" quickly began to stand out as the track I wanted to both listen to and learn to play. The backing instruments - especially the soaring violin - accentuate rather than overpower the dulcimer which, like with Rich Mullins' style, Roach uses as a percussion instrument primarily rather than leading the melody with it.

In addition to listening to it, I also love the idea of making some kind of video accompaniment to it, but haven't ever got around to it. Something along the 'Landscape Channel' lines with scenes from the high Rockies in Colorado, snowy meltwater becoming mountain trickles, merging into cascading streams and flowing together to become, eventually, the Colorado River or the Rio Grande. Having visited the source of the Rio Grande last summer, high up on Stony Pass above Silverton, it still amazes me to think that melting snow there eventually, depending on which side of the pass it falls, ends up in either the Colorado or Rio Grande, and thus ends up in either the Atlantic or the Pacific. It's a Long Journey Home for that water, and this track - which I'm sure has nothing really to do with mountain streams - just sits so well with that concept that one day I'll get around to putting it together.

Meantime enjoy the music with some nice photos.

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