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MP3 A.J. Bashore II - Hands

This is Solo Instrumental Appalachian Mountain Dulcimer playing Spanish sounding pieces, Blues, Celtic, American fiddle tunes, and from simple to innovative stuff throughout with the intent to create the feel of an old field recording.

16 MP3 Songs
WORLD: Celtic, FOLK: Traditional Folk

"I saw his fingers leave his hands!" Doug Felt.

"...A masterful player with a repertoire to match..."
Neal Walters, Dulcimer Players News.

A.J. Bashore''s performances are "delightful and refreshing." Jon Beam, PP&L Montour Preserve.

He "...sure can get a lot of music out of that little instrument." Julius Uhelin, past president of the AFL-CIO.

The intent of "Hands" has been to create a recording similar to old field recordings...pure, straight, and natural musio, as if A.J. was sitting right in your kitchen or out on your porch. This is a Solo Instrumental project without any overdubs nor any other musicians.

The musical genres heard on "Hands" come from Traditional American, Celtic, Blues, and Spanish influences, in addition to the tunes that A.J. composed retaining traditional and World Music flavors.

A.J. Bashore II has been playing on the Appalachian Mountain Dulcimer for nearly three decades. His playing styles have received awards in contests. A.J. has been given the rare opportunity to present his music at The Ole Bull Music Festival Awards Concerts in Merkin Hall, Lincoln Center in New York City on multiple occasions. Dulcimer festivals in Pennsylvania and surrounding states has showcased his talents as a featured performer through the years. In addition, he presents intriguing workshops on various techniques for the Mountain Dulcimer. WNEP TV featured him twice with different musical topics on the news program "On the Pennsylvania Road with Mike Stevens." He has performed at Musikfest in Bethlehem,PA; annually each March at the PP&L Montour Preserve, Washingtonville; the Iron Heritage Festival, Danville; Patchwork Coffeehouse, Perkasie; Brews & bytes, Danville; Kutztown Folk Music Society, Kutztown; at the Pennsylvania Assn. for Sustainable Agriculture''s annual conference; at the Pennsylvania Natural Living Assn conference; King Street Coffeehouse, Northumberland; and at weddings and funerals.

A.J. also maintains an atypical dulcimer and antique instrument collection, portions of which are displayed for the Iron Heritage Festival each July in the window of the Masters Barbershop.

A founding member of two dulcimer clubs both entering their 19th year, these organizations remain vibrantly active. They are Frosty Valley Dulcimer Friends in Danville, PA and Off the Wall Dulcimer Society in Mechanicsburg, PA.

In the Spring of 2005 the band DayBreak recorded in the Lost River Caverns, Hellertown, PA and invited A.J. to participate on the "Lost Cave" CD. This CD is available through CDbaby on their page.


About the tunes and instruments on "Hands":

1. Gypsy Dance/Spanish Tune ©1996, 1998 key of Em capo at 1st fret. These two lively tunes composed by A.J. have different time signatures. Steve Catania built this commissioned Mountain Dulcimer for A.J. in 1990, which is tuned in DAd (4 strings with melody string doubled, thus becoming a three stringed instrument.) It is featured on all tracks except where otherwise noted.

2. Kelli''s Waltz ©1995 A.J. Bashore II key of D Here''s a tune A.J. wrote to sound as if it has been played by old fiddlers many years ago. It is titled in honor of his companion Kelli Lambert.

3. Spotted Pony/Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss arr.©1999 key of D Two fun traditional tunes. Pretty Little Miss was Kelli''s wedding processional when married in their 100 year old barn.

4. Planxty Dr. Bush ©1993 A.J. Bashore II key of G capo 3rd fret. A.J. composed this tune in honor of the orthopedic surgeon, Dr. David Bush, who repaired damage to A.J.''s fretting hand. Planxty in Irish music means "in praise of." Played in a finger- picking style, this piece emulates playing on a harp as near as possible with the few strings on the Mountain Dulcimer.

5. Scheitholt Medley arr.©1994 Ionian tuning Played while using a noter (playing stick) to fret the melody on the Scheitholt, the grandmother of dulcimers. These well known traditional and public domain tunes showcase the boxy sound of the instrument. This particular instrument, built sometime in the1980''s by George Orthey of Newport, PA., was modeled after a Scheitholt in the Mercer Museum in Doylestown, PA.

6. Going Home ©1991 Rob Yoder key of G capo 3rd fret Composed by Rob Yoder in memory of Rob''s father, A.J. learned it from Rob''s concertina playing on the DayBreak recording "Unity." DayBreak (https://www.tradebit.com) is a delightful Celtic and family oriented band, whom invite A.J. to sit in with them from time to time.

7. First Dance ©1991 key of D Imagine a youthful lad briskly walking the countryside to a barn dance a few miles away. He is whistling this tune as he thinks of his sweetheart who will be there waiting for him. This tune, composed by A.J. is mostly played in a simple and almost traditional noter style, but uses fingers instead. A.J.''s & Kelli''s barn used to have barn dances in the first half of the last century. Occasionally they host "Barn Jams".

8. Bonnie Dundee/Joys of Wedlock arr.©1992 & ©1990 key of G in the tuning DGd Two lovely traditional Irish tunes. Though not sung here, the first does have words. The second tune is sweet and endearing, especially when considering its other title "The Newlywed Jig."

9. Dulcimer Police Blues ©1991 A.J. Bashore II key of D This tune is a gentle joke at the folks who insist that the dulcimer should only be played with a feather and a stick. A.J. has heard other dulcimer players call those folks "Dulcimer Police."

10. The Tapping Tune ©1988, 1995 A.J. Bashore II key of Bm In the late 1980''s A.J. began exploring "tapping," the technique of using both hands to "hammer on" and "pull off" to make the melody. Jazz and rock guitarists do this. At that time the only other dulcimer players "tapping" were Jerry Rockwell and Stephen K. Smith. After meeting them both, A.J. refined his technique making it evolve into a different sound. Note also that some of the interludes are improvised over the changing chord background.

11. Greasy Coat arr. ©2000 Key of Dm Played on the Banjo Cello, a rare large banjo tuned the same as a cello, this traditional tune was learned from dulcimer player David T. Moore

12. Greensleaves arr.©1995 key of Gm (dorian tuning) DGc The instrument is a 1985 Blue Lion Force d''Ossche dulcimer. This traditional Elizabethan tune we all know. During the recording A.J. moved into another mode, but makes a surprising switch back into the dorian mode he started in.

13. Morning Has Broken/Be Thou My Vision Intro ©1994 arr. ©1994 key of D A.J. introduces this medley with a melody solely of harmonics. The traditional tunes are both Celtic. The first is Welch, the second, Irish.

14. Dry and Dusty/Over the Waterfall arr.©1990 key of D These paired traditional American fiddle tunes create a delightful musical oxymoron.

15. Ten Penny Bit/Cold Frosty Morning arr.©1994 keys of A mixolydian & Am Now here are examples of playing in other keys while remaining in a DAd tuning. Both traditional, the first is Irish, the second, American.

16. Dulcimer In A Blue Mood ©2000 A.J. Bashore II key of Em Composed and improvised specifically for this recording. During the recording, a near catastrophe turned into serendipity.


Where your dollars go:

A portion of the proceeds go to each of these nonprofit organizations:

1. Heart to Hand Ministries: https://www.tradebit.com

2. PASA--Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture: https://www.tradebit.com

3. Folk Alliance–North American Folk Music and Dance Alliance: https://www.tradebit.com


Curiously interesting footnote: A.J. tends to his Honey Bee Hives. Dulcimer means "Sweet Music" and the instrument has Drone strings. Honey Bees make Sweet Honey and the males are Drones.

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