Dancin' Cross the Strings

Steve and Ruth Smith

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A unique instrumental blend of Celtic Appalachian music from the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina featuring hammered dulcimer and guitar along with flute, pennywhistle, fiddle, clawhammer banjo, shuttle bagpipes, bodhran, and limberjac

"Ruth Smith's touch on the hammered dulcimer is absolutely magical...exquisite phrasing"

Dirty Linen Folk & World Music Magazine

"Dancin' Cross the Strings" was nominated in the 2009 JPF Music Awards "Instrumental Roots Music Album" category."Just Plain Folks" is an international organization of Songwriters, Recording Artists and Music Industry Professionals and host to the world's largest independent music awards. Over 42,000 albums were submitted for the 2009 awards from over 160 countries with 10 nominees being selected in each music genre category. Less than 1/3 of 1% of the CDs submitted were nominated.

The traditional music of Scotland and Ireland first found its way into the back country of the Blue Ridge Mountains over 200 years ago with Scots-Irish settlers. This Celtic music formed the foundation for our traditional music of Appalachia.

Steve and Ruth, both of Scots-Irish heritage, take the listener from the traditional Celtic music of Scotland and Ireland that migrated into the Appalachian Mountains, through the early music of the Southern Highlands, and on to five new songs written by Ruth that are representative of the Celtic Appalachian musical heritage and experience.

Steve and Ruth live in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina. This small region in the corner of North Carolina, which includes east Tennessee and southwest Virginia, is one of the richest areas for traditional music in the United States. From the Carter Family to Doc Watson to Frank Proffit Sr. and countless others,the music of the Southern Appalachians was born and lives here today. Steve and Ruth use hammered dulcimer and guitar to keep this music alive and growing.

The ancient tunes of Scottish fiddler Niel Gow (1727-1807) and Irish Harper Turlough O'Carolan (1670-1738), along with traditional tunes from the "Golden Age of Celtic Music", come alive in a new and refreshing way with Steve and Ruth's creative arrangements throughout this CD.

What do you get when you put together two musicians from the Blue Ridge Mountains with a Scots-Irish background? You get a CD packed with music of Appalachia. Music from this area of the country was brought there by the early settlers, who were--you guessed it--Scots-Irish.

You'll hear a variety of sounds on this instrumental album, including the hammered dulcimer, guitar, flute, fiddle, bodhran and clawhammer banjo. It makes for a very intriguing "stew" of sound. The overall effect is relaxing and dreamlike--carrying the listener along for the ride. Somewhat like a Celtic "New Age" sound, this CD really would be the perfect accompaniment to a hot mug of tea and a relaxing afternoon spent looking out the window at the world going by.

The arrangements here are well done, and although the music is relaxing, it isn't boring or solely background music. The musicianship shows through and begs for the ear and the dulcimer is used in a very gentle way much of the time--blending in and flowing rather than screaming for attention. The effect is quite nice and Ruth's touch is definitely cultivated well. Sit back and relax with this album--get a little lost in the sound and enjoy...

Catherine L. Tulley Celtic MP3s Music Magazine

Ruth's hammered dulcimer is front and center and her playing is mature, confident, and very sensitive to the nuances of the music, allowing each tune to breathe. She wrote five of the fifteen cuts and each is a treasure. She calls on O'Carolan, Neil Gow, Shaun Davey, Ken Kolodner, and Jim Taylor for additional material, and does them all proud, as well. Meanwhile, Steve provides a solid rhythmic basis for each arrangement and the rest of the group add sonic textures that both surprise and delight. This is great stuff indeed. Neal Walters Dulcimer Players News

"Ruth’s delicate yet decisive playing on the hammered dulcimer is one of the things that gives Dancin’ Cross the Strings its lively Celtic character." Jeff Eason The Mountain Times

"Ruth’s shimmering, cascading dulcimer melodies and Steve’s warm, finger-style guitar are enhanced throughout the disc by the supporting cast who add depth and emotion to the delicate music." David Brewer High Country Press

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