Following the Muse Review
by Neal Walters
Dulcimer Players News
Volume 34, Number 1
Winter 2008

It’s been quite a while since we had a recording from Sue Carpenter but I’m here to tell you the wait was genuinely worth it.  Sue was the 2005 National Mountain Dulcimer Champion and she is renowned for her beautiful, inventive, and often harmonically complex fingerpicking arrangements.  Now she is back with a wonderful new batch of tunes that cannot fail to bring tears to your eyes and a big smile to your face.  Bill Carpenter, Brian Ferguson, Dirje Smith, Rhandy Simmons and Ross Holmes add occasional guitar, percussion, or fretless bass, the odd cello and fiddle, and they get amazing mileage from some old chestnuts and some newer material that I’m betting is going to be moving to the top of your learn list in short order.  Sue plays baritone, standard, and chromatic dulcimers, often adding a harmony part using a capo or a dulcimer with another voice.  Her arrangements are meticulous and always creative and she uses several tunings-all of them with four equidistant strings.  She doesn’t always fingerpick but she is at her introspective best when she does.  There aren’t many dance tunes on here but you’re going to find yourself mesmerized as you listen.  As much as I like snappy old-time tunes and kicking dance music, there’s a part of me that says, “This is the way the dulcimer is supposed to sound.”  I suspect many of you out there will feel that way, too.  It’s plumb beautiful, as one of Sue’s Texas friends might say.  I’m very much inclined to agree.

Used with permission:  Dulcimer Players News