Heliotrope Bouquet Review
by Greg Haymes
PREVIEW – Times Union
August 12, 1993
A lot of people think of the dulcimer only as a traditional folk music instrument, but everyone from the American Music club to Joni Mitchell to the rolling Stones have employed the dulcimer’s sweet sound in their music.
Nassau dulcimerist Sue Carpenter has just released a sparkling new album, “Heliotrope Bouquet” on Patchowork Productions, which explores the diversity of the dulcimer repertoire and pushes the envelope along the way.
It’s no surprise to hear her play the traditional “Greensleeves,” Jay Ungar’s Civil War hit “Ashokan Farewell” or even a classic Disney gem like “When You Wish Upon a star.” But I certainly never expected to hear songs like Petula Clark’s “Downtown,” the Drifters, “Under the Boardwalk” or Scott Joplin’s ragtime favorite, “Heliotrope Bouquet” played on a dulcimer.
Much to her credit, Carpenter actually makes the songs work, too. Even an old warhorse like Stephen Foster’s “Oh Suzannah” sounds scintillating in a poignant, fingerpicked arrangement that closes the album. And Carpenter’s original songs-most notably “Summer Deck-Adence”-are lilting, melodic compositions.