Appalachian Celtic Consort

Appalachian Celtic Consort

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Appalachian Celtic Consort plays traditional Celtic music with a twist of Appalachian mountain music thrown in. Whistles, pipes, hammered dulcimer, mandolin, guitar, and bouzouki provide a varied repertoire ranging from fast reels to slow airs, with moods happy to eerie.

Biography

ACC plays traditional Irish and Scottish music mostly, but also a little old-time and some original compositions. If you are a die-hard traditionalist you might notice that our music has a little different sound than some Celtic groups -- hence the word Appalachian in our name. Our hills and mountains were settled by Scotch-Irish immigrants, and the music they brought with them has picked up a bit of local flavor.

ACC started out in 1998 with Mike Petersen on concertina, Dewey Sanderson on hammered dulcimer, and Pat Wiegand on guitar. Shortly thereafter Mark Nelson joined us to lend a hand with pennywhistle, bagpipes and flute. Neil Cadle rounds out the band playing bohdran, other percussion instruments, and mandolin on our second CD.

The band re-invented itself in 2004-5 after Mike Petersen moved to Wheeling. Although he still plays with the group occasionally, additional lead instrumentation was provided by the addition of Dave Gladkosky, who adds mandolin, guitar and bass vocals. Most recently, Mark Watson brings an assortment of whistles, flutes, bouzouki, and even a little fiddle.

Discography

Our first CD, “A St. Andrew's Day Celebration”, is music of Scottish heritage and was released under the Orchard label in 1999. It came about after we played for several St. Andrew's day dinners in the area. Soon after we were thrilled to have the entire CD played on the WV Public Radio show, Nightshades, along with Iona, another great band. This was followed by a live show, "Music from the Mountains." The Charleston Gazette gave the CD a very nice review. You can get it through CDNow, Amazon, and other online music retailers.

Our second CD, “Drop O’ the Pure” was released in December 2002. It is available online at
http://www.cdbaby.com/acc and http://www.cdstreet.com/artists/appalachiancelticconsort
and Amazon.com. The Consort's sophomore effort gets down to the roots of Celtic session playing. Listening to the CD, it is easy to close your eyes and imagine yourself in a Dublin pub with the Guiness flowing freely. A wide variety of styles is represented, including energetic dance tunes, hauntingly melodic lamentations, and songs with lyrics ranging from humorous to eerie. True to session playing, most tracks consist of medleys of two or three tunes, played in a traditional manner. The tunes were chosen for their musical compatibility, but also for historical or topical significance. For example, Shamrock Shore is a song about the melancholy trip to America to escape the potato famine. It is coupled with Statten Island, representing their arrival in New York. You can even hear the ferry whistle! This is a fun CD with something for everyone, and includes our first original composition, “Farewell to Becky.”

“Drop” was introduced during a second appearance on WV Public Radio “Music from the Mountains” hosted by Joe Dobbs. This show was broadcast on February 7, 2003 at 9 pm. In 2004, we had an incredible opportunity to play with Paddy Maloney and the Chieftains when they performed in Charleston. For the finale, Paddy invited the Consort to kick off the band with the reel “Maid Behind the Bar”, which was followed by “The Banshee.”

Our third CD, “Come By the Hills” was released around May of 2006. This CD features the full complement of members and features a number of unique arrangements of traditional tunes as well as introducing two new original pieces. You'll find lots of jigs, reels, dances and songs. We also have a great accapella 3-part harmony piece, “Capernaum”, which we have covered from the Tannahill Weaver's album of the same name.

The original pieces include a song, ”Dear Lady”, a reel, “David and the Goliath”, and a waltz, “Good Night”. Dear Lady was written by our guitarist/vocalist Pat Wiegand and his son Sean when he was 13. The lyrics describe a multi-level morality play based on Bram Stoker's Dracula myth, but with the twist of showing the vampire's tragedy as well as his victims. Pretty deep for a 13-year old!
David and the Goliath was written by our good friend and master hammered dulcimer player, “Sally Hawley”. In this case, the reference is not biblical, however. The tune was actually written about our mandolin player and the vintage German car he is restoring. Neil does some great bones work, which somehow seems appropriate for an old car.

Good Night is a waltz written by Collin Nelson, son of our whistle player, Mark Nelson, when he was in fourth grade. He wrote this song to honor his mother, who used to lullaby him to sleep.

Set List

Typical set would include a variety of fast reels and jigs with a few slow aires or waltzed thrown in to vary the tempo, and several songs to balance instrumental pieces. We do not do many covers, most of our pieces are either traditional or original. Most sets are 45-50 minutes.