Lissa Schneckenburger

Lissa Schneckenburger

 Brattleboro, Vermont, USA

Fiddler and folk singer Lissa Schneckenburger plays traditional New England fiddle tunes mixed aptly with beautiful folk songs and intricate originals. While embracing a diverse pallet of musical influences, she still stays true to her New England roots.


"World class fiddler... far from just offering one dance tune after another, simple settings allow the true beauty of the music to shine through" - Sing Out

The traditional music of New England can be as warm and comforting as a winter fire or as potent and exhilarating as a summer thunderstorm. Fiddler and singer Lissa Schneckenburger is a master of both moods, a winsome, sweet-voiced singer who brings new life to old ballads and a skillful, dynamic fiddler who captures the driving rhythm and carefree joy of dance tunes old and new.

Raised in a small town in Maine and now living in Vermont, Lissa grew up with music. She began playing fiddle at the age of six, inspired by her mother's interest in folk music and a family friend who was a professional violinist. Soon she was studying with influential Maine fiddler Greg Boardman and sitting in with the Maine Country Dance Orchestra. By the time she was in high school she was playing concerts on her own, specializing in the sprightly New England dance tunes that combine influences from the British Isles and Quebec with homegrown twists that have been evolving since Colonial days. Another of her major influences was the diverse musical community that she found at fiddle camps, where she had a chance to play with and learn from a wide variety of musicians including noted Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser. In 2001 she graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music with a degree in contemporary improvisation, and since then has been performing around the US and internationally for a growing audience of enthusiastic listeners. She has recorded eight CDs, (five solo and three with various groups).

Lissa's fiddling is uplifting and lively, and her singing is gentle and evocative. Both in concert and in the studio she is regularly accompanied by some of New England's best musicians, including guitarist Bethany Waickman and accordion player Jeremiah McLane.

Recently she has been closely studying the roots of the Downeast traditional music that she first heard as a young girl. Her latest project is a pair of CDs dedicated to reintroducing some wonderful but largely forgotten songs and tunes from New England that she uncovered through archival research at the University of Maine and elsewhere. "Song", released in April 2008, contains ten timeless ballads that go back as far as the eighteenth century that she set to carefully crafted modern arrangements, while "Dance", scheduled for September 8th, 2010, will feature fiddle tunes. "There is currently a lot of focus on traditional American music from the South", she explains, "and many bands are exploring and recording that repertoire, but no one is getting to hear the amazing repertoire of traditional music from the North. This is my first attempt at getting some of that music out there for people to enjoy."

Whether playing for a folk club audience or a hall full of dancers, Lissa brings to the stage enthusiasm, energy, and the bright future of New England's musical traditions.


Dear Companion

Written By: Traditional/ Lissa Schneckenburger

Once I had a dear companion
Indeed I thought his love my own
Until a black eyed girl betrayed me
And now he cares no more for me

Just go and leave me if you wish to
And it will never trouble me
For in your heart you love another
And in my grave I’d rather be

Last night while you were sweetly sleeping
Dreaming in some soft repose
While I a poor girl, sad broken hearted
Listen to the wind that blows

When I see your babe laughing
It makes me think of your sweet face
But when I see your babe crying
It makes me think of my disgrace

Just go and leave me if you wish to
And it will never trouble me
For in your heart you love another
And in my grave I’d rather be

In the dark the blackbird’s silent
And at the dawn the blackbird crows
And if I had my own true lover
I would not cry again I know
I would not cry again I know

The Irish Girl

Written By: Traditional

As I roved out one evening down by the river side
A looking all around me an Irish girl I spied
So red and rosy were her cheeks and yellow was her hair
And costly were the robes of gold my Irish girl did wear

Now the first time that I saw my love I was sick and feeling bad
The only request I asked of her was that she might tie my head
I asked if one as bad as me could ever mind again
But love is a soar disorder, did you ever feel the pain

Let the wind blow high and low my boys let the seas run mountains high
It is the seamen’s duty the helm to stand by

My love she’ll not come near me for all the moan I make
And neither will she pity me though my poor heart should break
But if I were of some noble blood and she of a lower degree
She’d hear my lamentation and come and care for me


My only love is fairer than the lilies that do roam
She has voice that’s clearer than any wind that blows
She’s the promise of this country like Venus in the air
And let her go wherever she will, she’s my joy and only dear


And if I were a butterfly I’d light on my love’s breast
And if I were a linnet I’d sing my love to rest
And if I were a nightingale I’d sing till the morning clear
For once I loved her dearly she’s my joy and only dear


Let the wind blow high and low my boys let the seas run mountains high
It is the seamen’s duty the helm to stand by

It is the seamen’s duty the helm to stand by

Young Charlotte

Written By: Traditional/ Lissa Schneckenburger

source: "The Maine Woods Songster" edited by Phillips Barry, 1939

In a village fifteen miles from home, there’s a merry ball tonight
Although the air is freezing cold our hearts are warm and light
Long and anxiously she watched till a well-known voice she hears
And driving up to the cottage door young Charles Wesley appears

Why Charlotte dear her mother says this blanket around you fold
It is a dreadful night you know you’ll take your death of cold
"Oh no oh no," young Charlotte says and she laughed like a gypsy queen
To ride in blankets muffled up I never would be seen

And the wind blows cruel, and the wind blows free
Bring my love back to me

There’s music in the sound of bells as over the hills we go
What a crackling noise the runners make as they bite the frozen snow
With faces muffled silently for five long miles they rode
Until at length with a frozen word young Charles the silence broke

Such a night as this I never knew my reins I scarce can hold
Young Charlotte says with a feeble voice I feel exceeding cold
He cracks his whip he urged his steed much faster than before
Until at length five more long miles in silence they rode over


Young Charles he says I feel the air a gathering on my brow
Young Charlotte says with a weaker voice I’m growing warmer now
They rode over the mountain side and through the cold starlight
Until they entered the village and the ball room came in sight

Driving up young Charles jumps out and gives his hand to her
Why sit you there like a monument that has no power to stir
He called her once he called her twice but she uttered not a word
He called her for her hand again but still she never stirred


He tore the mantle from her brow and the cold stars on her shone
And quickly in the lighted room her helpless form was borne
They tried all means were in their power her life to restore
But Charlotte was a frozen corpse again to speak no more

They bore her out into the sleigh and Charles with her rode home
And when they reached her cottage door oh how her parents mourned
They mourned the loss of their daughter dear and Charles mourned for his bride
Until at length his heart did break and they slumber side by side


And the wind blows cruel, and the wind blows free
Bring my love back to me
And the sun will set, and the snow will fall
Falling down upon us all

Jam on Gerry's Rock/ Willie's

Written By: Traditional/ Lissa Schneckenburger

song source: “Maine Traditional Music, vol 4” produced for Maine Public Radio by Jeff McKeen,
recorded from the singing of Newell Beam in Machias, Maine.

Now come all of you bold shanty boys and listen while I relate
The story of a river man and his timely fate
The story of a river man who’s heart was true and brave
It was at the jam on Gary’s Rock that he met his watery grave

It was on a Sunday morning, as you shall quickly hear
The logs were piled up mountains high we could not keep them clear
Our foreman said come on brave lads with hearts devoid of fear
And we’ll break the jam on Gary’s Rock and for Adam’s Town we’ll turn

They had not rolled off many when they heard his clear voice say
I’ll have you be on your guards, boys for the jam will soon give way
These words were scarcely spoken when the jam did break and go
And it carried away those six brave lads with their foreman young Monroe

They pulled him from his watery grave, brushed back his raven hair
There’s one fair form among them who’s wails did ring the air
There’s one fair form among them, a girl from Logan’s Town
Who’s wonton cries rang to the skies for her true love that got drowned

They buried him with sorrow deep it was on the month of May
Come all of you bold shanty boys and for your comrade pray
They buried him with sorrow deep it was where the hemlock grow
With the day and date of that sad sad fate of that shanty boy Monroe


• Lissa Schneckenburger "Dance", Footprint Records 2010
• Lissa Schneckenburger "Song", Footprint Records 2008
• Lissa Schneckenburger “Lissa Schneckenburger” Footprint Records 2005
• Spin “Spin” Footprint Records 2003
• Halali “Halali” Footprint Records 2003
• Phantom Power “Phantom Power” Footprint Records 2003
• Lissa Schneckenburger “Different Game” Footprint Records 2001
• PBS Special Broadcast “A Taste of Chanukah” Rounder Records 1999
• PBS Special Broadcast “A Taste of Passover” Rounder Records 1998
• Lissa Schneckenburger “The Mad Hatter” Outer Green Records 1997

*All recordings on Footprint Records are available for streaming at

Airplay List for "Lissa Schneckenburger" (FR 2005) as of 11/1/06

3MDR: Melbourne, Australia
BRTO Radio: The Netherlands
CKUT: Montreal, Canada
Kansas Public Radio
KANZ FM Garden City, KS
KASU FM State University, AR
KAXE FM Grand Rapids, MN
KBBI Homer, AK
KBCS-FM Seattle, WA
KDHX FM St Louis, MO
KGLP FM Gallup, NM
KGLT FM Bozeman, MT
KGNU FM Boulder, CO
KNBA FM Anchorage, AK
KRCL FM Salt Lake City, UT
KRVM FM Eugene, OR
KSUT FM Ignacio, CO
KTOO FM Juneau, AK
KTUH FM Honolulu, HI
KUAR-FM Little Rock, AZ
KUMD FM Duluth, MN
KUTE FM Durango, CO
KVMR-FM Nevada City, CA
KVNF FM Paonia, CO
Maine Public Radio
Radio Libertaire: Paris, France
Radio: Limerick, Ireland
Radio: Portugal
Radio Voce Spazio: Italy
Vermont Public Radio
WBRS-FM Boston, MA
WCHG FM Hot Springs, VA
WDVR FM Sergeantsville, NJ
WEFT FM Champaign, IL
WERU FM E Orland, ME
WFCS FM New Britain, CT
WFDU FM Teaneck, NJ
WFHB FM Bloomington, IN
WGBH FM Boston, MA
WHAY FM Whitley City, KY
WJJC Commerce, GA
WKAR-FM Lansing, MI
WMFO FM Medford, MA
WMKY FM Morehead, KY
WMMT FM Whitesburg, KY
WMPG FM Portland, ME
WMTU FM Houghton, MI
WMUA-FM Amherst, MA
WNRN FM Charlottesville, VA
WOJB FM Hayward, WI
WOMR-FM Provincetown, MA
WOOL-FM Bellows Falls, MA
WOUB FM Athens, OH
WRFL FM Lexington, KY
WRIU FM Wakefield, RI
WRNR FM Annapolis, MD
WRUR FM Rochester, NY
WRUW FM Cleveland, OH
WSCA-FM Portsmouth, NH
WSYC FM Shippensburg, PA
WUMB FM Boston, MA
WVLS FM Monterey, VA
WVMR Dunmore, WV
WWHP FM Farmer City, IL
WWUH FM W Hartford, CT
WXOJ-FM Amherst, MA
WYEP-FM Pittsburgh, PA

Set List

At a typical concert we will play two 45 minute sets. We do not do "covers", but rather play traditional ballads and fiddle tunes, mixed with several originals.
Here is a recent set list;

1. Halafl/ Mona’s
2. The Irish Girl
3. The Bottle of Brandy/ The Banks of Lough Gowna/ Miss Sarah McFadgen
4. The River
5. The Minstrel Show
6. Melissa Without the "Me"/ Eric’s Birthday
7. Haapavesi
8. Lumberman in Town
(second half)
1. Little Musgrove
2. Fisherman's/ Ross’s Reel #4
3. Fair Jaime
4. The Logger’s Boast
5. Hanneke’s
6. The Dear Companion
7. The Ranch
8. Lamplighter’s Hornpipe