Sense of Wonder

Sense of Wonder

BandFolkChildren's Music

If Joni Mitchell and Nick Drake fell in love and wrote duets, they might have sounded something like Sense of Wonder. Beautiful harmony, intelligent, playful songwriting, and rich acoustic arrangements. This is the smiling spirit of folk.

Biography

If Joni Mitchell and Nick Drake fell in love and wrote duets, they might have sounded something like Sense of Wonder. Beautiful harmony, intelligent, playful songwriting, and rich acoustic arrangements. This is the smiling spirit of folk...

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"Their songs dance like fireflies under a willow tree. Delicious mix of harmonies with eloquent songwriting. One sip is magic."
-- Katie Graybeal, We're About 9

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Rick & Audrey's Sense of Wonder

~ Through the gate lies a path... an adventure
~ twisting into the unexpected. Sweet harmony
~ beckons you through to a verdant, vibrant landscape

It was back in 1998 when Audrey walked into Rick's living room. Having recently released his debut solo CD, Rick was immersed in the local folk scene, and his group-house in Takoma Park was a hangout for friends and musicians. Rick hosted a monthly open house called "The Okay Cafe," where songwriters gathered to present and critique new songs.

A friend of Rick's had met Audrey at a street festival and invited her to come to the Cafe. The roomful of regulars quickly took notice of Audrey's songs -- complex and artful, yet easily approachable. She had been looking for community, and soon was a regular herself at The Okay Café.

As Rick and Audrey grew closer, and eventually married, it was natural that their voices would blend. They are constantly aware and supportive of each other, giving space while harmonizing perfectly -- art reflecting life. Rick and Audrey truly play together, the whole show a fanciful duet.

As a duo, Rick and Audrey have established themselves as award-winning songwriters and notable performers in festivals and venues around the DC area. And though the Okay Cafe no longer meets regularly, they remain at the heart of DC's contemporary folk community.

~ The moss is soft and warm, like the sound
~ of a cello bowing, and a narrow river rushes
~ by like fingers on a piano, beautiful

Sense of Wonder is the band. Tom's idea, sorta. When Rick and Audrey set out to make a record, producer Tom Espinola suggested that their songs would work better if arranged for a unique set of musicians, rather than walk-in session players. "We want this to feel as close to the real thing as possible, like it's a single band at their best performance."

With a grain of naiveté, the duo took this as a cue to start a band. The best way to sound like one is to form one, after all. And though it may sound obvious, the idea of a full six-piece band is unusual in the solo-guitar-slinging singer-songwriter world.

Rick & Audrey's connection to the music community made it easy to draw on local talent. Soon they found that they were not arranging songs for a recording so much as letting them evolve in the context of their new ensemble; adding bass, drum, cello, and piano to the guitars and harmonies that already characterized their signature sound. The process flowed organically as everyone contributed, collaborated, and improvised; new arrangements emerging naturally.

Mark Sylvester (WAMMIE nominee, "best folk instrumentalist") is a master of many instruments, known to most as a guitarist. He works as a composer, a producer, and a teacher. But Audrey had heard him at a late night jam session, backing up a friend on the upright bass, and knew immediately that he was the right fit for the band.

Rob Nicholson, plays in any number of ensembles, be they funk, rock, jazz -- even a steel drum band. He's also a family man who teaches drums and guitar to kids in the neighborhood, and he runs a summer "Combo Camp" in conjunction with the local music store, bringing kids together musically, and showing them how to interact and improvise. Already a good friend and neighbor, he was a natural fit on drums.

Rick also drew on some talent from his day-job compatriots. Dayana Yochim is a personal finance writer by day, but had a hidden talent as a cellist. Hidden no more, she was thrilled to get back into the scene, and jumped at the chance to join the band.

And finally, Clark R. was known through both the day job and the music scene. His unique style of improvised piano is a joy to experience -- never the same from show to show. Typically he plays as a soloist, but he joined the band almost on a lark, to try something new. He immediately found his space, and his addition to the soundscape was an instant fit -- just the sparkle that was needed to complete the sonic picture.

~ It is a place shimmering with earthly magic
~ A rhythmic enchantment of chords and arpeggios
~ voices swirling, whimsical yet wise

And so Sense of Wonder came together, not as a session band but a working one. A collection of friends who work and play together, making magic on the side, improvising arrangements and playing music for the love of it.

Rick & Audery's songwriting conjures real-life faerie tales, everyday romance, journeys into the unexpected, and life-loving sp

Lyrics

True Love

Written By: Rick Engdahl

I'm gonna take you out, I'm gonna hold your hand
I'm gonna rub your feet, I'm gonna be your man
I'm gonna make you so happy for the rest of my life

I'm gonna shovel your driveway, gonna split your logs
I'm gonna fly your kite, I'm gonna walk your dogs
I'm gonna be there with you, for the rest of my life

It ain't all kisses, honeymoon wishes, Baby, I'm here to stay
Romance is fine, I'll be your Valentine
But true love happens every day

I'm gonna save my money gonna buy this house
Maybe build another cabinet and catch that little mouse
I'll be your handy man for the rest of my life

I'm gonna draw your bath, I'm gonna wash your hair
I'm gonna match the socks and fold the underwear
I'll keep everything tidy for the rest of my life

I'm gonna join the church and drive the kids to school
Pack their lunches and make up some rules
I'll be a family man for the rest of my life

I'm gonna meet the neighbors for a potluck dinner
Gonna play some cards, I'm gonna be the winner
'Cause I'll be your partner for the rest of my life

True love happens everyday, True love happens everyday
True love happens everyday, True love happens everyday

Make a Garden Grow (for kids)

Written By: Audrey Engdahl

Yes, I know how to make a garden grow
Sun and rain and soil down below
Yes, I know how to make a garden thrive
and keep it, keep it alive!
Yeah, yeah, yeah

It starts way down in the ground
That’s where all the bugs and worms run around
Down in the garden, dig a hole
Plant your seeds and let nature take control

Cabbage, and broccoli, and cauliflower
To get them planted takes less than an hour
Fresh air, sunshine, and rain showers
It doesn’t take much ‘cause plants have the power!

In a couple of weeks
From that dirt, an itty-bitty-teeny-weeny plant will peek
It’ll grow bigger everyday
Stem, leaf, flower, vegetable
Let me hear you say hooray!

Yes, I know how to make a garden grow
Sun and rain and soil down below
Yes, I know how to make a garden thrive
and keep it, keep it alive!
Yeah, yeah, yeah

Use a Map (for kids)

Written By: Audrey Engdahl

When you’re looking for a treasure buried underneath a tree
and don’t want to meet a dragon whose breath is fiery
When all the ground is quicksand as far as you can see, Use a map, Use a Map!

Use a map, it’s a snap! Don’t turn around in circles, don’t fall into a trap
When you need to get from here to there in thirty seconds flat, use a map, use a map!

When you’re traveling to a far off land like China or Peru
And your plane breaks down in Brussels and you don’t know what to do
You can catch a flying carpet, You can ride on a gnu
But first, use a map!

When you’ve made friends with an alien who lives on Zeebazay
And he would come to visit if he only knew the way
Draw the moon and stars and planets and the cloudy milky way
And then, he’ll have a map!

Dino-dino-dinosaur (for kids)

Written By: Audrey Engdahl

Dino-dino-dinosaur, rock the ground when they roar
Dino-dino-dinosaur, I’m gonna tell you more
ROAR!

Some were small like a chicken, or big like a whale
They had thick skin and claw toenails
Big sharp teeth and long lizard tails
How do we know it? Their bones left a trail

Some were swimming in the ocean, or running on the land
Flying through the air, or sleeping on the sand
A hundred million years ago before anyone
Their history’s a mystery, but they left behind their skeletons!

Some walk up on their hind legs, some used all four feet
Some ate only plants, some ate only meat
Some were small, some were weak,
Lots a different dinosaurs, each kind is unique!

Open the Gate

Written By: Audrey Engdahl

Lift the latch, there’s no more halting now
Now you know my heart, so take my hand, let’s start out walking

With the sweet taste of waking, your smile on my lips
The sun winks and slips her way on tiptoes
Tossing her dancing light through the leaves at your window
We throw off the blankets and night tucks her sand in the pockets of her moon robes
Vanishing into the brightness

Open the gate love, pull me spinning into the arms of a new day
Open the gate, mmm. . . gimme some laughter, You’re making up the way

Secret door, we crawl down through the floor,
the tunnel twists — there are roots in the ceiling, and frogs on the rocks
They point the direction, because they can’t talk
We’re believing in symbols, forgetting the clocks
Our feet quick and nimble, dancing out of the box
The dark makes me tremble, but we’re giving off sparks
We stay safe as a thimble in our bright red socks

Oh my darling, my darling, I’ll give you Clementines and ripened rhymes for breakfast
I am yours and you are mine, I think we’d better duck fast
‘Cause the time flies buzz around our heads
Try to infect us with real life dread and deadlines
But I hope you’re listening this time
Open the gate love, I’ll pull you spinning into the arms of a new day
Open the gate, mmm . . . shining brightly, discovering the way

Over pebbles to the lake, the small waves breaking
The water is warm to our waists, to ease the aching
The day is kind and calm and waking
And you hold my hand here

The Witch and the Peddler

Written By: Audrey Engdahl

You never can see the witch but you know she’s always waiting
To numb the broken heart, to nerve the brittle will
You never can see the witch, but her name goes before her
Calling through the empty, you simply can’t ignore

You never can see the witch, but for explosions of color
In the mist-drenched trees, smoking prisms in the leaves
You never can see the witch, but her laughter lengthens with the shadows
Thickening, quickening as the sun goes down

I am a peddler, I don’t deal in spells, but beautiful bottles I sell
Dust off the age, hold it up to the light, its just
glass filled with water, colored and bright,
Catching the glow of the sunlight

You never can see the witch, for the darkness grows around her
Flooding through the fragile and filling up your head
You never can see the witch, with grief wandering wild
You’re searching for a vision, but nothing lies ahead

You never can see the witch, but the townsfolk venture in
Foregoing light and reason their problems for to plead
You never can see the witch, but you often see the damage
In the glassy eyes and wild hands, the payment craving cure

I am a peddler, I don’t deal in spells, but beautiful bottles I sell
Dust off the age, hold it up to the light, its just
glass filled with water, colored and bright,
Catching the glow of the sunlight
Won’t you come on by?

And if you sit, we’ll talk a bit, and tell all the stories we know
Solid and true, the words changing hue,
This laughter we choose, it’s a magic we all can do
Not hidden in trees, but out in plain view
It’ll help you through

You never can see the witch but you know she’s always waiting
To numb the broken heart, to nerve the brittle will
You never can see the witch, but her name goes before her
Calling through the empty,
Are you really so empty?

Just dust off the age, step into the light, the air is clean and bright
Your heart may be hurting, but you’re healing inside,
I see the strength in your eyes, I see the laughter inside
I see the light from the sky

Discography

CD: "Open the Gate" by Sense of Wonder, 2007
CD: "Imagine That!" by Rick & Audrey, 2007 (for kids)

Set List

Sense of Wonder usually performs 1-2 hour gigs, comprised of primarily original songs... Rick & Audery's positive songwriting conjures real-life faerie tales, everyday romance, journeys into the unexpected, and life-loving spirituality.

Peppered with eclectic covers... folk favorites like Dave Carter, Dar Williams, Peter Mayer, Nanci Griffith, Joni Mitchell... and rock-favs like Tom Petty, Mark Knopfler, The Beatles, Death Cab for Cutie...

In addition, Rick & Audrey perform music for kids. Here, the duo is highly interactive and energetic, and pride themselves on releasing the inner dinosaur in all of us.