Susan Sherlock

Susan Sherlock


As a vocalist and hammered dulcimer player, Susan nurtures a calling that includes performing, composing, songwriting and teaching. Sharing the music and its stories is her passion, and her love for tradition in a new age is evident as each tale, tune and song attain a life of its own.


As a solo artist Susan nurtures a calling that includes performing, composing, songwriting and teaching. Sharing the music and its stories is her passion, and her love for tradition in a new age is evident as each tale, tune and song attain a life of its own.

Since the late 1990s Susan has been invited to teach and perform at numerous music camps and festivals including two years at the Cork Dulcimer Festival in Cork City, Ireland, The Swannanoa Gathering in Asheville, NC, Cranberry Dulcimer Gathering, Binghamton, NY, and many others. Susan has also published instructional articles for the hammered dulcimer on the Mel Bay webzine

Susan stays very involved in her community and is acknowledged as a Folk Art and Traditional Artist by the South Carolina Arts Commission, is a member of the North Carolina Arts and Science Council Talent Bureau, a recipient of Regional Artist Project Grants from the North Carolina Arts and Science Council (2004), Arts and Science Council - Charlotte/Mecklenburg (2009), is a former member of the Charlotte Folk Society Board of Directors, a panel member for the local and regional Collate Country Showdown talent search program, and founder/director of Yorkville Music Weekend.

The daughter of a mandolin player with a rich family history in traditional music, Susan’s childhood was filled with sounds of Tennessee Waltz and Red River Valley on a daily basis. Frequent family gatherings spanning several generations often included fiddles, guitars, mandolins and lots of Carter-style singing! Susan’s father was her mentor and, in the aural tradition, instilled in her a deep connection and love for the old hymns, traditional songs and the wonderful nuances of the old time harmonies.

It was in late 1995 that Susan was drawn to the beautiful, mysterious sounds emanating from a hammered dulcimer in the mountains of North Carolina. Little did she know that this chance encounter would be the beginning of a musical odyssey; a journey that would transform her from casual music lover to hammered dulcimer player/teacher, songwriter, recording artist, and event creator/promoter.

After a time away due to a family illness, Susan enjoys a musical homecoming with greater passion, vision and determination with her third recording due to be released in early 2010. With this album she makes her debut as a singer/songwriter and is joined by James Leva, Jon Singleton, Wes Chappell and many other friends and loved ones to share in the renaissance.

During the summer months Susan spends much of her time performing and teaching hammered dulcimer; however during the nine month academic year splits her time between her music and York Technical College in Rock Hill SC where she has taught for nearly 25 years.


Lover's Dream

Written By: Susan Vinson Sherlock

The Lover’s Dream
© 2006 Susan Vinson Sherlock

This story brings a certain truth that I must share with you
One lonely night in fitful sleep this dream I journeyed through
This message did unfold as I travel through the mist
The meaning plain and clear as this story did untwist

The lonely night I knew so well was once again on me
I laid my weary body down and I soon fell off to sleep
As the slumber came upon me I could hear a gentle voice
Whispering, “you are sad and lonely, dear, but you have got a choice”

The road ahead is rough, the stream is deep, the river wide
Why do you travel all alone while I would be at your side?
For I’d take your hand up the hills and thru the waters deep
Hand in hand, stepping stones; I’ll lean on you, you lean on me

As the whisper it grew louder I began to see a face
It was the one I loved so dear but I could not embrace
But I saw those loving eyes and could feel the gentle touch
And I prayed that I would ne’er awake and we would never part

My love held a letter but the words I could not see
My love read these words “please, open your heart to me”
“I know you are afraid and your heart is bound in chains
But love and joy wait for you like the sunshine after rain

The gentle hand I held in mine began to pull away
The face it grew dimmer as the whisper I heard say
The sands of time are never still no matter what you do
And another waits by my door, just as I wait for you


When I woke next morning I could scarce get out of bed
Then I ‘membered my dream and the words that were said
And I rushed out the door for my lover to find
But my love was in another’s arms, never to be mine.

My love saw my tears and pain and said these words to me
You came into my dreams one night while I was fast asleep
And I wrote you a letter saying, “Open your heart to me”
But another came through my door and filled my longing need

I am bound to another by this band of gold I wear
How I wish you’d come to me while I was waiting there
But now my heart is lock away, I’m bound to this life
But it’s your sweet face I see each time I close my eyes at night

Lost true love and a broken heart taught to me that day
Love may not wait for fear and chains to fall away
A heart locked away may not hurt, but cannot love
And the sands of time will sweep a lover’s dream away like the ebbing tide


Wateree, 2001
Under the Winter Moon, 2004
Entertaining Angels, contributor, 2005
Oasis Acoustic Sampler, 2002, 2004

Set List

Sets range from 20-90 minutes. Typical set might include:
Original hammered dulcimer (HD) tunes: Under the Winter Moon, Garden Cafe
Carolan Tunes: (Planxty Irwin, Planxty Fanny Power, Blind Mary)
Swedish waltz: Josephin Dopvals
Fiddle tunes on HD: Whiskey Before Breakfast, Sandy Boys, Bill in the Low Ground
Appalachian ballads like Wagoners Lad, Lady Margaret, The Devil and the Farmers Wife.