Ted Yoder - National Hammer Dulcimer Champion
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Ted Yoder - National Hammer Dulcimer Champion

Goshen, Indiana, United States

Goshen, Indiana, United States
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Artist: Ted Yoder
Album: Comfort and Joy
Review by Matthew Warnock
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)


Growing up in a musical family in Indiana has sure helped to ingrain a deep sense of melody and musicianship in hammered dulcimer performer Ted Yoder. Receiving his first dulcimer as a wedding gift only 13 years ago, the talented musician has since grown to become the 2010 National Hammer Dulcimer Champion and his new release Comfort and Joy showcases the many reasons why Yoder has risen to the top of the dulcimer world in such a short time.

When most people think of the hammered dulcimer, the sounds of folk music dance through their heads, but Yoder takes the instrument in a unique and highly entertaining direction with his quasi-new age leanings and interesting use of reverb during the recording. Normally, anyone who has won a national music competition will have done so based on their sheer virtuosity, technicality and facility with their instruments, but while Yoder does possess great technique, it is his musicianship that soaks every track, bringing a level of emotion to each piece that makes an instant connection to the listener. Though he has the chops to tear through a piece of difficult music, his choices in texture and dynamics reflect the high level of musical maturity that Yoder possesses, something that fans of the instrument and Christmas music can thoroughly enjoy.

The album’s 10 tracks represent a wide swath of the standard Christmas repertoire, with a few surprises thrown in to keep things interesting. Each of these classic songs is given a new and creative arrangement, helping to differentiate this album, besides being played on a hammered dulcimer, from all of the other Christmas records on the market. Songs such as “Little Drummer Boy,” with its layers of notes and clever use of muting, brings a smile to one’s face while at the same time leave listener’s in awe of Yoder’s masterful performance. His use of rhythmic accents and note groupings is highly engaging, bringing to light yet another aspect of Yoder’s musical landscape.

As well, everyone’s favorite gothic sounding Christmas song “Carol of the Bells” is included in this collection and it is one of the album’s standout tracks. Integrating synthesizer, auxillary percussion and drum set, Yoder’s arrangement retains all of the classic elements of the original composition that have made it a holiday classic, while his personality is allowed to seep through, resulting in an arrangement that has the potential to become one of the best-known recordings of the Carol. Other tracks such as “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “We Three Kings,” jump to life with the instrument possessing a tone that one would expect from a piano, not an instrument as small as the hammered dulcimer. The variety of tones and timbres that Yoder is able to draw out of the dulcimer is one of the album’s strongest points, driving his music into exciting territory and avoiding any aural burnout that a listener might have.

Comfort and Joy is a solid effort by Yoder from both a performing and arranging standpoint. His high level of musicianship and creativity have brought new life to these oft-played, and sometimes over played Christmas classics. As well, the album acts as the perfect introduction to the hammered dulcimer, an instrument that sometimes doesn’t receive the credit it deserves from the musical community, and one that possesses a wider range of timbres and tones than most would have guessed. While most holiday albums receive airplay but once a year, with such a strong performance listeners might just find themselves popping this record into their CD players year round.


Review by Matthew Warnock
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)


- ReviewYou.com


Artist: Ted Yoder
Album: Comfort and Joy
Review by Matthew Warnock
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)


Growing up in a musical family in Indiana has sure helped to ingrain a deep sense of melody and musicianship in hammered dulcimer performer Ted Yoder. Receiving his first dulcimer as a wedding gift only 13 years ago, the talented musician has since grown to become the 2010 National Hammer Dulcimer Champion and his new release Comfort and Joy showcases the many reasons why Yoder has risen to the top of the dulcimer world in such a short time.

When most people think of the hammered dulcimer, the sounds of folk music dance through their heads, but Yoder takes the instrument in a unique and highly entertaining direction with his quasi-new age leanings and interesting use of reverb during the recording. Normally, anyone who has won a national music competition will have done so based on their sheer virtuosity, technicality and facility with their instruments, but while Yoder does possess great technique, it is his musicianship that soaks every track, bringing a level of emotion to each piece that makes an instant connection to the listener. Though he has the chops to tear through a piece of difficult music, his choices in texture and dynamics reflect the high level of musical maturity that Yoder possesses, something that fans of the instrument and Christmas music can thoroughly enjoy.

The album’s 10 tracks represent a wide swath of the standard Christmas repertoire, with a few surprises thrown in to keep things interesting. Each of these classic songs is given a new and creative arrangement, helping to differentiate this album, besides being played on a hammered dulcimer, from all of the other Christmas records on the market. Songs such as “Little Drummer Boy,” with its layers of notes and clever use of muting, brings a smile to one’s face while at the same time leave listener’s in awe of Yoder’s masterful performance. His use of rhythmic accents and note groupings is highly engaging, bringing to light yet another aspect of Yoder’s musical landscape.

As well, everyone’s favorite gothic sounding Christmas song “Carol of the Bells” is included in this collection and it is one of the album’s standout tracks. Integrating synthesizer, auxillary percussion and drum set, Yoder’s arrangement retains all of the classic elements of the original composition that have made it a holiday classic, while his personality is allowed to seep through, resulting in an arrangement that has the potential to become one of the best-known recordings of the Carol. Other tracks such as “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “We Three Kings,” jump to life with the instrument possessing a tone that one would expect from a piano, not an instrument as small as the hammered dulcimer. The variety of tones and timbres that Yoder is able to draw out of the dulcimer is one of the album’s strongest points, driving his music into exciting territory and avoiding any aural burnout that a listener might have.

Comfort and Joy is a solid effort by Yoder from both a performing and arranging standpoint. His high level of musicianship and creativity have brought new life to these oft-played, and sometimes over played Christmas classics. As well, the album acts as the perfect introduction to the hammered dulcimer, an instrument that sometimes doesn’t receive the credit it deserves from the musical community, and one that possesses a wider range of timbres and tones than most would have guessed. While most holiday albums receive airplay but once a year, with such a strong performance listeners might just find themselves popping this record into their CD players year round.


Review by Matthew Warnock
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)


- ReviewYou.com


Discography

"Hymns" released July 17, 2009
"Songs From Walnut Valley" September 2010
"Comfort and Joy" December 2010
"Chocolate Skies" October 2012

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Bio

Instrumentation:??

Ted Yoder- hammered dulcimer and vocals??

Biography:??Ted Yoder plays hammered dulcimer.??

You've heard of the hammered dulcimer before – mountain music, renaissance fairs, that Christmas CD you picked up in a gift shop in Tennessee. ??

That's not Ted.??

Life-long Indiana native Ted grew up in a musically inclined family, like a lot of musicians. His whole life has been filled with writing, performing, recording, experimenting with new instruments... But it wasn't until Ted received his first hammered dulcimer as a wedding gift that Ted knew he'd found his niche. Ted knew there was great potential here as he began mastering and experimenting with this eclectic and intriguing instrument. ??

Drawing on his pop and rock-n-roll roots, Ted was able to create something never heard before: a dulcimer that doesn't sound like a dulcimer “should.” With master skill, Ted plays his dulcimer almost like a piano, unafraid to tackle complex rhythms and unusual harmonics. The result is a sound that makes the trained listener say, “How many hands does this guy have?”??

Ted's musicianship, creativity and ability to put a fresh face on dulcimer music led him to the title of 2010 National Hammer Dulcimer Champion at the Walnut Valley Festival. ??

Capturing the Championship title, Ted decided it was time to go professional. Since then, he has released three CD's: ?
- “Songs From Walnut Valley,” a compendium of original songs (plus one Bach number) that he played in competition to earn his title. This album really shows off Ted's ability as a songwriter. “Storm” and “Moon On the Water,” in particular reveal Ted's rock and roll roots.?
- “Comfort and Joy,” a Christmas album featuring Ted's unique interpretations of traditional Christmas numbers. Despite Ted being an untried artist, this album gained international airplay.??
- "Chocolate Skies," which features pristine acoustic hammered dulcimer. Includes Eleanor Rigby, The Water Is Wide and The Rainbow Connection along with Ted's original compositions. Ted released this album in September 2012.

Ted has played at:

• Blue Gate Theater • Gaither Fall Festival • IN State Fair • Walnut Valley Festival • Gebhard Woods Dulcimer Festival
• Winter Creek Reunion • Red Barn Radio • Blue Plate Special • Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour • Charley Creek Arts Festival
• ODPC Dulcimer Festival • National Bible Bee • performed for CCM veterans Bill and Gloria Gaither Kentucky Music Week

Discography:??

September 2012- Chocolate Skies
December 2010- Comfort and Joy?
September 2010- Songs From Walnut Valley?
July 2009- Hymns?

For booking information call Ted directly at 331-575-8376 or email him at ted@tedyoder.com