As the duet Little Windows, Mark and Julee Glaub Weems create a mesmerizing, eclectic and acoustic blend of traditional Irish, Scottish, Appalachian, Country, Sacred, and Original Song. Instrumentation includes guitar, fiddle, banjo, flute, piano, mountain dulcimer, and bodhrán (Irish drum). They perform together nationally and abroad and teach traditional singing and playing at music camps all over the country. Their music has been featured recently on the NPR’s programs Thistle and Shamrock and The State of Things as well as in the soundtrack of Todd Johnson’s new HarperCollins audio-novel “The Sweet By and By”. In 2009, they created the North Carolina School of Traditional Music, an organization dedicated to the local dissemination of traditional music. In addition to hosting their own annual Camp Little Windows singing camp, Julee and Mark also coordinate Traditional Song Week at the Swannanoa Gathering in the mountains of North Carolina.
Mark Weems hails from North Carolina and plays guitar, banjo, fiddle, and piano, but is best known as a singer and composer. He has been studying the nuances of all types of country music, from mountain ballads and traditional string-band music to honky-tonk songs for over twenty years as a veteran of The Stillhouse Bottom Band, Little Windows, and his honky-tonk band - the Cave Dwellers. Sing Out! Magazine recently called him “an exceptionally talented interpreter of old-time vocal and instrumental tunes” and “a gifted composer of timeless music.” myspace.com/markweemsandthecavedwellers
In August of 2008, Mark’s father, Kelly, went up to his tractor shed on top of Buck Mountain in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Underneath the shed were two dogs, cold, wet, and hungry. One new mother and one young pup, they had evidently been surviving on their own for a while. Mark’s dad brought them home, dried them off, fed them, and put them near the fireplace.
Kelly noticed that the mother’s ear had been clipped, a probable sign that the dog, a dachshund, had been quite literally “earmarked” as a warm up fighter for larger dogs in one of the clandestine dog fights that still secretly occur in the area. Their story remains unknown, perhaps the owner discovered that momma dog was having an unwanted puppy and ditched them somewhere, or maybe she ran off from an abusive situation. Mark’s parents kept the mother and gave the pup to Mark and Julee who had fallen in love with him instantly.
Jesse is a handsome Mountain Feist - Dachshund mix. We were concerned at first that having lived in the wild, he would have some major behavioral issues. And although he did require a short period of socialization with other people and dogs, Jesse has turned out to be the best behaved, personality-filled dog either of us has ever had! Being only 16 pounds, he even travels with us on our tours, hanging out in green rooms in theatres, side rooms in churches or on our laps during house concerts, he has become an essential part of our traveling fun. Sometimes he likes to howl when Mark yodels during a song!
When we are home, we take him most days to the Eno River State Park where he engages in mostly unsuccessful squirrel, turtle and deer hunting. He loves to climb on fallen trees, logs in the river, and large rocks. He also prides himself on his relationships with all his doggy friends in the neighborhood whom he likes to visit daily.
It was the love we had in watching our dog enjoy the simple pleasures of life that gave birth to the first of the dog songs – Pee-Pee Time. We also noticed how most of the friendships we’d formed in our neighborhood had begun during the daily experience of “pee-pee time” with our dog. When we decided to make the video, we just knew it had to include all of our actual human and dog neighbors! In an age where everyone complains about not having avenues for meeting new people, we have a solution - don’t just let your dogs out in the fenced yard. Take them out into the neighborhood. It really does make “neighborhoods more friendly”!
– Mark, Julee, and Jesse