We created this CD to fill a need in the English Country Dance community for recordings with the right tempos and repeat structures to actually perform the original dances to. At the same time, we wanted to make an early music CD that was listenable without sounding stuffy, boring, or amateurish. Shepheards Holyday is the culmination of that effort.
All of the tunes in this CD come from The English Dancing Master, published by John Playford in 1651. We kept to all acoustic and mostly traditional instruments for this recording, and I would say our interpretations are about 90% traditional, though you may occasionally notice a crunchy accompaniment or a jazzy bass riff that keeps it from sounding too academic.
This recording is primarily the work of Kelly Bowen-McCombs on Lyra da Braccio (an Italian renaissance violin/viola favored by Leonardo DaVinci), Nyckelharpa (a Swedish keyed fiddle), and Hammered Dulcimer, and Leith McCombs on guitar, lute, cittern, bass, flute, whistle, recorders, krumhorns, and mandolin. Our vocalist Britta Jean Duval-Hemmen sang lead on the three vocal tracks. Our sound engineer, Steve Berry, laid some wicked snare drums, and Leith’s brother Nick added a new dimension to many of the pieces with his bass lines. Leith and Kelly took turns with hand percussion.