Ken Kolodner,
Journey to the Heartland
(Maggie's Music, 2005)

Hang on to your hat! These dulcimer and fiddle tunes could make a confirmed couch potato jump up and dance. The old-time tunes enjoy a long history of musicians and communities having a good time together, playing music by ear, trading tunes and changing them a bit when it struck their fancy.

Ken Kolodner plays hammered dulcimer and fiddle along with guest musicians: Laura Risk and Elke Baker, fiddle; Robin Bullock, guitar and mandolin; and Paddy League, guitar. Together their renditions of toe-tapping Celtic and folk music are outstanding.

Most of the fiddle and dulcimer tunes on this CD crossed the Atlantic from Celtic lands and were played and adapted by people in the Appalachian Mountains. Kolodmer also plays tunes he found in Quebec and Cape Breton Island. Some airs are traditional and have no known history -- they were simply played, enjoyed and passed on for generations.

The title of the nearly hour-long CD is Journey to the Heartland, a tune Kolodner composed on his fiddle while waiting in an airport on a trip from Asheville, N.C. to Kansas City, Mo. A true performer, he keeps the tradition alive. The music refuses to die as it continues to disperse and take root all over the world.

These tunes could be an antidote to modern times where people wait in airports and drive in traffic jams. Delightful earthy qualities inherent in folk music recall simpler days when folks lived in communities close to nature and had good times. In some places, they still do.

by Barbara Spring
5 November 2005

Buy it from