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Dearest Home: authenticity and originality in perfect harmony

Expressive vocals with rich, next-of-kin harmonies interweave with sprightly dance tunes, as Dearest Home recreates traditional American music—Appalachian music, especially from the Samuel Bayard Folk Song Collection (PA and WV), and historically authentic US Civil War era music (in period costume). They sing other great American folk songs, including favorites from Jean Ritchie and the Carter Family! Don’t be surprised when they share a related tune from Scotland, Ireland, or England. Passion for these traditions shines in every note! They present a wide array of workshops, and they delight in playing for dances!

Like the band itself, Dearest Home’s music unites the generations! It’s presented in skillful combinations of banjo, concertina, dulcimer, fiddle, whistles, guitar, bass, keyboards, percussion, and flugelhorn, or with evocative, unaccompanied energy.

Dearest Home performed at the Warwick Folk Festival, England, and the Marymass Festival and Edinburgh’s Wee Folk Club, Scotland, in 2015. Dearest Home’s music is featured in an installation of the internationally acclaimed Seminary Ridge Museum (Civil War, “Faith and Freedom”). Since their 2011 debut, Dearest Home has played for venues including the Grand Opening of the Seminary Ridge Museum, Appalachian Studies Association Conference, Greenwood Furnace Folk Gathering, Common Ground on Seminary Ridge, Heart of the Arts Festival, Penn State University, Music Gettysburg!, Waterford Fair, St. Michael’s Soiree, Civil War Symposium, the Midtown Scholar, Hauser Estate Winery, Songs and Stories of a Civil War Hospital, Gettysburg College Library, and many other concert series and history-related events in MD, NY, PA and VA.

Dearest Home released Songs from Laurel Hill, six tracks from the Samuel Bayard Folksong Collection, in March 2015. Back to Laurel Hill, their first full volume of treasures from this collection, will be released in October 2015. The band’s CD, Dearest Home, featuring authentic Civil War era music and three tracks of Pennsylvania traditional folk songs, was released on June 30, 2013. Folk Alliance Triple Crown Winner Si Kahn describes the album:

  • If ‘home is where the heart is,’ then the singers and musicians who together make up Dearest Home have clearly poured their hearts into their new self-titled album. Deeply steeped in the traditional music of Pennsylvania, my own home state, they have chosen wisely from their wide repertoire of Civil War songs, Appalachian ballads and fiddle tunes. Singing with passion, skill and the resonant matching of voices that seems born in the blood of next-of-kin, Dearest Home presents us with close harmony in many senses of the phrase, on stage and on CD. In their voices, you can hear the peaks and valleys of the landscape, feel the past and future marching together, and sense the shadows of the mountains.

An EP of other Appalachian music is scheduled for a 2015 release.

Dearest Home is:

  • <b style="font-size: 14px;">Margaret Folkemer</b> - lead and backing vocals, penny whistle, low whistle
  • <b style="font-size: 14px;">Beth Folkemer</b> - lead and backing vocals, guitar, mountain dulcimer
  • <b style="font-size: 14px;">Stephen Folkemer</b> - lead and backing vocals, concertina, keyboards
  • <b style="font-size: 14px;">Chuck Krepley</b> - lead and backing vocals, fiddle, banjo, minstrel banjo
  • <b style="font-size: 14px;">Chris Barnabei</b> - acoustic bass
  • Charles Thompson (Civil War era repertoire only) - lead and backing vocals, flugelhorn, percussion

Guests performers on Back to Laurel Hill :

  • <b style="font-size: 14px;">Joel Folkemer</b> - lead vocals
  • <b style="font-size: 14px;">Nathan Folkemer</b> - lead and backing vocals, low whistle