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This is the opening track to Back to Laurel Hill, Pennsylvania and West Virginia Folk Songs from the Bayard Collection: Volume 1

Passion, skill, and the resonant, next-of-kin matching of voices, in lovingly crafted arrangements, brings traditional Appalachian music of Pennsylvania and northwestern West Virginia to life with authenticity and originality in perfect balance.

Expressive vocals with resonant, next-of-kin harmonies interweave with sprightly dance tunes, as Dearest Home recreates traditional American folk music. Their songs are skillfully backed by banjo, concertina, dulcimer, fiddle, whistles, guitar, and bass, or performed with evocative, unaccompanied energy. In their new album Back to Laurel Hill, they bring to life Appalachian songs collected from a musically oft-neglected but rich region: Southwestern Pennsylvania and Northwestern West Virginia. Most of the material lay unsung in archives, until Dearest Home brought it to back to life with authenticity and originality in perfect harmony. In their arrangements you can hear the unfolding of the landscape, with its mountains, valleys, waterways, and farm fields, as the past and future walk together.

Samuel Preston Bayard, 1908–1997, was an internationally acclaimed folklorist. He collected songs, ballads, spirituals, and fiddle and fife tunes, 1928–1963, mostly from southwestern Pennsylvania and northwestern West Virginia, in Northern and North Central Appalachia. Although he published two volumes of tunes, Hill Country Tunes, and Dance to the Fiddle, March to the Fife, he died before the Samuel Bayard Folk Song Collection, comprising over 500 separate songs, could be brought to publication. Professor Bayard, who was born in Pittsburgh, and who had family ties to Greene and Westmoreland Counties, taught at the Pennsylvania State University, Centre County, 1945–1973. This album includes only a few of the songs, ballads, and spirituals that Beth Folkemer continues to research through the Penn State libraries and beyond. Dearest Home plans additional albums from the Bayard Collection, songbooks, and more.

Dearest Home performs other great American folk music, including band favorites from Jean Ritchie and the Carter Family. And don't be surprised if they add a related piece from Scotland, Ireland, or England. Don’t miss their shows presenting historically authentic music from the US Civil War era (in period costume). You can hear a sampler of the band’s Civil War era music on their debut, self-titled album. Passion for all these traditions shines in every note! They delight in playing for dances too! And they enthusiastically present a wide range of workshops; participants appreciate their open, supportive style and meticulous research. Please visit their website at www.dearesthome.com for more details.