treVeld - Bohemian Flats - Just A Simple Melody

by Billy Sheppard


Oh Shenandoah (Traditional)

Oh, Shenandoah, I long to hear you,
Away, you rolling river
Oh, Shenandoah, I long to hear you
Away, I'm bound away, cross the wide Missouri.

Oh, Shenandoah, I love your daughter,
Away, you rolling river
Oh, Shenandoah, I love your daughter
Away, I'm bound away, cross the wide Missouri.

Oh, Shenandoah, I'm bound to leave you,
Away, you rolling river
Oh, Shenandoah, I'm bound to leave you
Away, I'm bound away, cross the wide Missouri.

Oh, Shenandoah, I long to see you,
Away, you rolling river
Oh, Shenandoah, I long to see you
Away, I'm bound away, cross the wide Missouri.

"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music." ~  Aldous Huxley

If you had to take one piece of music to a desert island, what would you choose?  You'll be alone.  Will it be the fastest and loudest, or the biggest and boldest?  If I had one piece of music to take it might be "Shenandoah."  I don't know what it means.  So far as anyone knows, somebody wrote it, it didn't get written down, and it was changed over time until it became what it is.  It's the song nobody wrote, and everybody.  Maybe your great grandmother improved it and sang it out and on down the road.  Somewhere along the way, everybody got it right.  Nobody stood to gain.  One day somebody wrote it down and it stopped changing.  What I like about this group treVeld is why I like Shenandoah.  Wasn't any reason to make this record somebody didn't love that music.  Sounds to me like everybody wrote these songs.  Everybody and Django Reinhart.  There's a whole lotta' Shenandoah on this record.

"Your music is rich and delicious." ~ Mary

When I hear this record, with its fiddle, guitar and banjo, I hear something might be played in an old town before electricity.  I'm not impressed really, just want to hear it again.  Just a bunch of instrumentals really.  Not that hard to play.  But so easy to feel that I don't miss anything but what I don't know how to name.  What the hell is Shenandoah?  I don't have a clue.  Sure do miss it though.  Feels like a place where nobody is a songwriter, but people just "made it up."  

“Oh what a delight to my ears and soul!" ~ Randa

This is the kind of music regular folk write emails about.  Some reason, tend to write about it like a good meal.  One writer calls it a "27 course meal."  When I listen to it I wonder if I could play along.  It's simple music mostly.  But there's more than just notes here.  Anybody could probably play these notes.  Not everybody could make music out of it.  There is something holy about the melody played this way.  Guess the notes wouldn't be enough.  The song here is an absolute gift.

"Bohemian Flats, a CD by my people!" ~ Bob

Do fans matter more than the words of a critic?  Hell, yes!  Always!  I asked for some information about the band, and the words of the fans were included.  If music makes you feel, it heals you.  This is music the neighbors like to hear, and probably would invite you to dinner to play.  Sure there's a source:  Gypsy, Swing, Old Time, Celtic, Bluegrass, Blues, Chamber and Nordic Roots.  Best part, it never sounds like some smart guy exercise.  And that simple tune, ain't ever easy to play.  They say they got together one day at a festival where Old Timey music was being played.  Maybe so.  Takes a touch of genius. 

1. SQUARE NOT has that Django Reinhart thing strumming away at the guitar.  There's a little country fiddle theme doubled on the six string.  There's a little jazz in the theme, but not enough to drive away the simple.  Like that Cub Scout tie, it holds together without being complicated.  

2. GOLDFINCH sure does have a little birdsong in it.  That guitar keeps the rhythm but sounds like a tabla in the background.  Sweet!  There's a string bass playing sweet and perfect back there somewhere.  Olivier Messiaen would be proud.  Birds sing great.

3. SCROLL IN THE WOODS takes a somber tone, but I truly hear that I never saw and miss so very much in every note.  Whether this is a scroll guitar or missive from the ancients, it's simple enough to be believed note for note.  That bowed bass ain't lying one bit.  Whatever this means, I believe it.

4. NEW TOWN has a banjo simple as a word from Mom at the center.  The fiddle takes my heart as it has done tune for tune.  There's a clock in this song ticking progress right along.  A place with no history.  Yet.

5. VERSE ONE takes a turn for the metaphysical.  More glissando here and a maybe a hint of a waltz in the march of the story.  I'm not adverse to this story.  Maybe we're still finding our way, but there's a dark sense of what we are leaving.  Damn straight, there's something better up ahead.

6. ROLLIN OUT THE SNAKESKIN takes a bohemian turn toward Django and Stephan.   No doubt we're checkin' out the wares here.  There's a little dazzle and maybe a little snake oil oversell.  Probably cure something.  What the heck?

7. THIS AND THAT is Django and Stephan straight to the core, with a little running bass to set the thing going.  It's all underplayed, but full of humor and grace.  Every little instrumental comment seems to come out of a little barroom experience.

8. BILL'S DITTY heads back to the street corner on an unpainted porch somewhere in the Old West.  This is a band that could play Turkey in the Straw on request, but has another tale to tell this time out.  Play it boys!  A mode or two in the middle might make you wonder, but there's a progression to the sophisticated strum of a city stroll in a proud town to put the country in its place.  

9. MORAIN makes me long for a snow capped mountain somewhere I ain't never seen.  That simple banjo makes it all seem real enough if my memory doesn't serve.  I must have been there, or I wouldn't care so much.  I do long for that place.  How can it be I've never been there?  Musta' just forgot.

10. STONES takes to the riverbed where the Ol' Man rolls, but that's mainly downstream of this song.  The effect of time is evident in the smooth flow of this melody.  Very smooth.

11. RED SEA moves along, and is still unmoved.  It tells a story that will outlast us all.  There is a bowed bass that knows about things too deep for us to see from the surface.  Things go on here, we have to call them other.  Been around before us, and will continue after ;we have gone.  

12. LULLABY doesn't lie about things the way they are.  This is a simple truth that John Abercrombie explored some time ago in his sweetest album "Memphis."  Try to resist this song, if you are into that.  I don't.  It gets right in with all those sweet harmonics and the sweetness of Momma singing that it's time to stop thinking and let things be.

13. SQUARE NOT REPRISE takes you back to the beginning, without the slick of the edited recording.  "We're just doing our best" I seem to hear.  But mostly this is a tiny tag on the first tune botched with good humor.  Whoops!  Guess that not wasn't so square after all.


treVeld is:

Bill Plattes:  violin & mandolin, composition and arrangement

Dustin Smith:  guitars, composition and arrangement

Philip Rampi:  bass, octave mandolin, fretless banjo, udu, assorted percussion, dobro, composition and arrangement

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