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Fingerstyle guitar solos (with a couple of flatpicking tunes tossed in), most of them original. These pieces vary considerably in tone, tempo and mood, ranging from soft and pretty ("Drifting", "After the Harvest") to rapid-fire cascades of notes ("Ride, Gypsy Cowboy", "Grandma's Typewriter"). Inspired by the beauty of the New River Gorge in West Virginia, each of these different tunes is a fascinating musical statement that sets a distinct mood. Includes "After the Harvest", winner at the 2008 Kent State Folk Festival.

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The New River (actually one of the worlds oldest) and the deep gorge it flows through in West Virginia is an area that draws me back again and again. I've been rock climbing there for twenty years and the quality of the climbs at the New stacks up against anyplace else. Add in the world-class white water rapids and breath-taking scenery and you can see why it's one of my favorite places to be. This album is intended in part to be a musical tribute to the New in appreciation of great climbs, natural beauty, and beer around the fire with good friends.

New River Suite
1. White Water
2. Drifting
The names of these two songs pretty much describe what I was trying to capture. The New River has many moods, these are but two…

3. Ride, Gypsy Cowboy (2:38)
This song was originally entitled "Ballad of the Runaway Coal Train", a nod to the mining history of the New River area, but the image of a gypsy on horseback going hell for leather kept overriding the to speak.

4. After the Harvest (4:12)
This is the song that I played when I won the 2008 Kent State Folk Festival Talent Contest. It's an attempt to convey a feeling of autumn, my favorite season. Such a beautiful time of year, yet with a bittersweet center (if you listen for them, you may hear a few snowflakes…)

5. Red Haired Boy (3:03)
Aye, this is a fine old Irish fiddle tune, also known as "Little Beggarman". Sometimes I play these traditional songs solo, but I definitely heard the whole band on this one.

6. Song for Melody (4:13)
This is a love song to my wife, and that's all I'm going to tell you...

7. Grandma's Typewriter (2:18)
Those who remember the pre-word processor era will recognize where the name of this piece comes from. Too bad I don't get paid by notes-per-minute…

8. Midnight in the Gorge (3:46)
This atmospheric minor key piece tries to capture the feeling of the New River Gorge in the middle of the night. When the moon is down, it's one of the darkest and most peaceful places you can imagine (unless you're staying in one of the river rafter campgrounds in which case it's obligatory to work off the excess adrenalin by carrying on until dawn…)

9. 5.10 Jig (1:41)
5.10 is a rating for a rock climb, specifically the grade where traditionally protected routes start getting really hard for most folks. I felt like dancing a jig after I led my first one (The Entertainer, Junkyard Wall).

10. Flow My Tears (3:02)
My daughter Lindsay sang this lovely Renaissance song for her senior college recital and I was bustin' my buttons when she asked me to accompany her on nylon string guitar. Here I played the melody on steel-string over that accompaniment.

11. Sarah and Lindsay and the Snail Stampede (3:43)
When my daughters were young, I used to make up stories for them at bedtime. The one about a Snail Stampede was a favorite, and although the tale itself is long forgotten, the slow stately character of this piece reminded me of the story and of those days.

12. Aliens Came and Took the Cow (She's With Elvis Now) (1:41)
This one came from an experiment in playing with the nail side of my index finger for a different sound. It combines a faux modal fiddle tune with a spacey ending, and also the delicious irony of being the shortest song on the album with the longest title.

13. Fare Thee Well, Five Dollar Frank (3:12)
"Flying Frank Thomas" used to fly tourists on short flights over the New River Gorge in an old Cessna 172 for five dollars each. Thomas was a real character and played sometimes scary jokes on his passengers but always brought them back safely. "Five Dollar Frank" kept on flying nearly up until he passed away on March 23, 2001 at the age of 80. I hope I can keep on playing that long…

This album is dedicated to the memory of my father, Kenneth Kean (1926-2009), who loved music and who was also an aviator. Dad, meet Frank…

All guitars played by Kerry Kean. All songs written by Kerry Kean except Red Haired Boy (Public Domain) and Flow My Tears (John Dowland, Public Domain). Recorded by Jay Bentoff at Dark Tree Studios in Cleveland, mastered by Jay Bentoff, produced by Kerry Kean. Cover and insert photo by John Gregel, back photo by Doug Garmon. Cover design by Kerry Kean. © 2009 Kerry Kean

© 2009 Kerry Kean All Rights Reserved

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