Our Latest, “A Bell A Bird A Star”

…a collection of songs for the Christmas season.  It is very much a listening experience, filled with beautiful songs not often heard except by choral ensembles.  But here, the songs are arranged for two voices, guitar, and dulcimer, and feature the intricate harmonies and arrangements for which the duo is known.

The CD begins with Carol Van Alstine’s original, “A Bell A Bird A Star, which she wrote for the project.  But when she opened it, she was gifted with another song, “My Mother Gave the World to Me,” the closing track.  Three original instrumentals, composed by Willie Jaeger, grace the collection: “Winterlude,” “Dancing Foxes Drifting Snow,” and “Nighthawks Grace the Frozen Moon.”

The heart of the CD consists of songs by 20th-century composers, traditional carols in several languages, and two Latin pieces.  Three songs based on medieval texts grace the recording: Gustav Holst’s “Lullay My Liking,” Boris Ord’s “Adam Lay Ybounden,” and Benjamin Britten’s “Balulalow.”  “Personent Hodie” and “Gaudete,” from the 1582 songbook Piae Cantiones, also have medieval origins.  Sydney Carter’s “Every Star Shall Sing a Carol” is a 20th-century song for the earth and the cosmos.  And there are many carols from around the world: the Spanish lullaby “A La Nanita Nana”; the beautiful French carol “Quelle Est Cette Odeur Agreable”; the Russian “Carol of the Russian Children”; the traditional Appalachian “The World Is Old”; and English favorites “The Holly and The Ivy,” “Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day,” and “Gloucestershire Wassail.”

Come take a listen.



Power Lines, 2010

Powerlines CD


Recorded at world-class studio Colorado Sound and produced by Steve Avedis, Carol Van Alstine, and Willie Jaeger, “Power Lines” features the duo’s compelling original songs as well as their unique take on songs from favorite songwriters, such as Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” and Stephen Sondheim’s “Send In the Clowns.”  Although some songs have added bass, drums and/or percussion, the emphasis is on Willie and Carol’s two voices and the interplay of the guitar and dulcimer.  Willie‘s dulcimer takes center stage as rhythm, color, and lead instrument, plus he introduces his new electric dulcimer on several songs.  Victory Music Review finds “an amazing level of melodic richness and complex songwriting” throughout the album, the songs “musical and lyrical tapestries that can be surprisingly deep and poetic.”



Under Shattered Skies, 1995


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Recorded at Colorado Sound and produced by Scott Bennett, with assistance from Carol Van Alstine and Willie Jaeger, “Under Shattered Skies” features a mix of originals, songs by Bruce Springsteen and Mark Knopfler, and some contemporary Americana. With Bennett adding a whole new “dementia” to their proceedings, and his fearless guitar-playing and third harmony vocal, Willie and Carol take their music in a new direction. Guest musicians include Harry Bruckner, Carla Sciaky, and Ed Contreras; instrumentation includes viola da gamba and Slinky. Dirty Linen hailed the album’s “great harmony vocals,” “compelling dulcimer playing,” and “intelligent and thoughtful” lyrics, and Victory Review proclaimed it “a rich aural feast.”


Happenstance, 2003

happenstance cd

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Recorded at Colorado Sound and produced by Scott Bennett, with assistance from Carol Van Alstine and Willie Jaeger, “Happenstance” features the band’s poetic originals as well as some surprising covers, such as “Hush” by Deep Purple and a British Invasion medley of three songs sung simultaneously. A new direction yet, with a more contemporary feel, with songs such as Soul Asylum’s “Runaway Train,” and Tom Petty’s “Refugee.” Plus, more of Scott Bennett’s fearless guitar-playing, on many different types of guitars, and harmony vocals.



Crazy Like The Wind, 1987

crazy like the wind album cover

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Vinyl; Digitally remastered CD, 2012

Originally recorded at FastTrack Recording Studio in Denver, and digitally remastered at Colorado Sound, Willie and Carol’s first recording features several of their original songs as well as covers by songwriters such as Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Townes Van Zandt, and Herb Pedersen. Dulcimer and guitar are the primary instruments, with added bass and percussion, and a third harmony vocal, on several tracks. The album has an Americana/Western feel.