New England's special music now belongs to America. What was once a curiosity is now a national phenomenon. The Roots from New England influenced the Branches across the country and beyond. Great Meadow Music with assistance of the Country Dance and Song Society, has released the CD Contra Roots and Branches described below. This section includes the CDs from which cuts from the Roots CD have been selected.
This CD features the best bands from across North America playing New England-style Contra music. We have cherry picked the best cuts from the best CDs of the best bands!
David Millstone, whom many of you know for his wonderful calling, wrote the liner notes for Contra Roots and Branches, 2004.
Total Time 74 minutes
CD - $25
Five very fine musicians celebrate
twenty years of playing together. The music is highly arranged,
professionally played and absolutely beautiful. They have chosen
such lovely tunes. Over time I have noticed that this is the
CD I play the most.
Ron Grosslein, David Cantieni, George Marshall, Tim Van Egmond, Timm Triplett, 1999
Total Time 62:49
Quebecois dance music is driving,
fast and tons of fun. It's fun to
dance to, but it's equally as much fun to listen to. You can't keep
your feet from tapping and you definitely won't be gloomy when you listen to it. This is a fiddle based tradition and Richard Forest is a great fiddler. If you also love the accordion , you are in for a big treat as Sabin Jacques plays fabulous diatonic accordion. On this recording Domino plays fifteen original compositions for Quebecois dance and American contra dances. Highly recommended!
Sabin Jacques, Richard Forest, Rejean Brunet, Luc Laroche, 1998
Total Time 59:30
George Wilson has long been a fixture on the Albany contra scene playing contra music with driving interpretations of Cape Breton, Scandinavian, Scottish and Quebeccois tunes. Becky Ashenden and Selma Kaplin provide the necessary driving piano back up.
George Wilson, Becky Ashenden, Chuck Corman, Selma Kaplan, Bill Spence
Total Time 67:12
This trio has been a fixture of the Philadelphia dance scene for a number of years, and their solid driving style is classic New England Contra.
Barbara Greenberg, Bob Pasquarello and Bob Stein
A spirited collection of jigs, reels and waltzes in the New England style performed by a Kentucky band! Al and Alice White on Fiddle and bass are the core of the group, but Dave Witherspoon on flute and Charlie Pilzer on piano provide theatrics that have to be heard to be believed. Over half of the cuts are dance length. An exciting CD for dances where you are using recorded music.
Al White, Alice White, David Witherspoon, Charlie Pilzer - 2000
Total Time 58:22
Contra dancers in North Carolina come to a FootLoose dance expecting high energy music and a healthy dose of zanniness. Their arrangements leave lots of room for improvisation and they love to surprise. Although they play music in the New England tradition, they draw on their backgrounds in old time, jazz and classical music, as well as other styles from around the world.
Ted Ehrhard, David DiGiuseppe, Dean Herington and Peter Campbell plus special guests Jim Roberts and Joe Newberry
All you can say about Grand Picnic's music is "joyful". These guys have fun and they showed us how at the 2007 Fall Ball in Peterborough, NH. Complete with tubas and whistles, these guys play great Contra music. CD originally released in 1992, but still fun as a country picnic. Nuff said!
Michael Gorin, Sam Zygmuntowicz, Jody Kruskal, Marco Brehm, Bill Peck, with guests Danny Elias and Karen Geer
From Minnesota and New Hampshire, these guys play solid New England dance music and are lively, uplifting and a ton of fun. Dan Newton's accordion leads the charge.
Eric Mohring, Dan Newton, Larry Siegel 1999
Total Time 24:38
Hillbillies from Mars are exciting
and fun. Their music is always
mischievous and progressive, but never contrived. Their range is large - traditional Quebec reels, Irish tunes, Southern tunes, and new tunes are all given the Hillbillies touch. This is superb contra dance music and it's superb listening music too. Now a collectors item! visit their website!
Kevin Carr, Paul Kotapish, Ray Bierl, Daniel Steinberg, 1993
This is the crazy bunch from Seattle who has become the Wild Asparagus of the West Coast. These great musicians have stirred up dances and dance camps around the country with exciting arrangements and great musical talent.
Total Time 63:59
Julie King, Claude Ginsburg, Dave Bartley
Playing for the "sheer fun of it" Susan Songer, George Penk and Clyde Curley present a selection of tunes from The Portland Collection. Susan and Clyde put together the Portland Collection of tunes in 1997. Due to many requests to actually hear the tunes as they are played in Portland Oregon, this CD was born. A diverse selection is featured, mirroring the pot-pourri of music in the Portland dance community. Their excellent musicianship and great enthusiasm for the music is displayed for our enjoyment.
George Penk, Susan Songer, Clyde Curley, Creighton Lindsay
Total Time 62:58
See Companion Book
Here are four talented musicians from the Great Plains. Both Minnesota and Iowa claim them. Cut four with Aly On the Plains and Just 4 Guys is Betty Ann's favorite.
Pat O'Loughlin, John Goodin, Patrice Pakiz, Erik Sessions
Total Time 47:47