Welcome to my audio page!

These are some of my favorite tracks from various albums and their stories:
These are some of my favorite tracks from various albums and their stories:

Reel 2

04:27
Nora Garver with Belles on Strings
September 2015
Jeremy Kittel

Story

I was attending the Swannanoa Gathering the summer of 2014 and taking an advanced Scottish fiddle class with Jeremy Kittel (who is, by the way, a fabulous teacher!).  Jeremy is one of the hottest young fiddlers out there, mastering many styles including classical, and jazz, but I remember him from his early days when he was handily winning National Scottish Fiddle Championships.  He taught our class this tune that he had just written.  It had both a Celtic and a jazz feel and I loved it.  I caught him after class and asked for his permission to record the tune.  He said yes and I took it back to Belles on Strings to arrange for harp, cello and fiddle.  My band mates did an excellent job of capturing the energetic and jazzy feel of Reel 2.  Here is a clip of the track which plays the fast part of Reel 2 (track 13 on "Out of the Wood").  If you listen to the whole track you will hear the first part of the track where we play it slowly and lyrically.  Then we kick it up into the rhythmic, faster version with percussion that you hear in this clip. Thank you Jeremy for this fabulous tune!

Nora Garver with Gaelwynd

Story

This is a driving Scottish reel that is part of a set on track nine of Gaelwynd's first cd, "Out on the Ocean".  It is just the type of low, growly reel that I like to play (see also "Growling Old Man and Woman" at the end of the "Put Me in a Box" set below).  I learned this reel as a member of the Potomac Valley Scottish Fiddle Club.  You can hear Bill Smith on percussion, Caite McKinney playing long notes on the whistle, and Fred McKinney performing a stellar guitar accompaniment.

Nora Garver with Immigrant's Daughter

Story

This Irish air was taught to me by Killian Robinson, a fine whistle and pipe player from Dublin.  The first time I heard him play it the haunting melody spoke to me.  This tune appears on "Over the Whistle and Through the Strings" by Immigrant's Daughter. It was recorded in an hour at the very end of all our recording. I hadn't intended to put it on the CD, but as an afterthought I asked Robert Kirk, our recording engineer, if he had an organ in his studio.  He did!  He taped down two keys to create a continuous drone.  I played Lagan Love with the drone in the background and it sounded very mysterious.  Ann Borden, just kidding around, started making spooky wind noises.  I thought it sounded so realistic that I asked her to record them.  Also, if you listen closely, you can hear something in the background of the recording that sounds like distant bagpipes.  This comes from me doing a second take and recording over another track that had the volume turned completely down, yet there is still a small leakage of sound from it.  Robert Kirk took Ann's wind, and my two recorded tracks and worked his sound engineer magic on it all, coming up with a very moody and mystical mix.  It was so good we decided to add it to the CD as the final track.

Nora Garver with Naomi's Fancy

Story

I think this is one of the finest Scottish Strathspeys around (I call it "Craig Bridge").  It is challenging to play.  I had been working on it for a while when I joined the band, Naomi's Fancy.  They created an accompaniment to it and included it as the first track on their album, "Crossing Borders".  I think they did a fantastic arrangement.  You can hear Naomi Orr on harp, Craig Sexton on guitar and bodhran, and Stanley Widener on bouzouki.  Craig Sexton recorded and mixed the album which has lots of other great tunes on it (see also Cold Frosty Morn / Elzik's Farewell set below). 

Nora Garver with Immigrant's Daughter

Story

We learned both the tunes in this set of slip jigs from Dublin-born Killian Robinson.  The title of the first tune, though quite amusing, belies the beauty of the melody.  We dubbed the second tune in the set "The Missing Jig" as no one knew it's name.  Ann Borden plays harp, and Sharon Fogarty plays flute.  We interweave the two melodies toward the end of the set into a lilting blend.  This set appears on track #2 of "Over the Whistle and Through the Strings" by Immigrant's Daughter.

Nora Garver with Naomi's Fancy

Story

This is an Old Time set from the CD "Crossing Borders" by Naomi's Fancy.  It starts out with a moderate tempo in the first tune, and then really kicks it up in the second tune.  I had a lot of fun playing this with the band.  I was able to record a second fiddle track and play harmony with myself in the first tune, and figure out an energetic arrangement to go along with Stanley Widener's hot bouzouki playing in the second tune (that ends with a hint of "The Devil Went Down to Georgia").  Craig Sexton is on guitar, and Naomi Orr is on flute.  

Suo Gan

03:57
Nora Garver with Immigrant's Daughter

Story

A pre-Christian Welsh Lullaby first published in 1794, "Suo" means to hum softly.  "Gan" means song.  It is also often played in the highland bagpipe repertoire as an air.  I had heard it played by pipe bands at various highland games, so I framed the tune with a fiddle solo played in a Scottish style that imitates the droning of the bagpipes.  I also wrote the melodic harmony.  Ann Borden arranged the harp accompaniment.  This tune is the last track on "The Winter Moon" by Immigrant's Daughter.

Nora Garver with Gaelwynd

Story

The set begins with a Scottish strathspey (Devil in the Kitchen) which I learned from Alasdair Fraser's album, "Road to Kintail". The next tune is another Strathspey (Miss Stewart of Grantully) which flows into a rousing reel of the same name. I learned the two Stewart tunes from Karen Stevens when I traveled to the Isle of Skye to take Alasdair Fraser's fiddle course.  Years later on my second trip to Scotland, I traveled to the town of Dunkeld to take a fiddle course with Pete Clark.  He took us to visit Murthly castle, ancestral home of the Stewarts, where the Laird himself showed us around and where we played Miss Stewart of Grantully's strathspey in the ballroom where she may have at one time danced.  It was a moving experience!

Nora Garver with Gaelwynd
Copyright Nora Garver 2002

Story

I wrote this waltz for my mom, Joanna Garver, who passed away in 1999.  It is a lovely melody in a minor key which gives it a rather sad feel, and which seemed to me to reflect her personality.  In the beginning of the tune, you hear the fine classical guitar playing of Fred McKinney, and then the sensual percussion of Bill Smith.  Later on in the tune, you hear the ethereal voice of Rhiannon Giddens.  I always get chills when I listen to this.  This tune appears on track #10 of Gaelwynd's first CD, "Out on the Ocean".

 

I received a nice compliment on this tune.  I was surfing the internet one day and Googled "Gallant Lady".  Among the search results, I found this blog entry made by a professional chess instructor named Brian:

"In November, 2005, Richmond Folk Music hosted a concert by Rhiannon Giddens. At the concert, I bought Out on the Ocean, a CD by the Celtic band Gaelwynd, of which Rhiannon is a member. Track #11 on this CD is a beautiful waltz titled Gallant Lady, composed by Gaelwynd fiddler Nora Garver. I remember thinking that this moving tune would make a wonderful film soundtrack for historical dramas in the vein of Last of the Mohicans."

(Thank you Brian!)
Nora Garver with Gaelwynd

Story

This track begins as a stately pipe march with just me on fiddle (trying to sound like bagpipes) and Jim Churchill on Bodhran, and then we kick it up with the whole band and transform it into to a high energy jig.  This is the second recording of the tune I've done.  I didn't like the first one, so I nixed it from Gaelwynd's first album.  When I re-recorded it, I got some great coaching from my band members.  I particularly remember Rhiannon Giddens sticking her head through the recording room door and telling me to really punch the first beat.  That did the trick and I aced it!  So we added it to our second album, "Northern Lights".  

Nora Garver with Gaelwynd

Story

This is a fun set of tunes that appears on track #7 of Gaelwynd's first CD, "Out on the Ocean".  It starts with "Put Me in a Box", a reel from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. "Box" refers to a wood coffin.  The second tune, "Nora's Trip to Westminster" was written by my friend Julie Gorka in honor of a trip I made to compete in The Westminster, VA Old Time Band Competition which we won (even though we were playing all Scottish tunes!).  The 3rd tune, "Growling Old Man and Woman", is a fun contra dance reel.  It's name refers to an elderly couple having an argument.  The first part of the tune is played on the lowest strings of the fiddle and represents an old man growling at his wife.  The last part of the tune is played on the highest strings and represents an old woman complaining back at him.  Rhiannon Giddens is also playing fiddle with me throughout the set and you'll hear our twin fiddle solos here and there.