Come to the River: An Early American Gathering

Come to the River: An Early American Gathering

Release Date:

20th June 2011

Cat No:



£12.99 (1CD | 24 page booklet)



Apollo’s Fire conjures early 19th century rural Americana with Come to the River, an evocative and kaleidoscope journey through traditional folk songs and fiddle tunes, ballades and barn dances, and the indispensable Old Time revivalist meetings. This is music as old as the hills themselves, a melting pot of Irish, English and Scottish tunes which permeated Appalachian culture, and rural America based on field recordings of Old-Time and Appalachian singers.

Come to the River was conceived by Apollo’s Fire founder Jeannette Sorrell who first began to identify with this music when, as a teenager, her family moved to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, and she landed her first job playing piano for the Greenway Southern Baptist Church. She draws on the expertise of the great folklorists Francis James Child and Alan Lomax, and British immigrant Cecil Sharp.

Come to the River features leading vocalists and instrumentalists practicing in the early American folk tradition. Fiddle, banjo, hammered dulcimer and Irish flute, with cello and harpsichord, back the vocalists’ beautiful, stark, open harmonies and shape-note hymns – tunes that are instantly recognizable and an indelible ingredient in American musical history.



Part I: Appalachian Wagon Train

1. Appalachian Barn Dance – instrumental (2:23)
Swinging on a Gate—Give the Fiddler a Dram
Traditional New England/Appalachian fiddle tunes, arr. Sorrell

2. Nobody But The Baby – Sandra Simon, Scott Mello, Abigail Lennox (2:00)
Traditional Southern lullaby, collected by Alan Lomax
as sung by Mrs. S. Carter in Mississippi; arr. Sorrell

3. Hold On – Paul Shipper & Company (2:28)
Kentucky spiritual, collected by Cecil Sharp
as sung by the girls at Oneida School, Kentucky; arr. Sorrell

4. The Fox Went Out On A Chilly Night – Sandra Simon, soprano (2:22)
Text: traditional Elizabethan & Appalachian; melody by Custer LaRue*

5. Willie, Prithee Goe To Bed – Paul Shipper & Company (2:20)
Thomas Ravenscroft, 1609; traditional New England/Appalachian, arr. Sorrell

6. Ways Of The World / Dusty Miller – Tina Bergmann, hammered dulcimer (2:58)
Traditional Appalachian, arr. Bergmann/Schiffer

Part II: Love & Death

7. The Three Ravens – Sandra Simon, soprano (8:33)
Thomas Ravenscroft, 1610; traditional New England/Appalachian, arr. Sorrell

8. Lark In The Morning Medley – Kathie Stewart, flute (4:24)
Dark Island—Lark in the Morning—Kesh Jig—Knights of St. Patrick
Traditional Irish, arr. Stewart

9. Old Virginny – Scott Mello, tenor (2:57)
Traditional Southern Appalachian, collected by Jean Ritchie; arr. Sorrell

10. The Girl Who Broke My Heart – René Schiffer, cello (2:24)
Traditional Southern, arr. Schiffer

11. Wild Bill Jones – Scott Mello & Company (3:50)
Traditional Appalachian/Kentucky ballad, arr. Sorrell/Jones

Part III: Revival Meeting

12. Wayfaring Stranger – Abigail Lennox, soprano (3:49)
The Kentucky Harmony, 1816 (titled “Judgment”), arr. Sorrell

13. Glory In The Meeting House (3:20)
Traditional Kentucky fiddle tune, arr. Bergmann/Sorrell/Schiffer

14. Return Again / Savior, Visit Thy Plantation (3:02)
The Sacred Harp, 1844

15. What Wondrous Love Is This (4:29)
The Sacred Harp, 1844, arr. Sorrell

16. Dances From New England & Ireland – Jeannette Sorrell, harpsichord (3:47)
The Rakes of Kildare—Langstrom’s Pony—The Kitchen Girl—The Gravel Walk

17. Morning Trumpet / Oh When Shall I See Jesus (3:46)
The Southern Harmony, 1835

18. Down In The River To Pray – Sandra Simon & Company (3:23)
Traditional Southern folk hymn

Bonus Track

19. Old Joe Clark [Appalachian Barn Dance – Encore version] (2:27)
Southern fiddle tune & breakdown dance, arr. Sorrell

Total time: 65:50

Apollo’s Fire on period instruments
Jeannette Sorrelldirector

Sandra Simon, Abigail Haynes Lennox, Scott Mello, Paul Shipper, vocals
Tina Bergmann, hammered dulcimer • Rachel Jones, violin/ fiddle
René Schiffer, cello • Gary Stewart, historical guitar & banjo

Kathie Stewart, wooden flutes & penny whistle • Jeannette Sorrell, harpsichord
with ensemble singers Sian Ricketts, Madeline A. Healey, Nadia Tarnawsky, Amanda Powell, Bryan Munch, and José Gotera in tracks 17 & 18

Recorded June 2009 and June 2010 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Producer: Jeannette Sorrell
Recording engineer: Thomas Knab
Editor: Erica Brenner

Related Releases: