During my visit to my parents in Little Rock, Arkansas last month I had the pleasure to come across Atwater~Donnelly, a wonderful musical duo. We went to Mountain View, Arkansas's The Ozark Folk Center for a concert, not realizing we were in for a real treat.
After listening to a few different musicians, and watching some very entertaining dancing, Aubrey Atwater and Elwood Donnelly took the stage. Their only instruments were a well tuned guitar, a fun banjo, a lovely mountain dulcimer, and some amazing feet tapping for percussion. You know you're in for a musical treat when you see only two people take the stage with only themselves and those few instruments. It was quite deceiving though because my expectations were met and exceeded!
Their first song for the night was Bonnie James Campbell, one I've never heard before. It tells the haunting tale of a woman waiting for her husband to return home (presumably from war) when his horse returns home but he never does. The wife is with child and is understandably worried about what the future holds for her and her unborn child. Despite the depressing subject matter of Bonnie James Campbell, I was hooked by the talent of Aubrey and Elwood.
After a few songs were under their belt, and the audience was drawn in, Aubrey and Elwood performed The Blackest Crow. With only the first few notes played, Violet turned to me and asked me if I could learn that song and sing it to her at bedtime. Who could resist such a request? I surely couldn't and so, at the first opportunity I had, I went and bought their Cd. A decision that has decidedly been a great one because the Cd is played quite frequently in our house and car.
I met Aubrey and Elwood earlier in the day during the center's folk dancing and old fashioned Hoe-Down. Violet was given the opportunity to dance with the group of people who were enjoying the hoe-down. Elwood was so kind to my daughter as he taught her the steps to a particular dance. Aubrey was fun to swing around with during the Dosi-doe. Both were a pleasure to meet and to be around. And the fact that they were so patient and gentle with my little girl earned them high marks from this Momma!
Violet and I met Aubrey and Elwood after their performance was over in the back of the concert hall. Elwood remembered Violet and said he was, "Happy to see my sweet dance partner!" The fact that he remembered her made her experience even brighter in her mind and memory. I talked with Aubrey and Elwood for a little while and they even signed our copy of The Blackest Crow for Violet (her first autographed Cd).
I walked away from that night's concert with a lovely Cd in my hand, that was soon downloaded onto my Mp3 player. Also, because of how personable Aubrey and Elwood are, I feel like I have two new friends.
I was fortunate enough to have recorded Aubrey and Elwood performing the song The Blackest Crow. Enjoy!
If you have the opportunity, and if you like folk music, I would highly suggest you buy their Cd. Aubrey and Elwood's duets are spot on and they never miss a beat with all the instruments they play. And if you do get the Cd The Blackest Crow, be listening to Aubrey's magical feet dancing the percussion on John Stinson's #2/Scotland the Brave/River of Jordantune. They truly are a joy to listen to.