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The Montana landscape provides the backdrop for a journey which evokes the moods and colors of the earth itself. Native flutes, gentle piano and voices join with modern textures and rhythms to create a map of the dreams and memories of this wild and delicate land. 
 Composers Matthew Lyon and Christine Dickinson are joined by Glacier Journey cellist Janet Haarvig, percussionist Doug Ruhman, hammer dulcimer player Katie Carter, and celtic fiddler Tom Robison on an excursion into the heart of the Big Sky Country. 



About the Songs: 
1) First Light (MRL) Each dawn of any season brings a gift, a fresh breath with which to live your day. The sun is rising, refracted by dew on wet prairie or glowing blue-pink minutes before it crests the snowy mountains--simple and serene. 

2) Gates of the Mountains (CJD) Water made this corridor a cathedral of rock. Try to imagine the landscape Lewis and Clark had the honor to look upon as they finally made their way towards the Great Divide. When driving west from Great Falls we have often watched spring rains fill the sky with colors too vivid to even describe, as we approached the corridor leading from plains to mountains. 

3) Waltz on Marias Pass (CJD) This mountain pass has been traveled by us many times; once driving back towards the Flathead after an absence of two years, we stopped on the roadside. Happy to be near home again, we watched the water birds along the river and the high, wild peaks near East Glacier-- a new adventure waiting for us on the other side. 

4) Sandhills (MRL) One morning before dawn last summer we heard these elusive birds in the marsh below Christine's family home at Proctor near Dayton. This place has a magical quality, and every visit introduces us to a new member of the landscape. Apparently these birds liked the relative seclusion of the wet-land after being disturbed by building further up the valley. We all need a place to call home. 

5) The Homeplace (CJD) My mother's grandparents lived on a remote, wind-swept homestead near Hysham. Mom used to take off on her horse as a young girl and ride across the wheat fields to visit them from her home three miles away. Both old houses are still standing. I stood inside the Homeplace one hot August afternoon with my family and tried to imagine fifty years ago-- the wind whistling through the open doorway and the fields newly fallowed. It was both grim and beautiful. Then my mother showed me where her grandfather used to grow prize, dry-land watermelons in a small draw. Such sweetness in a harsh landscape! 

6) Ninepipe (MRL) This bird refuge is close to our home. We enjoy walking near the marshes watching the many birds, then in turn admiring a full panorama of the Mission Mountains. In the very early spring we are always renewed in waking to the sound of wild geese returning to their nesting places. 

7) From Glasgow to Glasgow (MRL) Matthew's family came from Scotland and Northern Ireland. We can only imagine what a dramatic change in landscape some people experienced in settling here. This musing became a duet one afternoon with Janet adding her cello as the wagon slowly moved across the plains of eastern Montana. 

8) White Cloud, Big Sky (M&C) Summer storms in Montana are both lovely and mysterious. At times the sky will be blue while dark, beautifully colored clouds slowly fill the horizon. The more intense the color the more severe the storm; often joined by the prairie's constant companion--wind. If the rain comes it is a welcome blessing to the sun-dried grasses and a lonely tree standing in the distance. 

9) The Orchard (KC) We asked Katie to track this piece after hearing it one day during a break in recording. She and her family have a place with an orchard near Polson, and this song came from the solitude reaped in the evening hours as the last child drifted off to sleep. 

10) Quiet Day in Cascade (CJD) This jig is named after the Charlie Russell painting about the town where Matthew grew up and where his parents still live. Cascade is sometimes a quiet town by the river surrounded by craggy bluffs and those strange monoliths like Birdtail and Square Butte. A warm-hearted thanks to the fine talents of Katie and Tom with whom we have shared many lively tunes over the years. 

11) Across the High Line (MRL) a poem for the highlands of Montana reaching east to Scobey and north far into Canada. As they say, "a country where you can stretch your eyes;" a wonderfully windblown, empty place. 

12) Along the Missouri (M&C) Matthew's folks have come to know and respect a part of this river near Great Falls for thirty years. They now spend hours photographing what they know so well. We have often been a part of these outings, sometimes just walking and other times canoeing. This piece is an attempt to capture the sun glinting, the pelicans fishing, the herons tending their rookeries, the river slowly widening--not yet far from its source. 

13) Afternoon at Siegal Creek (CJD) Hidden among the cedars and dogwood, this stream only appears at certain times of the year. We try to visit hereeach season just to see the new clothes nature puts on. Walking one day, carefully stepping over a nursery of trees or a garden of wild flowers, suddenly you notice the leaves are changing color. 

14) Beneath this Big Sky (MRL) ... for lives lived beneath the shelter of Montana's skies, for the flow of mountain streams and the rhythm of wind against wheat, for the stormcloud's song . A land of tarnished gold, perfect blue. 

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