Taylor Park Music is pleased to announce the release of Connie Dover's long-awaited fourth CD, The Border of Heaven (Celtic Music on the American Frontier). In her newest recording, Connie brings together the ballads of the British Isles and places them side by side with American folk songs that grew out of the Celtic tradition.
In making The Border of Heaven Connie drew from her musical experiences growing up in Missouri, recording in Scotland, studying at Oxford and working on Wyoming ranches, all of which have given her a remarkable and unique perspective of the transformation of traditonal music as it journeyed from one side of the world to the other. Songs of emigration and settlement, in English and Gaelic, hymns, ballads and love songs capture Connie's pure, powerful voice and rich vocal harmonies. Stand-out tracks include the heart-rending civil war ballad, Brother Green, and the striking Last Night by the River, an Irish/Shoshone love song featuring the sacred eagle bone whistle played by Oglala Lakota artist Arthur Shortbull, a descendent of the Brule leader who brought the Ghost dance religion to the Sioux people in 1890.
The Border of Heaven was recorded in a cabin deep in the wooded hills of Central Tennessee, near the historic town of Franklin. Engineered by Grammy-award winner Bil VornDick, it was produced by Phil Cuninghm, the dazzlingly talented Scottish multi-instrumentalist who produced Connie's previous albums. Phil has been music director for numerous BBC television productions, and his original music is featured in the film Last of the Mohicans and in Ken Burns' Lewis and Clark soundtrack.
To build their musical bridge, Connie and Phil brought together musicians from both sides of the Atlantic. Guests include Phil's brother and former Silly Wizard alumnus, Johnny Cunningham on fiddle, All-Ireland Uilleann piping champion Jerry O'Sullivan, cowboy singer and fiddler Skip Gorman (with whom Connie worked "on the trail" in Wyoming), the great Jerry Douglas playing dobro, guitarist Russ Barenburg (whose playing was featured on the soundtrack of Ken Burns' The Civil War series), and special guest, banjo legend John Hartford. Also joining in on bouzouki and guitar is Connie's long-time performing partner, Roger Landes.
To find the right backdrop for The Border of Heaven cover, Connie travelled to the Colorado Rockies to work with award-winning photographer Jane McBee, who took Connie's album cover portrait at Wilkerson Pass, a gloriously beautiful overlook near Colorado Springs. Additional CD booklet photos were taken at a nearby Colorado homestead, and also include a landscape and hand-tinted "Cowgirl" portrait by renowned photographer Gehrig Fry (Shadowcatcher Studios). The CD tray art is a photo of spectacular beadwork on one of a pair of fringed gauntlets made for Connie by the album's graphic designer Jackie Ahlstrom. Using Native American trade beads in traditional colors, Jackie designed and hand-beaded a thistle and shamrock motif onto brain-tanned deer hide especially for The Border of Heaven CD artwork.
The Border of Heaven is Connie Dover's finest work yet. With producer Phil Cunningham, she has created an album of striking beauty and integrity that expresses her own experience of the common bonds between the traditional music of Scotland and Ireland and the songs that shaped America's musical heritage.