The debut release by The Shoeless features a wide range of traditional and new folk tunes, including sounds of Klezmer, French, German, Appalachian, English, plus some quirky originals by Eli, Frank and Emilyn. The music they play is a tribute to the wacky travels their lives take them on, each tune learned in a different part of the world with a unique story attached to it. The Shoeless arrangements have a large playful element to them, with no commitments to any particular style, but an appreciation for many. With cello, fiddle and banjo all taking turns on rhythmic chopping, swooping melody lines, and wacky acoustic musical adjectives, The Shoeless sound will have you groovin’ and smilin’ in your seat!
(buy it here!)

1. Amarelo’s Box (Emilyn Stam) A tune written for Amarelo, a wacky clown who likes to play with honey, yellow feathers, bananas and spirals …

2. Baluchon (Eli Bender) A tune dedicated to all the interesting characters who found themselves at Baluchon Café in Parkdale, Toronto, and the comical element of wandering in life with nothing but a bindle stick on your back. (and maybe an instrument …)

3. Allie’s Dance / Criscross (Emilyn Stam / Brittany Haas) Some tunes that, in the Appalachian style, make use of the great cross tuning A-E-A-E on the fiddle. The first one written for Allie, Emilyn’s (at the time) 9 month old niece who loves dancing to the fiddle!

4. The French Set: Tant Pire / Les Pieds de la Dame aux Clebs (trad from Central France/ Stephane Milleret) These tunes were learned in a forest in the middle of France, beside a castle, in the middle of summer heat … originally made for dancing the bourrée, the Shoeless version lets you waltz first.

5. Riddles Wisely Expounded (trad English ballad) One of the great old English ballads collected by Francis James Child in the 19th century. (See below for lyrics)

6. Happy G Polska (Gudrun Walther) Polska – meaning from Poland, is a dance popular in Sweden, but the tune is from Germany, though it was learned under a circus tent on a farm in the Netherlands.

7. Sadigorer Hosidl / The Market Thief (trad Klezmer from Romania / Emilyn Stam) This old hosidl (though not played as a hosidl in this version) was learned from a banjo player in Winnipeg who picked it up in Bulgaria. We’ve paired it with an original tune written for a scene in a play where 2 young boys steal all the vegetables.

8. Trains in Holland / Waltz (Emilyn Stam / Frank Evans) Sometimes after a long train ride all you want to do is dance a waltz.

There were three sisters in the north
Lay the bend to the bonny broom
And they lived in their mother’s house
And you’ll beguile a lady soon
There came a man one evening late
Lay the bend…
And he came knocking at the gate
And you’ll beguile…
The eldest sister let him in
And locked the door with a silver pin
The second sister made his bed
And laid soft pillows ‘neath his head
The youngest sister, fair and bright
She lay beside him all through the night
And in the morning, come the day
She said, “Young man, will you marry me?”
And he said, “Yes, I’ll marry thee
If you can answer this to me”
“What is greener than the grass?
And what is smoother than the glass?”
“What is louder than a horn?
And what is sharper than a thorn?”
“What is deeper than the sea?
And what is longer than the way?”
“Envy’s greener than the grass
Flattery’s smoother than the glass”
“Rumor’s louder than a horn
Slander’s sharper than a thorn”
“Regret is deeper than the sea
But love is longer than the way”
The eldest sister rang the bell
She rang it from the highest hill
The second sister made the gown
She sewed it of the silk so fine
The youngest sister, true and wise
They’ve made of her a lovely bride
And now fair maids, I bid adieu
These parting words I’ll leave with you
May you always constant prove
Unto the one that you do love

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