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October 2015 Newsletter: Trio Reunion Tour in November!

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Into The Stars
(Click here to hear some tracks on CDBaby!)

Priscilla's latest CD is available.
Please click here for more album information.

The Play Peter Mayer
Underneath The Stars Kate Rusby
Blue Boat Home Peter Mayer
Sail Away John McCutcheon
Pleiades Anne Hills
Satellite Sky Mark Heard
Firefly Lights Leslie Ritter & Scott Petito
Vincent Cello Intro Eugene Friesen
Vincent Don McLean
Comet Pierce Pettis & Sally Barris
Ideas Are Like Stars Mary Chapin Carpenter
The Moon’s Song Anne Hills
The Galaxy Song Eric Idle & John Du Prez

TO ORDER a CD or DOWNLOAD a copy of "Into the Stars" from CD Baby: please click here
TO ORDER all CD titles from Priscilla & to request autographed CDs: please click here

Into The Stars

Stardreamer: Nightsongs & Lullabies ~ and ~ Moondreamer
are both 2005 Parents' Choice Classic Award winners!

This newly remastered classic is now available on Priscilla's own independent label. Also winner of the Parents' Choice Gold Award and an American Library Association Notable Children's Recording. Stardreamer is a perfect gift for expectant and new parents. From the opening song "Waltzing with Bears" to the creaking rocking chair that closes the album, Stardreamer is a beautiful song cycle that will calm a child and delight parents. Priscilla Herdman's gorgeous vocals along with the impeccable acoustic instrumental arrangements have made Stardreamer a perennial favorite since its original release in 1988. This is a gentle going-to-bed recording that holds up after countless listenings. Over 100,000 families with peacefully sleeping children can't be wrong.

To order please click here.
(for more CD information, click on photo)

Stardreamer re-release

To order Priscilla's recent solo release, The Road Home, please click here.
(for more CD information, click on photo)

The Road Home

From her stunning debut, The Water Lily (1977), through all her varied recordings over the years, Priscilla Herdman has established herself as an insightful songfinder and a singer of uncommon range, depth and clarity. The Road Home may be Priscilla's best work to date. The gentle power of her voice, the uncluttered arrangements and the timeliness of the songs themselves make the album a true pleasure to listen to. The combination of Priscilla's beautiful voice and careful choice of meaningful songs, make The Road Home an album of striking elegance.

The Road Home is Priscilla Herdman's first solo project in five years, and well worth the wait. With this recording, Priscilla brings her devoted fans and new listeners on the scenic route back to the place we all hold dear. Produced by her long-time friends and collaborators Anne Hills and Scott Petito, The Road Home is a collection of diverse journey songs by some of today's finest writers including Eliza Gilkyson, Anne Hills, Julie Gold, Linda Thompson and the late Dave Carter. This is Priscilla's twelfth recording project and she is accompanied by guitarists Artie Traum and Al Petteway as well as multi-instrumentalist Petito. The songs subjects range from the dispossessed ("Exile" by Hills) and distressed ("Kisingani" by Norwegian songwriter Henning Kvitnes) to the poignant closer ("Here" by Neal Hagburg). In each of the album's compositions, Priscilla finds the heart of the song and communicates with the strength and ease honed by 25 years at her profession. While traversing a wide range of human experience, she chooses songs of humanistic vision and caring, leaving her audience enriched.



The Early Years

I grew up on a tree lined street in Eastchester, New York, the youngest of four children. Both of my parents liked to sing, but it was my mother, Ellen who was the most musical and artistic. She had a wonderful voice and as a young woman had played guitar, banjo and ukulele. After marriage and four children, the instruments were put in the attic until my sister Susan brought them back into the light, taking the guitar off to college with her and leaving the banjo with me. But that old guitar had captured my heart and on my sixteenth birthday, a new guitar from K-Mart started me on my way. Two years and two guitars later I went off to the University of Iowa majoring in art and earning my way by singing in the college bars of Iowa City. After three years there and a new Martin guitar I bought with monthly payments, I realized that I wanted to be a singer. I wanted to leave college and move to California, but at my parents’ urging I moved back east to New York City and finished my art studies at the Fashion Institute of Technology. After graduation in 1970, I got a good job in the fashion industry, but I still knew I had to sing. With friends’ encouragement I began to perform in the coffeehouses of Greenwich Village, the church basements of the upper west side, and I toured in England and Europe. In 1976, I moved to Philadelphia, finally deciding to be a professional singer, and gave up my day job. My first album, The Water Lily, was released in 1977, on the Philo label and I began to tour, being one of the few women performers on the folk revival scene. The years that followed found me touring throughout the United States and Canada as well as Australia and New Zealand.

The Recording Years Begin

The Water Lily met with much praise for the songs of turn-of-the-century Australian folk poet Henry Lawson (four of the melodies are written by me) and for Eric Bogle’s moving anti-war song “The Band Played Waltzing Matilda”. It was recorded with my own simple guitar, Abby Newton on cello and Jay Ungar on fiddle and mandolin. (Re-released on CD in June, 1995, Philo-Rounder.) In 1980, my second album, Forgotten Dreams was released on the Flying Fish label and focused on contemporary North American songwriters. It had a more jazz-pop feeling reflected by co-producers Guy Van Duser (guitar) and Billy Novick (sax and clarinet) and received much attention from major publications. (Re-issued on CD in 1993, on Flying Fish with two additional previously unreleased tracks.)

In 1982, I left Philadelphia and moved to the small rural community of Pine Plains, New York, where I now live. I married that year and released my third album, Seasons of Change, in 1983. It was moving to the country that inspired that collection of songs and the next one, Darkness into Light, released in 1987. Both albums are on Flying Fish and are co-produced by Abby Newton and myself. Returning to the folk style of my first album, I worked again with Abby on cello and Jay on fiddle and mandolin. We were joined by other Hudson Valley musicians including Artie Traum and Mark Rust (guitars), Molly Mason (bass) and David Hornung (accordion). All became integral parts of my recorded music along with engineer Scott Petito of NRS Studios in Hurley, New York.

Second Childhood ~ Stardreamer: Nightsongs & Lullabies

I took some time off between those albums for what I consider to be my most wondrous release: our daughter Suzanna was born in April 1985. By the time she turned three, the group of lullabies that we had been singing to her had blossomed into what I thought might be an album I could share with other parents. The result was Stardreamer: Nightsongs & Lullabies, released on Alacazam! in the fall of 1988. In 1989, it was selected as an American Library Association Notable Children’s Recording and received the Parents’ Choice Gold Award and in 2005 it was awarded “Classic” designation by Parents’ Choice. I will always be grateful for the amazing success of this album which was made with my co-producer, Abby Newton, as a gift for both of our daughters.

Branching Out ~ The Trio is Formed

Album number six had me joining musical hearts and harmonies with good friends Anne Hills and Cindy Mangsen. We first sang together when they added their glorious voices to my Darkness Into Light album in 1987. The vocal combination was magical and we soon realized that a trio album was the next logical step. Our first “Trio” performances in the fall of
1989, led to our 1990 collaboration, Voices (Flying Fish) and was produced by Abby Newton. It combines our varied styles and interests in both contemporary and traditional folk music, highlighting two original songs by Anne as well as Cindy’s multi instrumental talents. Though we live in three different states (New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont) we have toured together for seventeen years, whenever our solo schedules permit.

Dreams Continue

With the great success of Stardreamer still continuing, in 1991 I began work on Daydreamer as a companion album and special fundraising project. With Abby again as my co-producer, Anne and Cindy on harmonies and the same core of outstanding musicians who have joined me on previous albums, Daydreamer is a collection of songs meant for everyone in the family from gradeschoolers to grandparents. I wanted to draw attention to the needs of children as well as make a contribution to a children’s organization. I asked all the songwriters if they would be willing to contribute a portion of their royalties to UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund. Their generous contribution along with a matching amount from my royalties, allows us to give UNICEF twenty two cents for every album sold and UNICEF’s logo appears on the album. I am very proud of Daydreamer and all those involved with this recording who have worked so hard with me. Released on the Music For Little People label in 1993, it was selected as a winner of two awards: Parents Prize Gold Award and The National Parenting Publications Award.

Recent Recording & Beyond

My eighth album, Forever and Always, a collection of love songs was released on the Flying Fish label in November 1994. The eleven songs are written by some of my favorite writers including Anne Hills, John McCutcheon, David Mallett, Cathy Fink and Bill Staines. It was once again a privilege to be joined by many of the same musicians on my earlier releases; Abby Newton (co-producer/cello), Artie Traum (guitar), Scott Petito (engineer/fretless bass), David Hornung (accordion), Jay Ungar (fiddle), Molly Mason (acoustic bass), and Anne Hills, Cindy Mangsen and Bill Staines on harmony vocals, and a joy to work with Donald Sosin (piano) and Steve Gorn (bansuri bamboo flutes) for the first time. Forever and Always, one of my most popular albums, contains several of my most requested songs including “Follow That Road” (Anne Hills), “Ashokan Farewell” (Jay Ungar & Grian MacGregor) and “I’ll Love You Forever” (Allen Power).

Having toured for so many years as a solo artist, I always look forward to performing with my friends Anne Hills and Cindy Mangsen on our annual “Trio” tours as part of Herdman~Hills~Mangsen. Our second CD, Voices of Winter (Gadfly Records, 1997) was produced by the three of us from live concert recordings made during our 1996 tour. Our annual November to January “Voices of Winter” tours have been a great success on every level and inspired our third CD, At The Turning Of The Year, which was released in October 2000, on our own trio label, Hand & Heart Music. Over the years we have been frequent guests on each other’s solo CDs will be collaborating a fourth Trio CD in the near future.

Between the two Trio albums I recorded a third family CD, Moondreamer (Redwing Music, 1998) which was selected for a 1998 Parents’ Choice Gold Award and in 2005 it was awarded “Classic” designation by Parents’ Choice. Redwing Music was founded by Jim Netter, formerly of Flying Fish Records, and I was honored to have the first release on this new Chicago based label which has now grown to include many wonderful artists including Anne Hills, Cindy Mangsen, Steve Gillette, Michael Smith and Christine Lavin.

In May 2003, I released my twelfth CD, The Road Home, on Redwing Music. Produced by Anne Hills and Scott Petito, it’s a collection of diverse journey songs by some of today’s finest writers including Eliza Gilkyson, Anne Hills, Julie Gold, Linda Thompson and the late Dave Carter. The Road Home was met with critical acclaim and it was number 8 on Folkdj’s top 10 list of most played CDs in 2003.

In the fall of 2003 I was invited to France to give a concert at the American Cathedral in Paris. This was a “thank you” concert sponsored by the American Aide Society to honor the generous and wonderful French people who helped our American travelers during the difficult time after 9/11. Over 6000 American travelers were stranded in France when flights were cancelled worldwide for 10 days. I invited my friend and outstanding guitarist Artie Traum to join me in this evening of American contemporary and traditional folk music which we were so honored to present.

I have continued to tour throughout the United States both as a solo and trio performer. Currently, I am researching new songs and preparing for recording this winter and spring with five projects planned.

I am grateful for the gracious support and continued encouragement of fans, venue promoters and their volunteers, radio deejays and print media over the past thirty years, and I look forward to the journey that still lies ahead.

©2008 Richard L. Hess and Priscilla Herdman, All Rights Reserved    Richard Hess's Web site