Here is some additional information about the hymns and hymn tunes on this album, including the lyrics (even if we did the hymn as an instrumental). See also some genealogical notes about our Nauvoo roots, some comments about the extra MP3 Bonus Tracks, and other info . Or link to our website for even more information about FiddleSticks !

1 Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing/ Swallowtail Jig
2 Lead Kindly Light
3 In Humility Our Savior (Hyfrydol)
4 Be Thou My Vision
5 How Long O Lord
6 Praise to the Man (Nauvoo Version)
7 This Earth Was Once a Garden Place (Adam-Ondi-Ahman)
8 St. Basil's Hymn
9 A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief
10 All Is Well/Come, Come Ye Saints
11 How Can I Keep from Singing
12 Be Still My Soul
13 If You Could Hie to Kolob
14 For the Beauty of the Earth
15 Scotland the Brave/Salt Creek
16 Amazing Grace

MP3 Bonus Tracks:
B1 Amazing Grace (Reprise)
B2 Nearer My God to Thee
B3 Poor Wayfaring Stranger

Words: William Clayton (1814-1879); Music: J.T. White (1844)

Come, Come Ye Saints is probably the most well-known Mormon hymn, and is one of the few LDS hymns to be widely published in the hymnbooks of other denominations. The hymn is strongly tied to the pioneer trek west, since William Clayton wrote the words soon after the Mormons had been expelled from their homes in Nauvoo and were making their way across the wilderness of the Great Plains. Despite the hardship and terrible conditions, the author's wife gave birth to a healthy child and in response, he wrote these words. But it wasn't an entirely new hymn. He adapted an old American hymn called "All Is Well," and gave it the forward-looking, upbeat hymn text that we now know.

William Clayton (1814-1879) was a native of Penwortham, Lancashire, England. He was baptized a member of the Mormon Church in 1837 and soon became a member of the British mission presidency, devoting his time to missionary work in Manchester. He emigrated to America in 1840, locating in Nauvoo. He became a secretary to Joseph Smith and was elected treasurer of the City of Nauvoo. Under threat of violence, he left Nauvoo in 1846 and became one of the original pioneers of 1847, serving as clerk of the camp. It was during that trek that he wrote his famous hymn, "Come, Come, Ye Saints."

The original "All Is Well" is an old American hymn, printed in the hymnbook Southern Harmony, first issued in 1835 in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The tune associated with the hymn (and the one we play on this CD) was composed by (or probably just compiled by) J. T. White and printed in the collection of hymns called Sacred Harp in 1844. That book is the standard source for old time American hymns, and has been reprinted at , which is where we found the tune and harmonies we have played on this track, as well as the original text. The original "All Is Well" is a sacred harp or "shape-note" type song that would have been performed with robust voices and with a vigorous tempo, even though the text is written from the point of view of someone about to die and meet his maker. By the Nauvoo period in the 1840s the tune had been widely anthologized, and often to different texts. So Clayton was not doing anything unusual by penning new words to the tune. In addition to the shape-note version we play here, there were "round-note" hymnals that included slightly different versions of the tune, with the same "All Is Well" text, notably "Revival Melodies" (1843) and the "Wesleyan Psalmist" (1843). These hymnals used harmonizations that were more standard and hymn-like, not as modal as the shape-note harmonies in the Southern Harmony. One of these later publications was almost assuredly Clayton's introduction to the hymn. The modern tune that is now associated for Come, Come Ye Saints was arranged in its current form for "The LDS Psalmody" that was published in the early 1890s. The compilers/arrangers of that volume were G. Careless, E. Beesley, J. J. Daynes, E. Stephens, and T. C. Griggs.

What about the common folklore that Come, Come Ye Saints was set to the tune of an old English drinking song? In a 1939 history of LDS hymns, George Pyper stated that the tune for All Is Well was originally based on an old English folk tune called "Gossip Joan," which was also known in rural Virginia under the name "Neighbor Joan." Pyper's assertion is apparently the source of the statement in the 1985 LDS hymnal that the tune is an English folk song. Where Pyper got the notion is a mystery, however, since the versions of "Gossip Joan" we have located sound nothing like "All is Well." See;ttGOSSJOAN;ttGOSSJOAN.2.html

Kurt Kammeyer has published a book called Harp of Nauvoo which tries to put together the texts of old Mormon hymns with their probable original tunes. It is a useful reference for old time Mormon music that we consulted in making this collection. See . We are especially indebted to Mormon music historian Lynn Carson and to fellow musicians Wade Otter and Bruce Forbes for their insights and information regarding the history of the old hymns on our CD, of shape-note singing in general, and of the evolution of Mormon sacred music.

All Is Well (Southern Harmony, 1835)

1. What's this that steals, that steals upon my frame!
Is it death? is it death?
That soon will quench, will quench this mortal flame.
Is it death? is it death?
If this be death, I soon shall be
From every pain and sorrow free,
I shall the King of glory see.
All is well! All is well!

2. Weep not, my friends, my friends weep not for me,
All is well! All is well!
My sins forgiven, forgiven, and I am free,
All is well! All is well!
There's not a cloud that soon shall be
From every pain and sorrow free,
I shall the King of glory see.
All is well! All is well!

3. Tune, tune your harps, your harps, ye saints on high,
All is well! All is well!
I too will strike my harp with equal joy,
All is well! All is well!
Bright angels are from glory come,
They're round my bed, they're in my room,
They wait to waft my spirit home.
All is well! All is well!

4. Hark! hark! my Lord, my Lord and Master's voice,
Calls away, Calls away!
I soon shall see--enjoy my happy choice,
Why delay, Why delay!
Farewell, my friends, adieu, adieu,
I can no longer stay with you,
My glittering crown appears in view,
All is well! All is well!

5. Hail! hail! all hail! all hail! ye blood washed throng,
Saved by grace, Saved by grace--
I come to join your rapturous song,
Saved by grace, Saved by grace.
All, all is peace and joy divine,
And heaven and glory now are mine.
Loud hallelujahs to the Lamb!
All is well! All is well!


Come, Come Ye Saints (William Clayton, 1814-1879)

Come, come, ye saints, no toil nor labor fear;
But with joy, wend your way.
Though hard to you this journey may appear,
Grace shall be as your day.
'Tis better far for us to strive
Our useless cares from us to drive;
Do this, and joy your hearts will swell
All is well! All is well!

Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard?
'Tis not so, all is right.
Why should we think to earn a great reward,
If we now shun the fight?
Gird up your loins; fresh courage take;
Our God will never us forsake,
And soon we'll have this tale to tell,
All is well! All is well!
We'll find the place which God for us prepared,
Far away, in the West *
Where none shall come to hurt or make afraid;
There the saints will be blessed **
We'll make the air with music ring,
Shout praises to our God and King;
Above the rest these words we'll tell,
All is well! All is well!

And should we die before our journey's through,
Happy day! All is well!
We then are free from toil and sorrow, too;
With the just we shall dwell!
But if our lives are spared again
To see the saints their rest obtain,
O how we'll make this chorus swell,
All is well! All is well!

alternate words (found in non-Mormon hymnbooks):
*In His house full of light,
**There the saints will shine bright.


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Words: James Montgomery (1771-1854); Music: George Coles (1792-1858)

This tune is tied to the end of the Nauvoo period, because of its association with the murder of Joseph Smith. In prison in Carthage Illinois awaiting trial for having ordered the destruction of an anti-Mormon newspaper, Joseph Smith was visited by John Taylor and some other friends. To raise his spirits, it is said, Joseph asked brother Taylor to sing this hymn, all seven verses, and then to sing it again. John Taylor wrote about it with these words: At Joseph's request,

"I sang a song, that had lately been introduced into Nauvoo, entitled, 'A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief.' The song is pathetic, and the tune quite plaintive, and was very much in accordance with our feelings at the time, for our spirits were all depressed, dull, and gloomy, and surcharged with indefinite ominous forebodings. After a lapse of some time, Brother Hyrum requested me again to sing that song. I replied, 'Brother Hyrum, I do not feel like singing;' when he remarked, 'Oh, never mind; commence singing, and you will get the spirit of it.' At his request I did so."

Soon afterwards, an armed mob attacked the prison, and shot Joseph and his brother Hyrum to death. The singer, John Taylor, survived when the bullet that hit him struck his pocketwatch.


While the hymn is widely considered an American hymn, the words were actually written by James Montgomery, one of England's most prolific hymn-writers, with more than 400 hymns and poems to his credit. He was born in Scotland 1771, and lived most of his life in Yorkshire, in the north of England. He died in 1854 in Sheffield. Montgomery's other works may be found at

The music traditionally played with this hymn is called "Man of Grief," a tune written by George Coles (1792-1858). Coles was born in England, became a preacher at age 22, and then emigrated to American when he was 26 in 1818. He is said to have written this tune in about 1835, but whether it was written for these words, or whether they were brought together later, we haven't been able to discover. However, it is quite clear that the version of the tune that we now associate with "Poor Wayfaring Man" was the same tune used for the hymn in Nauvoo. It appears in the 1844 "Bellows Falls" LDS hymnal (the first LDS hymn book with musical notation) just as it is in the Sacred Harp. John Taylor made a point, when he sang it later in life, to state that he sang it just as it had been sung in Nauvoo. Evidently there were still members of the Church in Utah who sang it in the simpler version of the tune, an older tune called Duane Street.

We recorded A Poor Wayfaring Man on an earlier CD as an instrumental piece, but now we have a new arrangement, with Becca singing as well.


A poor wayfaring Man of grief
Hath often crossed me on my way,
Who sued so humbly for relief
That I could never answer nay.
I had not power to ask his name,
Whereto he went, or whence he came;
Yet there was something in his eye
That won my love; I knew not why.

Once, when my scanty meal was spread,
He entered; not a word he spake,
Just perishing for want of bread.
I gave him all; he blessed it, brake,
And ate, but gave me part again.
Mine was an angel's portion then,
For while I fed with eager haste,
The crust was manna to my taste.

I spied him where a fountain burst
Clear from the rock; his strength was gone.
The heedless water mocked his thirst;
He heard it, saw it hurrying on.
I ran and raised the suff'rer up;
Thrice from the stream he drained my cup,
Dipped and returned it running o'er;
I drank and never thirsted more.

'Twas night; the floods were out; it blew
A winter hurricane aloof.
I heard his voice abroad and flew
To bid him welcome to my roof.
I warmed and clothed and cheered my guest
And laid him on my couch to rest;
Then made the earth my bed, and seemed
In Eden's garden while I dreamed.

Stripped, wounded, beaten nigh to death,
I found him by the highway side.
I roused his pulse, brought back his breath,
Revived his spirit, and supplied
Wine, oil, refreshment--he was healed.
I had myself a wound concealed,
But from that hour forgot the smart,
And peace bound up my broken heart.

In pris'n I saw him next, condemned
To meet a traitor's doom at morn.
The tide of lying tongues I stemmed,
And honored him 'mid shame and scorn.
My friendship's utmost zeal to try,
He asked if I for him would die.
The flesh was weak; my blood ran chill,
But my free spirit cried, "I will!"

Then in a moment to my view
The stranger started from disguise.
The tokens in His hands I knew;
The Savior stood before mine eyes.
He spake, and my poor name He named,
"Of Me thou hast not been ashamed.
These deeds shall thy memorial be;
Fear not, thou didst them unto Me."

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Words: William W. Phelps (1792-1872); Music: Southern Harmony (1835)

Adam-ondi-Ahman is a place in western Missouri that has almost mystical significance as the site of the Garden of Eden, and as the future location of the City of God. We spent a few peaceful hours there last summer during our trek to Nauvoo. It is now a beautiful scene of rolling hills and woods, and this very American hymn celebrates both its past and its future.

This hymn is one of the oldest original Mormon hymns. It was first published in the Messenger and Advocate, June 1835, just five years after the church was organized. Within months of its publication, it became the most popular hymn in the Church, and remained so until the Nauvoo period. It was included in Emma Smith's 1836 hymnal, and unlike most of those early hymns, it has remained in all subsequent church hymn books. William W. Phelps (1792-1872) wrote the words, as well as dozens of other Mormon hymns, including Now Let Us Rejoice and The Spirit of God, both of which, together with Adam-ondi-Ahman, were sung at the dedication of the Kirtland temple in 1836.

The tune of "Adam-ondi-Ahman" is the hymn "Prospect of Heaven," included in the popular collection of southern Appalachian folk hymns, The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion (commonly known as Southern Harmony), published by William Walker in 1835. That book was the source of several old LDS hymns, though the shape-note "sacred harp" type of singing that typified those hymns would sound quite unusual to those accustomed to the modern Mormon hymnal way of singing. The old tune Prospect of Heaven is not immediately recognizable as the same tune as we now sing with this hymn, but if you play through the middle stanza as printed in Southern Harmony, and use some imagination, you can recognize it. See

On sacred harp singing in general see and

On the history of this tune:


This world was once a garden place,
With all her glories common;
And men did live a holy race,
And worship Jesus face to face,
In Adam-ondi-Ahman.

We read that Enoch walk'd with God,
Above the power of Mammon:
While Zion spread herself abroad,
And saints and angels sang aloud
In Adam-ondi-Ahman.

Her land was good and greatly blest
Beyond old Israel's Canaan; *
Her fame was know from east to west
Her peace was great, and pure the rest
Of Adam-ondi-Ahman.

* (alternate words: all Israel's Canaan)

Hosanna to such days to come
The Savior's second coming
When all the earth in glorious bloom
Affords the saints a holy home
Like Adam-ondi-Ahman.

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Words: John Newton 1725-1807; Music: Virginia Harmony 1831

Amazing Grace tells the story of the author's conversion from a godless life to a belief in the grace of the Gospel. And godless he was indeed, if the legends are true -- Newton was supposedly a slave trader, whose eyes were finally opened when his ship nearly sank, and was saved, he believed, by divine intervention.

This hymn is on this CD twice: The first time is at the very end of the CD, as a kind of echo track. Becca did this unplanned, a capella version after we had recorded the hymn with our regular instrumentation. We like how it seems to capture the simple sincerity of the hymn. So we included the accidental version on the main part of the CD, and moved the other arrangement to the bonus MP3 section, hidden as a data file on the disc. (If you made it to these expanded liner notes, you know how to open data files.) In the bonus version, you can hear how we play it with our usual FiddleStickian instrumentation. You can also hear a different treatment of Amazing Grace on our Christmas Album called Cold Fusion , where we pair it with "Away in a Manger." We hope you like all these versions.

Amazing Grace now seems like a very American hymn, but in fact the author of the text, John Newton, was an Englishman. It was only after the hymn became connected with the tune of an old Southern plantation melody entitled "Loving Lambs" (also sometimes called "New Britain") that the hymn became well known, which explains why it is seems to be so American. The music and text were brought together in a hymnbook called Virginia Harmony, published in 1831.

John Newton's famous hymn reflects his own life. He started life as a profound sinner, a slave trader with no thought of God, and after nearly losing his life, gradually became converted to Christianity, ending his life a well-respected preacher in the Church of England. Here's a bit more about his life and this hymn. You can read the full story in an article by Al Rogers, reprinted at .

Newton was born in London July 24, 1725, the son of a commander of a merchant ship which sailed the Mediterranean. When John was eleven, he went to sea with his father and made six voyages with him before the elder Newton retired. In 1744 John was impressed into service on a man-of-war, the H. M. S. Harwich. Finding conditions on board intolerable, he moved to service on a slave ship, which took him to the coast of Sierra Leone. John Newton ultimately became captain of his own ship, one which plied the slave trade.

Although he had some early religious instruction from his mother, who died when he was a child, he had long since given up any religious convictions. However, on a homeward voyage, while he was attempting to steer the ship through a violent storm, he experienced what he was to refer to later as his "great deliverance." He recorded in his journal that when all seemed lost and the ship would surely sink, he exclaimed, "Lord, have mercy upon us." Later in his cabin he reflected on what he had said and began to believe that God had addressed him through the storm and that grace had begun to work for him.

Ironically he continued in the slave trade for a time after his conversion; but after marrying he had gave up seafaring and eventually decided to become a minister in the Church of England. He eventually became pastor of the church in Olney, Buckinghamshire, and had a goal of writing a hymn each week. His publication, Olney Hymns, published in 1779, contained nearly 300 hymns by Newton, including Amazing Grace, though it was composed probably between 1760 and 1770 in Olney, possibly one of the hymns written for a weekly service. Newton continued to preach until the last year of life, although he was blind by that time. He died in London December 21, 1807.


Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound)
That sav'd a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears reliev'd;
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believ'd!

Thro' many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
'Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promis'd good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who call'd me here below,
Will be forever mine.

When we've been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we'd first begun.


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Words: Katharina A. von Schlegel (1697-1768); Music: Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)

This hymn, while very old, was probably never heard in Nauvoo, certainly not with the tune we now know. But we couldn't resist including it anyway.

The text is originally German, written by the poet Katharina Amalia Dorothea von Schlegel in the German town of Köthen, a small town in central Germany not far from Leipzig. It was an independent Duchy in the 17th through 19th centuries, and Johann Sebastian Bach was musical director in the ducal court from 1717 to 1723 (where he wrote the Brandenburg Concerts and the Well-Tempered Clavier). It is thought that Katharina von Schlegel was also attached to the ducal court in Köthen, and she was apparently the canoness of an evangelical women's seminary. She wrote during a reformation in the church called the Pietistic Revival in Germany, which was similar to the Puritan and Wesleyan movements in England. The Pietistic movement gave birth to many German hymns, including more than twenty by von Schlegel.

The original text for "Be Still My Soul" was published in 1752 as "Stille, Meine Wille, Dein Jesus Hilft Siegen," in Neue Sammlung Geistlicher Lieder. It was translated into English by Jane L. Borthwick and published in 1855 in hymns from the Land of Luther.
Jean Sibelius is undoubtedly Finland's greatest composer. He wrote the tune that became connected with this hymn in 1899 as part of his symphonic tribute to his homeland, "Finlandia." Before being matched up with Finlandia, the hymn text was sung to a rather less inspiring tune called "Unde et Memores" by William Henry Monk (1823-1889).



Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened in the vale of tears,
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and blessèd we shall meet at last.

Be still, my soul: begin the song of praise
On earth, be leaving, to Thy Lord on high;
Acknowledge Him in all thy words and ways,
So shall He view thee with a well pleased eye.
Be still, my soul: the Sun of life divine
Through passing clouds shall but more brightly shine.

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Words: Attributed to Dallan Forgaill (d. 598); Music: Traditional Irish

"Be Thou My Vision" is a very old Irish poem from the sixth century. The text was married to a popular Irish tune in the 1920's. We first played it at Becca and Matt's wedding in April 2003, so now it will always remind us of them! Be Thou My Vision is a very old poem in the form of a prayer. The original title is "Rop tú mo bhoile, a Comdi cride" in Irish. The form of the poem is called a "Lorica," which is an invocation for protection from spiritual or physical harm. The poem is attributed to St. Dallan Forgaill (d. 598) the earliest and most famous of the ancient Irish poets. The text was first translated into English by Maire ní Bhroin in 1905, and then was arranged into verse by Eleanor Hull in 1912.

The melody is a traditional Irish folk melody which, like so many traditional tunes, found renewed life as a religious song. The Irish tune is called "Slane," named for a hill in Country Meath. According to tradition, this is the hill where St. Patrick challenged King Loegaire by lighting the Paschal fire on Easter Eve, in defiance of the king's order that no fire could be lit before his Royal Fire marking the start of the pagan Spring festival. The king was so impressed by Patrick's devotion that, despite his defiance he let him continue his missionary work. This same tune is also a favorite setting for the protestant hymn "Take Time to be Holy."



Be Thou My Vision (Dallan Forgaill, d. 598)

Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me save that Thou art.
Thou my best thought by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle-shield, sword for my fight,
Be Thou my dignity, Thou my delight.
Thou my soul's shelter, Thou my high tower.
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise,
Thou mine inheritance, now and always;
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of heaven my Treasure Thou art.

High King of heaven, my victory won,
May I reach heaven's joys, O bright heaven's son,
Heart of my heart, whatever befall
Still be my vision, O ruler of all.

Take Time to Be Holy (William Dunn Longstaff, 1822-1894)

Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in him always, and feed on his Word.
Make friends of God's children; help those who are weak;
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.

Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret with Jesus alone.
By looking to Jesus, like him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.

Take time to be holy, let him be thy guide,
And run not before him, whatever betide;
In joy or in sorrow, still follow thy Lord,
And, looking to Jesus, still trust in his Word.

Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul;
Each thought and each motive beneath his control;
Thus led by his Spirit to fountains of love,
Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.

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Words: Robert Robinson (1735-1790); Music: John Wyeth (1770-1858)

Second tune: Swallowtail Jig (Irish Traditional)

This is one of our most favorite hymns, and was very popular during the Nauvoo period. Somehow it was removed in the 1985 edition of the Mormon hymnbook. We vote for it to be brought back! Katie's vocals give this arrangement some wonderful energy! We have paired it with a traditional Irish tune called Swallowtail Jig.

Robert Robinson started life as an apprentice barber, but eventually became a controversial Baptist preacher in England. This hymn was written relatively early in his career, and while he enjoyed several years of stormy popularity, personal problems subsequently overtook him. According to one story Robinson encountered a woman who was studying a hymnal, humming the tune to "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing." He supposedly replied, "Madam, I am the poor unhappy man who wrote that hymn many years ago, and I would give a thousand worlds, if I had them, to enjoy the feelings I had then."

John Wyeth is often listed as the composer, but in fact he was probably just the editor and compiler of hymn tunes. Wyeth was a publisher (and also the postmaster general under George Washington) who printed a hymn collection called Wyeth's Repository of Sacred Music in 1813 which included this tune, but there's no real indication that Wyeth himself composed it. The tune used for Come Thou Fount is called "Nettleton" - suggesting maybe that the real composer might be the evangelical minister Asahel Nettleton, himself a hymn writer and compiler, who was very active in the revivalist movement in New York and New England in the early 1800s at the time of Joseph Smith's early religious experiences.

The followup tune we have included in the set is the Swallowtail Jig, a fast Irish jig that is often played in sessions. We learned it from Becca's husband Matt Stevenson; he sometimes plays it with us on bouzouki.


Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I've come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in blood washed linen
How I'll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.

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Words: Folliot S. Pierpoint (1835-1917); Music: Unknown.

The text of this hymn was written by an English academic named Folliot S. Pierpoint, who taught classics at Somersetshire College. The text was published in a collection of hymns called Lyra Eucharistica. The text gets a little serious and Catholic-sounding towards the end, but the first verses seem to match our bright melody really well.

The origin of the melody we have used is a mystery to us. Becca learned it from some missionary sisters headed to the South Pacific, while Becca herself was in the Missionary Training Center learning Japanese before her mission to Japan. Nobody seemed to know where it came from - it was just there, which is, of course, the nature of folk music.


For the beauty of the earth
For the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies.


Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the beauty of each hour,
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flower,
Sun and moon, and stars of light.


For the joy of ear and eye,
For the heart and mind's delight,
For the mystic harmony
Linking sense to sound and sight.


For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth and friends above,
For all gentle thoughts and mild.


For Thy Church, that evermore
Lifteth holy hands above,
Offering upon every shore
Her pure sacrifice of love.


For the martyrs' crown of light,
For Thy prophets' eagle eye,
For Thy bold confessors' might,
For the lips of infancy.


For Thy virgins' robes of snow,
For Thy maiden mother mild,
For Thyself, with hearts aglow,
Jesu, Victim undefiled.


For each perfect gift of Thine,
To our race so freely given,
Graces human and divine,
Flowers of earth and buds of Heaven.



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Words and music: Robert Lowry (1826-1899)

This hymn is something of our family anthem -- somehow we just can't keep from making music! It commonly thought of as a traditional Shaker hymn, but that's romantic folklore. In fact it originated as a Sunday school song, both written and composed by Rev. Robert Lowry in 1860. He published it in a songbook called Bright Jewels for the Sunday School (New York, 1869). (Rev. Lowry also wrote the gospel hymn "Shall We Gather at the River.") No matter, it is a wonderful and rich hymn even without the Shaker connection. The confusion of "How Can I Keep from Singing" with an American folk hymn demonstrates how simple and accessible the song is; no doubt it would be proud to be a Shaker song!


My life flows on in endless song;
Above earth's lamentation
I hear the sweet though far off hymn
That hails a new creation:
Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear the music ringing;
It finds an echo in my soul--
How can I keep from singing?

What though my joys and comforts die?
The Lord my Savior liveth;
What though the darkness gather round!
Songs in the night He giveth:
No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that refuge clinging;
Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth,
How can I keep from singing?

I lift mine eyes; the cloud grows thin;
I see the blue above it;
And day by day this pathway smoothes
Since first I learned to love it:
The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart,
A fountain ever springing:
All things are mine since I am His--
How can I keep from singing?


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Words: John A. Widtsoe (1872-1952); Music: B. Cecil Gates (1887-1941)

Brigham Cecil Gates, son of prolific Mormon poet Susa Young Gates, and a grandson of LDS church president Brigham Young, was born in Hawaii when his parents were working as missionaries. He served as associate conductor of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and was director of the Emma Lou Gates Opera company founded by his sister. He also founded and directed and the McCune School of Music in the McCune Mansion in Salt Lake City, which taught music, dance, dramatic arts and visual arts to thousands of students between 1936 and 1957. He was chairman of music at Utah State University and on the music faculty at the University of Utah. His settings of hymns such as The Lord's Prayer and My Redeemer Lives have become standards in the libraries of musical organizations throughout the world and are still in demand many years after their first publication. He established The Choir Publishing Co. in the mid 1930s and headed the company until his death in 1941 at the age of 53.

John A. Widtsoe was born in Norway, and emigrated to the United States after joining the Mormon Church in 1884. He attended Harvard, studying chemistry, as well as English on the side (he used to tell how his book of Tennyson got stained with chemical burns). He became professor of chemistry and agriculture at the Utah State Agricultural College, in Logan, and then was the director of the Department of Agriculture in Brigham Young University in Provo. Later he was president of both Utah State University and later the University of Utah. He was called to be an Apostle of the LDS Church at the age of 49 and was known for his spiritual depth and theological understanding. His life shows it is possible to be both a serious scientist and a devout Christian. (His great-grandson, John Durham Peters, is an astute scholar in his own right, and long-time friend of ours; we are pleased to dedicate this arrangement to him and his wonderful, musical family - Marsha, Ben, and Daniel.)


How long, O Lord most holy and true,
Shall shadowed hope our joy delay?
Our hearts confess, our souls believe
Thy truth, thy truth, thy light, thy will, thy way!

Thy truth has made our prison bright;
Thy light has dimmed the dying past.
We bend beneath thy loving will
And seek thy onward, onward path at last.

Eternal Father, gentle Judge!
Speed on the day, redemption's hour.
Set up thy kingdom; from thy house
Unlock for us, For us the prison tow'r.

From grim confusion's awful depth
The wail of hosts, faith's urgent plea:
Release our anguished, weary souls;
Swing wide, swing wide the gates, and set us free!

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Words: William W. Phelps (1792-1872); Music: Irish/Scottish Traditional

William W. Phelps (1792-1872) wrote the words to three of the hymns on this album, as well as dozens of other Mormon hymns. Besides this hymn, this album includes Phelps's hymns "Adam-ondi-Ahman" and "Praise to the Man." These three hymns span three different periods of Mormon history. "Adam-ondi-Ahman" has reference to the early hopes of rebuilding a Zion society in frontier Missouri and was sung in Kirtland and Nauvoo. "Praise to the Man" is associated with the end of the Nauvoo period, since it eulogizes the martyred prophet Joseph Smith, whose death in 1844 marked the beginning of the end of Nauvoo. Within two years, the city was abandoned as tens of thousands of believers yielded to persecution and terror and headed to a new land outside the (then) boundaries of the United States. "If You Could Hie to Kolob" reflects the period of theological expansion that occurred as the church doctrine was formalized after the trek to Utah. This hymn was published in the Deseret News in 1856, and is among the last of his hymns.

Kolob, the place referred to in the hymn, is in Mormon theology the distant world where God dwells. This hymn is full of other such peculiar Mormon doctrines, such as the non-creation of all things (everything - including human life - has always existed, God just organized the universe into its present form); the multiplicity of gods (that is, we have only one God, but there are other parallel universes governed by other gods); or eternal progression (everyone can progress forever toward the perfection of God, eventually reaching the same state). Unlike such ecumenically inspiring hymns as "Come, Come Ye Saints," this is not a hymn that will likely be adopted by other Christian hymnbooks! Historian Lynn Carson has noted that the text appears to have been written in response to Orson Pratt's astronomical and cosmological writings and lectures of the early 1850s, since the ideas and language mirror Pratt's speculative theology and language. (Orson Pratt's brother, Parley, is our great-great-great grandfather. See our Nauvoo ancestry notes, below. )

The tune now paired with If You Could Hie to Kolob is an old tune that has had a very storied life. It is most often now associated with the Irish love song, Star of the County Down. That song was collected by the enthusiastic songcatcher Ralph Vaughn Williams (1872 - 1958) in the town of Kingsfold, and arranged by Vaughn Williams for the hymn Sing a Song of Bethlehem (among many others). (Because Vaughn Williams collected the tune in the town of Kingsfold, it is now often called "Kingsfold" in hymnbooks.) From Vaughn Williams's English Hymnal the tune made its way to the Latter-day Saints hymnbook in 1985, as the new setting for If You Could Hie to Kolob. Before then, this hymn suffered with a very unimaginative tune that contributed to its nearly complete obscurity. We're glad this wonderful tune has helped bring back this very interesting, unusual, Mormon hymn.

Despite Vaughn Williams's assumption about the origin of the tune he called Kingsfold, it is not in fact originally English. The tune is widely known by its older title, "The Star of the County Down," which is obviously Irish (since County Down is in Ireland). But in fact, it's not originally Irish, either. The oldest source if the tune is apparently Scotland. It was originally called "Gilderoy," named for an infamous Irish highwayman who raided Scotland in the 13th century. Robert Burns, the national poet of Scotland, also used the melody for From Thee Eliza. Besides "Kolob" the tune has been used for several other English and American hymns and carols.

We love to play this tune (there's a different arrangement of it on our album "Playing Favorites").

If You Could Hie to Kolob (W.W. Phelps)

1. If you could hie to Kolob In the twinkling of an eye,
And then continue onward With that same speed to fly,
Do you think that you could ever, Through all eternity,
Find out the generation Where Gods began to be?

2. Or see the grand beginning, Where space did not extend?
Or view the last creation, Where Gods and matter end?
Me thinks the Spirit whispers, "No man has found 'pure space,'
Nor seen the outside curtains, Where nothing has a place."

3. The works of God continue, And worlds and lives abound;
Improvement and progression Have one eternal round.
There is no end to matter; There is no end to space;
There is no end to spirit; There is no end to race.

4. There is no end to virtue; There is no end to might;
There is no end to wisdom; There is no end to light.
There is no end to union; There is no end to youth;
There is no end to priesthood; There is no end to truth.

5. There is no end to glory; There is no end to love;
There is no end to being; There is no death above.
There is no end to glory; There is no end to love;
There is no end to being; There is no death above.*

*Note: The last phrase of the hymn as Phelps wrote it is: "Grim death reigns not above."

The Star of the County Down
Near Banbridge town, in the County Down
One morning in July
Down a boreen green came a sweet colleen
And she smiled as she passed me by.
She looked so sweet from her two white feet
To the sheen of her nut-brown hair
Such a coaxing elf, I'd to shake myself
To make sure I was standing there.
From Bantry Bay up to Derry Quay
And from Galway to Dublin town
No maid I've seen like the sweet colleen
That I met in the County Down.

As she onward sped I shook my head
And I gazed with a feeling rare
And I said, says I, to a passerby
"who's the maid with the nut-brown hair?"
He smiled at me, and with pride says he,
"That's the gem of Ireland's crown.
She's young Rosie McCann from the banks of the Bann
She's the star of the County Down."
From Bantry Bay up to Derry Quay
And from Galway to Dublin town
No maid I've seen like the sweet colleen
That I met in the County Down.

I've travelled a bit, but never was hit
Since my roving career began
But fair and square I surrendered there
To the charms of young Rose McCann.
I'd a heart to let and no tenant yet
Did I meet with in shawl or gown
But in she went and I asked no rent
From the star of the County Down.
From Bantry Bay up to Derry Quay
And from Galway to Dublin town
No maid I've seen like the sweet colleen
That I met in the County Down.

At the crossroads fair I'll be surely there
And I'll dress in my Sunday clothes
And I'll try sheep's eyes, and deludhering lies
On the heart of the nut-brown rose.
No pipe I'll smoke, no horse I'll yoke
Though with rust my plow turns brown
Till a smiling bride by my own fireside
Sits the star of the County Down.
From Bantry Bay up to Derry Quay
And from Galway to Dublin town
No maid I've seen like the sweet colleen
That I met in the County Down.

O Sing a Song of Bethlehem, Louis F. Benson (1855-1930)

O sing a song of Bethlehem, of shepherds watching there,
And of the news that came to them from angels in the air.
The light that shone on Bethlehem fills all the world today;
Of Jesus' birth and peace on earth the angels sing alway.

O sing a song of Nazareth, of sunny days of joy;
O sing of fragrant flowers' breath, and of the sinless Boy.
For now the flowers of Nazareth in every heart may grow;
Now spreads the fame of His dear Name on all the winds that blow.

O sing a song of Galilee, of lake and woods and hill,
Of Him Who walked upon the sea and bade the waves be still.
For though like waves on Galilee, dark seas of trouble roll,
When faith has heard the Master's Word, falls peace upon the soul.

O sing a song of Calvary, its glory and dismay,
Of Him who hung upon the tree, and took our sins away.
For He who died on Calvary is risen from the grave,
And Christ, our Lord, by heaven adored, is mighty now to save.


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Words: Mabel Jones Gabbott (1910-2004); Music: Rowland Huw Prichard (1811-1887)

This beautiful Mormon sacrament hymn is set to one of the most famous and well-loved Welsh hymn tunes, Hyfrydol, which was popularized in the 1840s, during the Nauvoo period. Liz arranged the hymn as a cello quartet (with Liz playing all four parts). The trio of the higher parts have a classical tonality, while the baseline provides a dissonant complexity.

Hyfrydol, we're told, means "Good Cheer in Welsh." The tune was composed by a teenaged loom-tender in Wales named Rowland Hugh Prichard in 1830 - the same year the Mormon church was established. While Prichard was not a professional musician, his tune has become one of the most famous and well-loved Welsh hymn tunes. It has been set to a variety of Welsh and English texts that are commonly used in the Church of England and many other congregations. The Mormon text was written by Utah poet Mabel Jones Gabbott.

This arrangement for cello quartet is by Liz Davis, our FiddleSticks cellist. She had sketched out the arrangement on staff paper, but couldn't find three other cellists to play it with her, so she had never really heard it until we got into the studio. She recorded each part, and then Clarke, the sound engineer, merged them together. It was exciting to hear that the arrangement worked so well, each part building with an almost classical feeling, until the last verse where a quasi-jazz bassline brings it back into the quirky FiddleSticks world.


In Humility, Our Savior (Mabel Jones Gabbott)

In humility, our Savior,
Grant thy Spirit here, we pray,
As we bless the bread and water
In thy name this holy day.
Let me not forget, O Savior,
Thou didst bleed and die for me
When thy heart was stilled and broken
On the cross at Calvary.

Fill our hearts with sweet forgiving;
Teach us tolerance and love.
Let our prayers find access to thee
In thy holy courts above.
Then, when we have proven worthy
Of thy sacrifice divine,
Lord, let us regain they presence;
Let thy glory round us shine.

(Welsh Text)

Marchog, Iesu, yn llwyddiannus,
Gwisg dy gleddau 'ngwasg dy glun;
Ni all daear dy wrth'nebu,
Chwaith nac uffern fawr ei hun:
Mae dy enw mor ardderchog,
Pob rhyw elyn gilia draw;
Mae dy arswyd trwy'r greadigaeth,
Tyrd am hynny maes o law.

Mewn anialwch rwyf yn trigo,
Temtasiynau ar bob llaw;
Heddiw, tanllyd saethau yma,
'Fory, tanllyd saethau draw;
Minnau'n gorfod aros yno,
Yn y canol, rhwng y ta+n,
Tyrd fy Nuw, a gwe+l f'amgylchiad,
Yn dy allu tyrd ymlaen.

Tyn fy enaid o'i gaethiwed,
Gwawried bellach fore ddydd;
Rhwyga'n chwilfriw ddorau Babel,
Tyn y barrau heyrn yn rhydd;
Gwthied caethion yn finteioedd
Allan megis tonnau llif,
Torf a thorf, dan orfoleddu,
Heb na diwedd fyth na rhif.

PRAISE THE LORD! YE HEAVENS - Edward Osler (1798-1863)
(One of many English hymns set to HYFRYDOL)

Praise the Lord: ye heavens, adore Him;
Praise Him, angels in the height.
Sun and moon, rejoice before Him;
Praise Him, all ye stars of light.
Praise the Lord, for He hath spoken;
Worlds His mighty voice obeyed.
Laws which never shall be broken
For their guidance He hath made.

Praise the Lord, for He is glorious;
Never shall His promise fail.
God hath made His saints victorious;
Sin and death shall not prevail.
Praise the God of our salvation;
Hosts on high, His power proclaim.
Heaven and earth and all creation,
Laud and magnify His Name.

Worship, honor, glory, blessing,
Lord, we offer unto Thee.
Young and old, Thy praise expressing,
In glad homage bend the knee.
All the saints in heaven adore Thee;
We would bow before Thy throne.
As Thine angels serve before Thee,
So on earth Thy will be done.


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Words: John H. Newman (1801-1890); Music: "Lux Benigna" (Kindly Light), John B. Dykes (1823-1876)

In 1833, while traveling in Italy as a young priest, John Newman fell ill for several weeks. During his illness he gained the strong impression that he had to go to England to do the work of God. Finally he took passage in a freighter filled with oranges headed for France, and while in route he wrote the hymn, "Lead, Kindly Light," which almost immediately became popular worldwide.
The tune was written by an English churchman, John B. Dykes - one of 300 hymn tunes he wrote.



Lead, kindly Light, amid th'encircling gloom, lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home; lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path; but now lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years!

So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still will lead me on.
O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till the night is gone,
And with the morn those angel faces smile,
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile!

Meantime, along the narrow rugged path, Thyself hast trod,
Lead, Savior, lead me home in childlike faith, home to my God.
To rest forever after earthly strife
In the calm light of everlasting life.

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Words: William W. Phelps (1792-1872); Music: Southern Harmony (Star in the East)

William W. Phelps (1792-1872) wrote the words to three of the hymns on this album, as well as dozens of other Mormon hymns. The three hymns we have recorded here span the period of Mormon history prior to the trek West. While "Adam-ondi-Ahman" has reference to the early hopes of rebuilding a Zion society in the early 1830s in frontier Missouri, "Praise to the Man" is associated with the end of the Nauvoo period in 1846, since it eulogizes the martyred prophet Joseph Smith, whose death marked the beginning of the end of Nauvoo. Within two years, the city was abandoned as tens of thousands of believers yielded to persecution and terror and headed to a new land outside the (then) boundaries of the United States.

The setting of the hymn we have presented is the tune originally sung with these words. It is an old tune, printed in the famous American hymnbook Southern Harmony, and often associated with the Christmas hymn "Star in the East." We heard this tune used with the hymn for the first time during our stay in Nauvoo in 2003, and were immediately drawn to this setting. Its melancholy and contemplative mood just seems to match the text better than the martial triumphalism of "Scotland the Brave" - which is the tune that has been used with the hymn at least since the early 20th century.

We've provided the text of both Praise to the Man and of Star in the East.


Praise to the Man (W.W. Phelps)

Praise to the man who communed with Jehovah!
Jesus anointed that Prophet and Seer.
Blessed to open the last dispensation,
Kings shall extol him, and nations revere.

Praise to his memory, he died as a martyr;
Honored and blest be his ever great name!
Long shall his blood, which was shed by assassins,
Stain Illinois* while the earth lauds his fame.

Great is his glory and endless his priesthood.
Ever and ever the keys he will hold.
Faithful and true, he will enter his kingdom,
Crowned in the midst of the prophets of old.

Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven;
Earth must atone for the blood of that man.
Wake up the world for the conflict of justice.
Millions shall know "brother Joseph" again.


Hail to the Prophet, ascended to heaven!
Traitors and tyrants now fight him in vain.
Mingling with Gods, he can plan for his brethren;
Death cannot conquer the hero again.

*In recent editions of the LDS hymnbook, "Plead unto heaven" has replaced the words "Stain Illinois." This certainly is an appropriate change, especially in light of the formal apology issued in April 2004 by the Illinois Legislature to the descendants of the Nauvoo residents expelled by the city in 1846, and to the Mormon Church in general.


Star in the East Bishop Reginald Heber (1783-1826)

1. Hail the blest morn, see the great Mediator,
Down from the regions of glory descend!
Shepherds, go worship the babe in the manger,
Lo, for his guard the bright angels attend.

2. Cold on his cradle the dewdrops are shining;
Low lies his bed with the beasts of the stall;
Angels adore him, in slumbers reclining,
Wise men and shepherds before him do fall.

3. Say, shall we yield him, in costly devotion,
Odors of Eden and offerings divine?
Gems from the mountain, and pearls from the ocean,
Myrrh from the forest, and gold from the mine?

4. Vainly we offer each ample oblation;
Vainly with gold we his favor secure;
Richer by far is the heart's adoration;
Dearer to God are the prayers of the poor.


Brightest and best of the sons of the morning,
Dawn on our darkness and lend us thine aid;
Star of the East, the horizon adorning,
Guide where our infant Redeemer is laid.

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Traditional Scottish tune

Second tune: Salt Creek (American Traditional)

The tune known to Mormons as "Praise to the Man" is an old Scottish pipe tune. The lyrics now most often associated with it (besides the LDS hymn) date to the middle of the last century. In 1951, a Scottish writer and broadcaster named Cliff Hanley (1923-1999) wrote lyrics for a musical show at a Glasgow theater, and the tune became known as Scotland the Brave. It has since become one of the main contenders for the Scottish National Anthem. The tune is much older, and could have been known to the Mormon pioneers at the time "Praise to the Man" was written, but it wasn't associated with that hymn until sometime after the Nauvoo period.

Salt Creek is an old modal fiddle tune, Salt River, which Bill Monroe turned into a bluegrass instrumental. As such it has become one of the classics of bluegrass.



Hark when the night is falling
Hear! hear the pipes are calling,
Loudly and proudly calling,
Down thro' the glen.
There where the hills are sleeping,
Now feel the blood a-leaping,
High as the spirits
Of the old Highland men.

Towering in gallant fame,
Scotland my mountain hame,
High may your proud standards
Gloriously wave,
Land of my high endeavor,
Land of the shining river,
Land of my heart for ever,
Scotland the brave.

High in the misty Highlands,
Out by the purple islands,
Brave are the hearts that beat
Beneath Scottish skies.
Wild are the winds to meet you,
Staunch are the friends that greet you,
Kind as the love that shines
From fair maiden's eyes.

Far off in sunlit places,
Sad are the Scottish faces,
Yearning to feel the kiss
Of sweet Scottish rain.
Where tropic skies are beaming,
Love sets the heart a-dreaming,
Longing and dreaming
For the homeland again.


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Words and Music: Traditional

We imagine that this ancient Christmas hymn would have been a fitting tune to be played in Old Nauvoo at Christmastime (though since the hymn is Greek, it probably never was).

Andi Pitcher Davis (our dulcimer player, and wife of Marco the drummer and mom of baby Xan, the future drummer) recorded her arrangement of this tune in the album called "Obsidian Rain" which she produced with Kristen Washburn in 1998. Liz added her improvised cello line to Andi's dulcimer and Kristen's fiddle, to create this haunting trio arrangement.

St. Basil, or Vassilis, lived from 329-379 AD in Greece. The tune dates from the 6th century. It is said that the song is traditionally sung on New Year's Eve, to announce the arrival of St. Vassilis, who is essentially the Greek equivalent of Santa Claus. Children go door to door singing the hymn and other carols, and are given sweets or a coin. Then at midnight, the family shares a large New Year's cake, called the Vassilopita, which has been prepared with a coin baked inside. Whoever finds the coin is considered the lucky one of the coming year.

The reason for the coin hidden in the cake goes back to a very old legend of St. Basil, when he was first appointed Archbishop of Cesarea. The Commander of the district was a very greedy and harsh man who used to come with his army and plunder the town regularly. When St. Basil was told that the Commander was again going to come, he collected an offering of jewels and gold coins from all the wealthy residents, which he planned to hand over to the Commander. However, when St. Basil offered him the treasure, the Commander was stunned and refused to take anything, and never bothered the citizens again. This happened to be New Year's Eve, and since St. Basil did not know any longer to whom the treasure belonged, he had his cook make small loaves for the whole village, and in each one he put one of the offered jewels or coins. On New Year's Day he handed out the loaves to all the villagers, and since then the custom of St. Basil's Loaf has endured.

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This folk spiritual has been widely recorded as a folk ballad (Joan Baez, Peter Paul and Mary, Burl Ives), and has parallel roots in Appalachian and Negro Spiritual traditional hymns.

I am a poor wayfaring stranger
A-trav'ling through this land of woe.
And there's no sickness, toil or danger
In that bright world to which I go.

I'm going home to see my father
I'm going there no more to roam;
I'm just a-going over Jordan
I'm just a-going over home.

I know dark clouds will gather 'round me
I know my way is steep and rough;
But beauteous fields lie just beyond me
Where souls redeemed their vigil keep.

I'm going there to meet my mother
She said she'd meet me when I come
I'm just a-going over Jordan
I'm just a-going over home.

I want to wear a crown of glory
When I get home to that bright land
I want to shout Salvation's story
In concert with that bloodwashed band.

I'm going there to meet my Saviour
To sing His praises forevermore
I'm only going over Jordan
I'm only going over home.

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Words: Sarah F. Adams (1805-1848); Music: Lowell Mason (1792-1872)

Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!
E'en though it be a cross that raiseth me,
Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee.


Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee!

Though like the wanderer, the sun gone down,
Darkness be over me, my rest a stone.
Yet in my dreams I'd be nearer, my God to Thee.


There let the way appear, steps unto heav'n;
All that Thou sendest me, in mercy given;
Angels to beckon me nearer, my God, to Thee.


Then, with my waking thoughts bright with Thy praise,
Out of my stony griefs Bethel I'll raise;
So by my woes to be nearer, my God, to Thee.


Or, if on joyful wing cleaving the sky,
Sun, moon, and stars forgot, upward I'll fly,
Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee.


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When we returned to Nauvoo in the summer of 2003 for our concert series at the Nauvoo Arts Theater, we really felt like we were retracing our family's history, driving back from Utah across the Great Plains, to Nauvoo. A number of our ancestors lived in Nauvoo, and others made the trek later along the same route we traveled. Here are a few of their stories. (The relationships are described with respect to Becca, Kate and Liz):

Joshua and Susan Ann Davis

Joshua and Susan are our paternal great-great-great-grandparents, that is, the parents of our father's father's father's father. Susan's parents joined the Mormon faith in Kirtland Ohio, and then moved with the church to Missouri. Joshua's family, was originally from Annapolis, Maryland, and Joshua himself was born when the family lived in Illinois. But before Joshua was grown his father moved the family to the western frontier, to Caldwell County Missouri. There they encountered the Mormons, who considered western Missouri their New Jerusalem. When mob persecution and the Missouri government's extermination order required the Mormons to leave Missouri, Joshua went with the church to Nauvoo, and was baptized there in 1840 by Orson Hyde. Later that year he and Susan Ann were married in Nauvoo. According to the Nauvoo Land Records office we visited, Joshua and Susan owned two building lots in Nauvoo, one right by Joseph Smith's store by the river, and another higher up, above where the LDS church's visitor center now stands. One of our persistent family legends is that Joshua helped in building the Nauvoo Temple, working one day in ten at the temple, as a direct tithe. He was well acquainted with the prophet Joseph Smith and, so the story goes, one cold day, Brother Joseph saw Joshua on his way to the temple site in a pair of worn shoes strapped together with hickory bark. According to the story, Joseph took pity on Joshua's frozen toes, and gave him a new pair of boots. After Joseph was murdered, Joshua and Susan Ann fled Nauvoo in 1846 with their two small children, and two more were born in Iowa as they prepared to move to Utah. Finally in 1849, they arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, but then settled in the new village of Provo. They build their first home inside the fort that was built to protect the new settlers from attack by the local Indian tribes who resented the newcomers. Joshua was the town's first sheriff. He married two other wives in Provo, that being the norm then for successful Mormon men, served several missions for the LDS church, owned considerable farmland in Provo and Orem, and raised 18 children.

Parley and Mary Pratt

Parley and Mary Pratt are our maternal great-great-great-grandparents, that is, the parents of our mother's father's father's father. Parley was one of the earliest converts to Mormonism, who joined the church in 1830 in New York, soon after it was organized. Mary was from Glasgow, Scotland, and met Parley when he was the mission president in Britain. When she joined the Mormon church her parents disowned her, and Parley invited her to come to America and stay with his family in Nauvoo. In time, he proposed to her, and in 1844 she was married to him by Brigham Young in the yet unfinished Nauvoo Temple, becoming Parley's fourth wife. Parley was an energetic church leader, and was always away on one mission after another. Essentially being single moms, Mary and her other "sister wives" depended on each other as family. When the Mormons were expelled from Nauvoo, Parley was away, and Mary made her way in a wagon over the frozen Mississippi river in February 1846 to Iowa. Before she made it to the settlement in Mt. Pisgah, her son Helaman (our ancestor) decided it was time to arrive, and he was born in a wagon. She crossed the Great Plains to Utah in the second pioneer company in June 1847, together with Parley and six of his other wives.

Samuel and Mary Ann Leaver

Samuel and Mary Ann were both from the village of Neitrop, Oxfordshire, England. They apparently made their way together to New York City when they were in their early 20s, and were married in Brooklyn in 1831. Their second child, our ancestor Mary (she's our father's mother's father's father's mum) was born in New York in 1838. Somewhere along the way they met and joined up with the Mormons, and must have lived in or near Nauvoo by 1846 when they and the whole city was ethnically cleansed and they were forced to make their way to camps in the wilderness. They had a son born in 1848 in Winter Quarters, Nebraska, which was a staging area for Mormon pioneers trying to flee persecution in the United States, hoping to find refuge on the shores of the Great Salt Lake in what was then unorganized Mexican territory.

John and Harriet Ellis

John was born in Ontario, Canada while Harriet was from Kent in southern England. They both ended up in Bountiful Utah, but first shared in the short Camelot-like season that was Nauvoo. They arrived in Nauvoo when the city was first being established, and were married in the nearby town of Quincy in 1839. They had two children born in the Nauvoo area. Where they lived in Nauvoo and what they did there is a mystery to us, but they must have been personal witnesses to the city's evolution from frontier settlement to bustling mini-metropolis (it was the largest city in Illinois in its day) to ghost town. In 1846, they abandoned their home and joined the westward exodus. Later that year, while camping as refugees across the Mississippi river from their home, they gave birth to our great-great-great grandfather (that is, our father's father's mother's father's father), Stephen Hales Ellis. Another child was born on the plains in 1849. (Harriet gave birth to eight other children after they arrived in Utah!)

Daniel and Clarissa Amelia Carter

The Carters were from Vermont, and were part of the Mormon movement from the beginning. They lived in Kirtland Ohio, site of the first Mormon temple, in the early 1830s. They then moved with the church to Far West, Missouri in 1838, but arrived just in time to be expelled by mob violence. Clarissa died in 1840 on the road back to Illinois, but Daniel carried on with their four children, and with the other Mormons found a temporary refuge in Nauvoo. Daniel remarried Sally Perry in 1846 in Nauvoo, but they didn't get much of a honeymoon. The mob violence against Nauvoo soon broke out and he had to flee with his new wife, who was pregnant. Sally gave birth in the refugee camp of Winter Quarters Nebraska in December 1846, but she died soon afterwards at the age of 21. Meanwhile, Daniel and Clarissa's daughter, Harriet Amelia, was married in Pottowatamie County Iowa, just over the river from Nauvoo, in a settlement called Carterville, in 1849, while their families waited to make the long march to Utah. She married Stephen Ellis, son of their Nauvoo neighbors John and Harriet Ellis. Our great-great-great grandmother Helen Lee Ellis was their daughter.

Others Came Later

Lars and Bodil Madsen of Svinninge, Denmark, determined to join the gathering to Utah after they joined the Mormon church in 1854. They sent five of their seven children ahead in 1855, since there was money enough only for their passage. Parents Lars and Bodil followed the next year, sailing from Copenhagen in November 1855 with their youngest son. After arriving in St Louis, they set out on July 31, 1856 with the Hodgett ox-team wagon company, one of three ill-fated companies that left St Louis too late in the season. The Madsens' relatively well-provisioned company encountered along the way the several hundred destitute immigrants in the less well prepared Martin and Willey handcart companies. In delaying their journey to aid these travelers, they shared their fate. Traveling together, they were surprised by an October blizzard near Devils Gate, Wyoming. They became snowbound and, ill equipped for winter weather and out of provisions, hundreds died of exposure. Among the casualties was Grandpa Lars, then aged 62, who was buried in the snow near the Sweetwater river, leaving Bodil and her 9-year old son to continue the journey alone. They continued on, eventually settling in the Danish colony of Mt. Pleasant in central Utah with her other children. Lars and Bodil's daughter Annie Margrethe, who was 19 when her father died in Wyoming, was our Grandma Louise's great-grandmother.

Anders Jonsson's family accepted the Mormon religion in Sweden, as also did Eda Regina Johansson's. While they were children, their families moved to America and in 1862 joined the handcart trek across the plains of the "great American desert," pulling their worldly belongings (and their babies) from Nebraska, across Wyoming and at last into the Salt Lake Valley, following the trail that the Nauvoo pioneers had blazed 15 years earlier. Anders and Eda Regina grew up in Heber City Utah, and when he was 17, he made a beautiful pine cabinet for Eda as an engagement proposal. She accepted and they married and had seven children. Anders was a skilled carpenter who was a craftsman on the Heber Tabernacle, which still stands. Their daughter, Louise Elizabeth, was our own Grandma Betty's grandma. The cabinet Anders made is still in our living room.

Joseph and Ann Howard were married near Birmingham, England, had 12 children, and then decided to come to America to join with the gathering in Utah. They sailed the Atlantic and then, with the 12 kiddies in tow (including a baby and twin 5-year olds) joined a wagon train that left late in the summer of 1864, and were caught in bad weather in the mountains. First the baby and one of the twins died, and then mother Ann died and was buried along the Sweetwater River in Wyoming. Big brother Thomas, who was then about 20, was our dad's dad's mom's grandpa.

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The CD contains some bonus tracks of various kinds. Think of them as a kind of "extended version" of the CD.

The first is an alternative arrangement of the great old hymn Amazing Grace . We decided to put Becca's impromptu a cappella version on the CD itself, so we decided to include our instrumental version as a bonus track. It's here as an MP3 - it will play on your computer or MP3 player.

The second group of bonus tracks are a couple of traditional hymn arrangements recorded by Andi and some wonderfully musical friends in 1999. The tunes are A Poor Wayfaring Stranger and Nearer My God to Thee. Featured in the recordings are Miriam Stay (vocals), Nate Buhrley (guitar), Emily Buhrley (vocals), Geoff Rayback (bass) and of course Andi Pitcher (hammer dulcimer), with sound engineering by Israel Curtis. We have long admired these arrangements (and several other tunes that were also recorded at the time) and we're glad to give new life to these imaginative and beautiful performances by including them here as bonus MP3s.

One day when Katie was at the studio putting down fiddle tracks, between takes she was noodling a bit on her fiddle, unaware that Steve, our engineer, had "gone red" and was recording. He caught her playing an improvised section for "Orange Blossom Special" that she had worked up on a tour of Europe in summer 2003. She was touring as a fiddler in the band Albion, a Celtic/bluegrass band that provides the musical backdrop for a dance group called Clog America .

Finally, our sound engineer and miracle-worker Steve Lerud has created acoustical collages from outtakes and studio comments for each of our CDs, which we have included as ghost tracks. Yeah, they're a little silly, but they're fun and we've included this year's version as a bonus MP3 called Outtakes.

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With this album we present our first FiddleSticks collection of hymns. These are sacred songs and tunes that we feel an extra connection with and we love playing them. They are mostly traditional, and we've arranged them all in our eclectic Celtic style.

We chose the name "Return to Nauvoo" for this album during a week-long performing tour in Nauvoo, Illinois, the 19th century frontier town on the Mississippi River that was once the center of the Mormon faith. It was also the home of many of our ancestors, and so in a way our week in Nauvoo was like returning to our family roots. Many of the hymns and sacred songs in this collection date from the Nauvoo period, and all have been a strength and a support for people of faith since the time of Nauvoo and before. By remembering their music, we can connect with the heroes of the past.

This album was produced by Liz, the cellist in the FiddleSticks band, and Liz's imaginative and improvisational style is featured in many of the arrangements. This is Liz's dedication of the album: "This album is dedicated to Barbara Coleman Blackwell, my friend and sister. She is an amazingly strong woman who has always been an example of courage, beauty, faith and love. I thank her for everything she is and everything she has helped me become."


FiddleSticks is a family musical group that performs folk songs, Celtic style tunes, and traditional hymns. The band is made up of Liz Davis - cello; Katie Davis - fiddle, voice; Becca Davis Stevenson - flute, pennywhistle, voice; Mark Davis - guitar, bodhran; and Andi Pitcher Davis - hammered dulcimer.

Thanks to Steve Lerud for his careful ear and exceeding patience. To cousin Jonathan for the photos. To Cindy for her design finesse. To Matt for Swallowtail, and for waiting for Becca.. Especially to Andi for her encouragement, strong opinions, great arrangements. And to baby Xan for loving our music almost as much as we love him!

Produced by Elizabeth Davis. Recorded and engineered by Steve Lerud at Lakeview Recording, , except track 3 recorded by Clarke Jackman, , and track 9 recorded by Marvin Payne, , with additional recording by Clarke Jackman. Mastered by Steve Lerud. Musical backup by Nate Buhrley (congas and djembe) and Kirsten Washburn (fiddle, track 9)). Photography by Jonathan Pratt Ferguson, . Cover print from "Nauvoo from the Mississippi River," in Gleason's Pictorial Drawing-Room Companion, an illustrated newspaper published in Boston in 1854. Art design and Layout by Cindy Ferguson, .

FiddleSticks is a member of the Timpanogos Singer Songwriter Alliance . Distributed by Excel Entertainment Group, Salt Lake City, 801-355-1771. Arrangements, performances, and liner notes (c)2004 FiddleSticks -- Celtic and American Folk Music. All Rights Reserved. FiddleSticks is a registered trademark.

For booking or ordering information call 800-969-7640 or email . Look up our website at .

Look for the printable Discount Coupon, also included as a data file on this CD. Open the "Discount Coupon" file and print the coupon. The coupon's good for $5 off your next FiddleSticks CD purchase!

FiddleSticks is the Davis Family Folk Band

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