Sally Van Meter - "Tre Mistiche"

(A Small Congress Of Ballad, Weissenborn & Waltz

​Review By Aron Radford

Sally Van Meter has always been a name firmly associated with the Dobro it’s fair to say. This Grammy award winning artist has flirted with the Weissenborn but to my knowledge has never released and recorded any material on it. The love affair for the instrument obviously runs deep though as this EP seems to be a total labour of love and not a commercial enterprise. This venture is born out by the fact its an “under the radar” release only available on Sally’s Facebook page and not available for digital download anywhere else.

It always fascinates and delights me how Dobro players especially bring a special something to the table when they pick up a Hollowneck. Sally's blue grass and county sensibilities shine through on this EP. The county's infectious swing and the blue grass's willing eagerness to drive things along are always near the surface underpinning some of the most beautiful tender Weissenborn playing I have ever heard. I am 100% in love with this EP and i was from the very first listen. Recorded part studio, part live the EP has a gentle stable sonic progression. The live parts are especially good quality as even now after the last note is played I am still a little surprised to hear excited applause on the end of the track reminding me I've just listened to a live performance and not a studio recording, that's the quality of the recordings and performance. 7 duets with old pals and friends accompanying on other instruments (Johnny Dickinson, Gerry O’Berne, Led Kaapana and Bruce Molsky) gives each lead weissenborn part a simple counterpoint that play off each other so naturally and effortlessly. Sally is keen to applaud and talk glowingly about their efforts and contributions on this EP, especially her friend of 30 years Johnny Dickinson. 

Listening to this EP has been like falling in love the Weissenborn all over again. Memories of the first time I heard Ed Gerhard playing "Homage" came flooding over me with a wave of musical euphoria. Actually Ed, his style, his musical sensibility, his tone, his Rubato tendencies are a great comparison for this EP and coincidentally Sally and Ed are good friends in real life so the analogy is a good all-round fit.

The inner sleeve notes on the cd are the best review anyone could write about this EP, and reading them is a real “Heart on sleeve” prologue:

Quote; “Tre Mistiche is because i love small gatherings. A fine musical cohort, me and a very old weissenborn feels just right. These recordings were made late at night either in a friend’s studio, at a live performance, or just sitting across from another great music pal in a lovely small studio in England with no desire than than to play music. It is what it is, In the moment. For me these three elements together help create the near mystical experience of deeply loving playing music. Weissenborns particularly love ballads, waltzes and old songs in the key of D and the tunes offered here are no exception to the rule. The way it feels when i play an old weissenborn makes my heart sing and one i can’t really ask for more than that”. Powerful, heartwarming words that echo the EP’s very essence perfectly. Heartfelt instrumental ballads and waltzes played with passion and deep requited love of the instrument in the company of old friends.

Highlights? Everything’s a highlight but Track 6 “Na Geadna Fiadaine (The Wild Geese)” has already become one of my favourite Weissenborn instrumentals pieces ever! Words can't really do its beauty justice, graceful glissando slides and tender hammer on/pull off sweeps sublimely melt into a serene work of Hollowneck art the likes of which are rarely witnessed on the instrument these days. I am in total weissenborn heaven when i listen to this track. I think you get the idea, this is without doubt a Weissenborn fans dream, get the cd now (remember this isn't available digitally) before they sell out as this will be one of those releases that will have cult status amongst those in the know. 10/10

​To Order Your CD copy of 'Tre Mistiche' use the link below...