Thanks to professional photographer Dennis Dunning.
Eve´s hobby was restoring antique dolls & making high class character Teddy Bears until she met me in the Autumn of 2002. That Christmas Santa brought her a soprano Ukulele! It lay dormant for a couple of months, but once she took the bull by the horns, she quickly learned to strum accompaniments to several folk; country & jazz tunes. The Teddy Bears had to take a back seat as Eve became adept with the whole Ukulele family from the tiny Soprano up to the Baritone, and transferred this skill to the steel strung Tenor Guitar.
Eve & her prized 1957 Martin 5-15T, taken on a cold but bright day in February 2006 as part of the photo shoot for our first much hurried C.D.
Over the last four years she has also made inroads with the Uke-Banjo; Autoharp; Mandolin; 5-string & the Tenor-Banjo.
Strumming her Gibson TB-2/Jr. on the 4th. of July Concert in her Albuquerque Festival Finery!
However, the instrument which has made the most impact on audiences, is her Appalachian Mountain Dulcimer, which whilst playing a melody, also provides a great rhythmic accompaniment to several Appalachian ballads & dance tunes, and in particular is a great partner for the banjo.
A natural follow up to this was the ´Strumstick´ or ´Walkabout Dulcimer´. The unique tone & amazing amount of volume from such a small instrument, always guarantees her getting attention where ever she plays it!
Somewhat like a much modified Cittern but with the diatonic fret spacing of the Dulcimer, it frees the player to stand to play, very useful when a chair of the right height can´t be guaranteed for the traditional Dulcimer playing position! Having a partner who is quite content to play a rhythmic background on a wide variety of instruments is a great asset to me because it enables me to not only indulge myself by playing more melody on guitar, but use a wider range of melody instruments such as mandolin; fiddle; tenor banjo & possibly a whole bunch of obscure Mexican & South American instruments yet to be explored!
Last year I was provoked into making my first demo Album following enquiries from festival organizers in the U.S.A. Local singer/songwriter Bob Fortune helped me produce a varied selection of songs representative of my then current folk club programme, which included a few Western songs, hence the title ‘Evelyn May accompanies Stan Gee-Looking West’. This resulted in us being asked to appear at the Western Music Association annual festival in Albuquerque, New Mexico in November 2006. Our reception was better than anyone could have hoped for, one song in particular ´Out Calfornia Way´ was picked to be featured on a tribute night to The Sons of the Pioneers. Eve & I took our turn on the stage with a string of pro performers, and I have to say her demeanor was every bit just as professional. It went down pretty good and we have been asked to re-appear in 2007. It doesn’t get any better than being accepted by authentic American Artistes on their home ground, I felt as if we had finally arrived and validation for a life’s work of study of American music! Eve also enjoyed the attention her instruments and playing attracted, and is looking forward to the forthcoming WMA trip.
This momentous event also bolstered Eve’s confidence considerably, resulting in an increase in her vocal input. We are now working on an album entitled ‘Stan Gee accompanies Evelyn May-Don´t Pass Me By´. Watch this space!