These are songs, which I played on, issued by other people. Some have the autoharp more evident than others. Regardless, this page was fun to put together, remembering the work of a lot of great singers.
JUST WHEN I NEEDED YOU MOST (Randy Van Warmer)
Randy VanWarmer moved to Nashville in the late 1980s. I ran into him early on and jokingly told him that, if he got a new record deal, he ought to use an autoharp part since the instrument was on his one big hit from 10 years before (with John Sebastian playing autoharp). Quite a while later, I did get a call for my first master session, and sure enough, I played on 4 cuts, including a re-make of his classic JUST WHEN I NEEDED YOU MOST. As happens in Music City, the label folded soon after the record came out. Randy did go on to country songwriting success before succumbing to cancer in 2004.
DID YOU FALL IN LOVE WITH ME (Prairie Oyster)
Another time I got to sub for one of the people I idolized from the 1960s was a recording for a band that was big in Canada at the time, Prairie Oyster. The original track had been played by Sylvia Tyson, but it was a awkward key and progression for a standard autoharp, so she had apparently just slackened her strings so much that the sound was kind of floppy. So when they asked me to overdub the part, I kneew what I was gettin into beforehand and was able to set up on my 'harps to play that particular song. It went on to be named the CANADIAN COUNTRY MUSIC SONG OF THE YEAR. Funny thing was that they made a video and the female singer from the group, Joan Besen, finger-synched my part. I met her a couple years later and she gave me a big laugh and hug.
Some years later, I got a call to play on the debut album of another group from Canada, The Wilkinsons. Joking around in the studio, I said, "Did you know the last time I played on a Canadian band's record, the song won CCMA Song of the Year?" Sure enough, some months later 26 CENTS not only won the same award but was nominated for the Grammy as Country Song of the Year. (You can hear me isolated mostly in 2nd verse and bridge.)
For some reason, producers have more often used my autoharp behind female singers. Sometimes I get to accompany two of the greatest like WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN with Kathy Mattea and Emmylou Harris, or this one by Pam Tillis with harmonies by Dolly Parton
A VIOLET AND A ROSE
In 2015, I participated in the Loretta Lynn revival project at Cash Cabin and helmed by John Carter Cash. I tried to recruit his son (June's grandson and Maybelle's great-grandson) into the autoharp ranks, but, so far, unsuccessfully. One of those I played on was selected for the first album of the series FULL CIRCLE. I strummed along one time through, then they said to play some "fills" which could be interspersed. However, in the final mix it seems they just went ahead and used the fills exclusively after a few verses. The whole album exceeded expectations and was up for Country Album of the Year Grammy.
I NEVER WILL MARRY
Not everything is middle of the road country. Here is something a little folkier from Alaska's top folk singer. David Schnaufer and I played melody lines together on mountain dulcimer and autoharp.
THE WILDERNESS WAY
[I will add more later]