Thr Rolling Waves - Liner Notes

When Neal Hellman suggested that I record a new solo recording for Gourd Music I was thrilled! It has been quite a few years since my last “solo” project, so I got to work. Well, between a busy life as a musician and teacher, and a pandemic, and losing our house to wildfires, I found it challenging to get the recording going. But little by little I started making arrangements and recording at home. Choosing tunes is always a fun adventure! The tunes on this recording come from traditional Irish and Scandinavian music, a few covers, and a few original compositions. Mostly solo but some tracks with multiple guitars. It has been said before, but I hope you enjoy listening to this music as much as I have enjoyed making it for you! 

“The Rolling Waves” is a very popular session tune, also known as “The Humours of Trim.”
I learned this spirited jig many years ago.

 I first heard “Sliabh na mBan” (“The Mountain of the Women”) from the great singer from County Kerry, Éilís Kennedy. Neal suggested the “Waterloo Hornpipe,” an Irish tune celebrating Wellington’s victory on the plains of Waterloo, June 18th, 1815.

I remember hearing “What A Wonderful World” as a child growing up in New Jersey, and then many years later I experienced it again via the great Hawaiian singer Israel Kamakawiwoʻole. This classic ballad was written by Bob Thiele and George David Weiss and was first recorded by Louis Armstrong in 1967.
©Concord Music Group, Inc. o/b/o Abilene Music LLC, Round Hill Songs II o/b/o Bienstock Empire Music, and Round Hill Songs

“Mother Anne’s Song” comes from the Shakers and is ascribed to Ann Lee (1736–1784). It is dated 1782 in a hymnal from Mount Lebanon, making it one of the earliest Shaker songs to be notated. Barry Phillips and I recorded this lovely tune many years ago on our Gourd recording Simple Gifts

“Polska efter Nylandspojkarna” or simply “Mitt’n” is a traditional Swedish Polska that I heard first on YouTube played by Lauren Douglas. “Hamborgar Walking Tune” is from Norway and is associated with the playing of Knut Juveli. 

I first encountered the music of guitarist William Ackerman when I moved to California in the late ’70s. “The Bricklayer's Beautiful Daughter” is one of his most well-known pieces and I am excited to include this captivating and engaging composition on my recording.© Imaginary Road Music (BMI)

“Aisling Gheal” (“A Vision Bright”) is a lovely Irish slow air that I learned from my dear friend and amazing musician Brian Bigley. An Aisling is a traditional song in which a woman character personifies the country of Ireland.

“Slängpolska Från Vrigstad” is a joyous Swedish polska that I first heard played on a YouTube video by a group of amazing Swedish musicians. My arrangement for guitars draws heavily from their very inspired and inspiring music making. 

Lliw’r lili ymysg y drain” (“The Lily in the Blackthorn Bush”) is a Welsh tune I learned from Barry Phillips. He and I played this tune in a live stream concert and it has stuck with me. “The Lament for “Roe Owen O’Neill” follows and was composed by Turlough O’Carolan (1670–1738). This arrangement is mostly from the playing of John Renbourn, who was a great inspiration to me in my early days of playing in open tunings. 

One of my favorite pieces of music is the Requiem by Gabriel Fauré (1845–1924). I remember singing it in my college choir and performing it live at Holy Cross Church in Santa Cruz. Both my father and I loved this piece, in particular the “Pie Jesu.” 

“New Morning Rain” is a new recording of “Morning Rain,” which was released in 1988 on a Gourd recording titled Orison. The aforementioned William Ackerman loved this piece and strongly encouraged me to keep composing. 
©Orison Music/Gourd Music)

I learned the melody to “Jag Unnar Dig Ändå Allt Gott” for a concert at the Carmel Bach Festival that I played with my dear friend and virtuoso violinist Edwin Huizinga. Our duo, Fire & Grace, has had the good fortune to perform at the festival many times with some great musicians. This song was part of our concert called The Frozen North in 2019.

On that same concert we also played “Konvulsionslåten,” which was composed by Anders Norudda, a great contemporary Swedish composer and musician.
© Figs. D Music,Inc. o/b/o Misty Music AB

The final track, “An Daingean,” was composed for my brother’s wedding in Ireland in County Kerry. The title is the Irish language name for the town called Dingle, where I have spent time and where I have very dear friends who are also amazing musicians.
©Orison Music/Gourd Music)

Recorded in Santa Cruz CA, 2020–21. Mixed by Donogh Hennessy at Studio Mhic An Daill.Mastered by Rainer Gembalczyk at Sienna Digital.
Artwork by Lynn Piquett.
Cover photo by Michelle Madalena (
Song Notes by William Coulter and Neal Hellman.
Pat Zylius — Editor
Produced by William Coulter.
Executive Producer — Neal Hellman
Drones on tracks 1 and 8 by Jon Antossen (
William Coulter plays a custom Meridian by Mike Baranik and plays on D’Addario strings exclusively.
Thanks to Olov Johansson and Andreas Ralsgård for help with the Scandinavian tunes.
Special thanks to Craig Wilson for the tune ideas.