“If 'home is where the heart is," then the singers and musicians who together make up Dearest home have clearly pour their hearts into their new self-titled album. Deeply steeped in the traditions of Pennsylvania, my home state, they have chosen wisely from their wide repertoire of Civil War songs, Appalachian ballads and fiddle tunes. Singing with passion, skill, and the resonant match of voices that seems born of the blood or next-of-kin, Dearest Home presents us with close harmony in many senses of the phrase, on stage and on CD. In their voices, you can hear the peaks and valleys of the landscape, feel the past and future marching together, and sense the shadows of the mountains.” - Si Kahn
At Dearest Home events you'll hear expressive vocals interweave with sprightly dance tunes as the band performs traditional American music--Appalachian, Folk, Old Time and even Early Country. You'll sing and clap along, and tap your toes to favorites from the Carter Family and Jean Ritchie. Don't be surprised when they delight the crowd with a related number from Scotland, Ireland, or England. Or hear them sing and play authentic Civil War Era Music, in period costume. Or, have fun with an eclectic blend! Passion for these traditions shines in every note! And like the band's lineup, Dearest Home's music unites generations as it blends fiddle, dulcimer, guitar, concertina, whistles, banjolele, and percussion.
Dearest Home loves to play in diverse settings, including festivals, concerts, historical events, dances, corporate events, eateries, and all kinds of celebrations and parties. Supportive and engaging teachers, they present a wide array of workshops. They're especially versatile wedding musicians too. They can even provide an officiant!
Dearest Home, from Gettysburg and York, Pennsylvania, played their first show in 2011. In 2013, their eponymous first album featured authentic Civil War Era music with three Northern Appalachian folk tracks. Folk Alliance Triple-Crown winner Si Kahn describes it below. During their 2015 UK tour, Dearest Home released their second album Back to Laurel Hill: Pennsylvania and West Virginia Folk Songs from the Bayard Collection, Volume I.
Some of the band's favorite shows have taken place at Marymass Folk Festival, Wee Folk Club, and Warwick Folk Festival in the United Kingdom, and, not to be outdone, at stateside organizations including Music! Gettysburg, Appalachian Studies Association Conference,Civl War Institute, Common Ground on Seminary Ridge, Greenwood Furnace Folk Gathering, Frostburg Appalachian Festival, Pennsylvania State University, and Heart of the Arts Festival, along with wineries, retirement villages, schools, and congregations.
Dearest Home is Margaret Folkemer-Leonard, Beth Folkemer, Stephen Folkemer, Chris Barnabei, and Ryan Kozak, with appearances by Ricky Czar. Former members are Chuck Krepley and Charles Thompson.
As the band looks to the future, they plan to release music from Kentucky, Virginia, and the Carolinas, and to expand performing, recording, and publishing music from the Samuel Bayard Folk Song Collection.