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The Withe & Stone Recordings

John & Jan

Samples from Spotify,
Isabella in Sunshine

Jan and I made several trips to England together. One of my favorite experiences was climbing the 4000 or so year old labyrinth to the top of Glastonbury Tor. I had a dream that I had accompanied her when she was a Priestess to an enclave there. While the males ringed the bottom, the women progressed up the switchback path to a stone circle at the top. It’s hard to see now and some say it isn’t really there, but that doesn’t detour many each year from taking this spiritual quest. It was the inspiration for the Circle Path. Jan snapped this of me on our ascent.

Inspired by the labyrinth around Glastonbury Tor, this original modern folk collection follows the cycles of life and beyond to the realization that we are the journey, not the destination, on the Circle Path.  Performed by me, John Corbin Goldsberry, on a variety of instruments like Guitar, Mandolin, Hammer Dulcimer and some like the string drum and the Humblebee he invented for this project, The Circle Path is that journey, following the death of my songwriter wife , blending mysticism and the struggles of the life path that all of us face. While deeply personal, it is at once accessible to all who undertake the climb to the epiphany of our existence.


I wrote this in summer of 1997 while musing over the climb around the labyrinth on Glastonbury tor Jan and I had taken one foggy morning in 1989. We were both feeling homesick for a place we had never lived, in this lifetime anyway.  It languished in a file box for years until we started to lay out The Circle Path, and it occurred to me that this might be a great way to set the tone for this collection.

I used to have a wire strung harp that sounded much like this, but sold it several years age, as musicians do, to pay bills during the lean times. I played it here on an old Dusty Strings Dulcetta Hammered Dulcimer, a very small instrument, and was pleased at how well it sounded. I also used handmade Mideastern sheep bells I picked up back in the 70’s sometime.

The traveler sat on a rock, and pushed back a lock of unruly hair and stared up at the night sky. The stars set amidst the blackness shone brightly, each one a messenger of hope, each one with a voice, a blessing.

It was quiet here, with only the sound of the wind in the grass. Somewhere in this land’s memory he heard sheep bells. The small harp on his back caught the breeze and the wire strings hummed, seemingly eager to join the memories. He could feel his need to reply and he pulled the harp from over his shoulder and placed it on his leg, one cheek resting on its carved side. His fingers danced lightly on the bronze of the strings playing, not a familiar tune, but one from the beating heart of the earth, it’s endless font of grace and beauty.

It wasn’t so much inspiration as supplication, playing tunes of the angels, lifting his prayers with each note, one for each soul he had met. Those whom had helped him along his difficult odyssey, for those he had cared for, those with no voice to speak up with, for the forgotten ones, for the ones with hands out pleading only for love, the one thing there is no short supply of, for those whom had thrown themselves from grace and had yet to discover it always follows you, for all his friends distant in time and space who, before and after, trod this same path through the wilderness, the moors, the forest, the mountains, the shore. Shaman, Merlins, Bards, Saints, Poets, Dreamers all.

There was always one to tread the path, there had always been. Sometimes many, sometimes one, but though the grass grew tall and threatened to obliterate it, it could never be lost if there was one willing to walk it.

Two lights caught his eye in the valley below, a car speeding down the empty road on its rush from here to there. He knew they could not see him, or the stars, or hear the wind or the music. They were unaware of all but there destination, the culmination of there dreams, the goal, never realizing tell it’s over that the journey is the most important part, the questions, not the answers are what make us who we are.

So one more blessing goes out then for those who do not see, as he shouldered his harp, walked slowly down the hill, and crossed the highway. Walking into the first light of morning he smiled and thought of those who travel past him. They would meet again, for although there road slices thorough his arrow straight on its way to the sea, his is a circle which all must eventually walk.

Skipping my Boat

Jan said this one came to her in a dream. she was walking down a path made of stones, and in between lights were coursing around. At any junction where two met they would burst in intensity for a moment then move on. She woke up and scribbled the whole thing down while I was at work. She sang it to me and It immediately became one of my favorite tunes.

Skipping my boat

Words and music by

Jan Goldsberry June  2001

Another day dawns on a misty horizon

Storm clouds transforming from sea

Another day breaks that I can surprise in

I never know what waits for me

A laugh and a heartache my constant companions

I never go sailing alone

Come rain or come wind I don’t feel abandoned

I’m always heading for home


So I’m skipping my boat on the water

skipping my boat or these seas

riding the crest of my troubles oh

And ride on the waves to my dreams

So I’s skipping my boat on the water

I’ll skip on my hopes and my tears

I’ll fly in the face of my troubles oh

And ride on the waves to my dreams

 Sailing away on unbroken waters

The stars reflect back up at me

Leaning over the bow I can almost imagine my part in infinity

Pathways unmarked yet always connected

All that I do affects you

And I cannot say that it doesn’t matter

How we live the life that we choose.

The View from Castle an Dinas (Into the Mist)

Jan and I and three of our kids had the privilege of spending the summer of 1998 in a little, and sadly, no longer existing theme park just outside of St. Columb in Cornwall England. Just next door was an Iron age hill fort, and on a trip there I was struck by the vision of different events in time all happening concurrently, and felt I was a personal observer to all of them, even though I had no words to explain it all. The experience stuck with me and I wrote this a couple of years later.

    Music: Jan Goldsberry

    Lyrics: John and Jan Goldsberry

The wind it keeps blowing across an endless sea

It brings me jumbled pictures of who I used to be

These valleys spread beneath me, these ancient mounds of time

Old memories dancing through me, profound and so divine

I pray to God for him, in names I do not know

I lay him in the ground like the crops I should have sown.

We can’t protect our golden ages, the hands of time will turn the page

The signs are all around us, the king has gone, our time has come


Retreat into the mist from whence we all appeared

What dies and what lives on, It’s not the future that we fear.

Into this mystic landscape, we find it’s more than chance

Tell me whose hands have drawn these lines leading to this circumstance

Here beneath me, so ancient, these cairns of others’ lives

There is no name for this man, no stories to eulogize

This earthwork now surrounds him, a fortress proud and strong

A cold wind passes through me, I hear a distant battle song

Off in the distance, well beyond the Seven Stones

There’s a cloud I see rising that will sweep away our homes

I cannot save my children’s laughter, nor sustain their many dreams

In the fading light tomorrow beckons, rising up on angels wings


We’ve plowed the earth, mined her wealth, we’ve fished out of the sea.

Standing here there’s a vista of all our history

The naked hills of china clay slag, the crumbling (winding) engine sheds

Still, there are boats out in the harbor fishing for the forgotten dreams within our heads

These valleys spread beneath me, these ancient mounds of time

Old memories dancing through me, profound and so divine

The nameless ones who stood here, never really fade away

The light remains even at our passing, joining tomorrow to yesterday

In Circles

Before we were married, Jan and I took a trip to England. I had been there before but she had not. On our first night we ended up at Arundel and when Jan got out of the car and saw at the end of the street her first real castle, as opposed to a Disney one, the reality of where she was made her literally dance in the middle of the road. Years later that image was the beginning of these lyrics. At one time in a fit of despondency, I threw them out, but Jan fished them out of the trash, made a few minor changes, wrote a tune for it, and told me it was her favorite thing I had ever done. She made me see the significance of what I had written. It became the spoke for the wheel of this whole collection.

In Circles

Music: Jan Goldsberry

Lyrics: John and Jan Goldsberry

You spread your arms out wide as your world came crashing down

A brilliant soul burning in the night

You rake your gentle fingers through the empty space in time

And bring down dreams that bring us light

Chorus:     In Circles , you slowly turn the tide

                 In Circles , to turn our inner eyes

                 You slowly turn the tide and turn our inners eyes ,

                 To endless circles, endless circles

I’m tired of politics and the details of work-a-day

Theses well-trod roads just leave me cold.

So you can take these things these useless things for where I want to go

‘Cause I found you dancing in the road

Chorus:    In Circles, the stars sweep overhead

                And dance,  In Circles , while everything is done and said

                The stars sweep overhead while everything is done and said

                And fade away  In Circles , dance away In Circles

Dispel the vague illusion that the dancer spins alone

Oh, the faces change in every breath we take.

One more time round this mountain, the way I used to jest.

Now I see the spiral footpath I must make .              

Chorus:  In Circles, the long road though it seems to go

              In Circles, is still the shortest path to dreams

              The long road though it seems is still the shortest path to dreams

              To go In Circles, to dance in circles

 Repeat first chorus ( key change)         

A Hope Carol

We picked up a book one time of poetry from Christina Rossetti, a Victorian Poet and Brother to Dante Gabriel Rossetti. , the Pre-Raphaelite painter, from whose interest Jan had led her to Cristina. She felt a deep infinity to her and could see her sitting at a desk next to an open window onto a garden, the sound of distant children’s laughter and birdsong, writing these words. This inspired her to write the melody, I think the most beautiful she ever composed. Her dream was to hear one of the English cathedral choirs sing it. Some day I hope one chooses to. These are Christina’s original words which Jan altered only slightly to be more lyrical. I have since borrowed her tune for In The Tent of Stars

A night was near, a day was near, 
Between a day and night 
I heard sweet voices calling clear, 
Calling me: 
I heard a whir of wing on wing, 
But could not see the sight; 
I long to see my birds that sing, 
I long to see. 
Below the stars, beyond the moon, 
Between the night and day 
I heard a rising falling tune 
Calling me: 
I long to see the pipes and strings 
Whereon such minstrels play; 
I long to see each face that sings, 
I long to see. 
Today or may be not today, 
Tonight or not tonight, 
All voices that command or pray 
Calling me, 
Shall kindle in my soul such fire 
And in my eyes such light 
That I shall see that heart’s desire 
I long to see. 

The Man in the Moon

Lyrics and Music: John Goldsberry

Ican’t think of any particular event that triggered this lyric, other than general frustration at not working at music at the time, and being overwhelmed with adult life. Jan added the twinkle little star part in the middle which was voiced by me and a whole lot of plugins.

The man in the moon dropped in last night

He and Miss Muffet stopped in for a bite

They said little boy blue was out for the night

Chasing cows through the Milky Way

They ask my opinion on kippers and kings

And did I think trouble went around like a ring

Did you ever hear such a curious thing

Did you think it would make me cry

I say to myself down and said where did you go

Why did you leave as I started to grow

They both shake their heads and softly said no

It’s a trick of perspective you see

Like all the king’s horses and all the kings men

You’ve been marching away since this story began

You went straight away in search of an end

For something you thought might be

Now I sit at a desk while my dreams all die

The telephone rings, the debts pile high

While I’d rather be somewhere up in the sky

Singing songs with the man in the moon

Twinkle twinkle little star

How I wonder what you are

Op above the world so high

A diamond in the sky

They both smiled and stood and said thanks for the tea

But they had an appointment at a quarter to three

They said look them up if by chance I was free

They’d be happy to shine on down

So I’m sleeping out in the yard tonight

And I don’t care if the midges may bite

For the stars overhead are a beautiful sight

And the moon is shining down

So when you sit at your desk in your dreams all die

The telephone rings and the debts pile high

Wouldn’t you rather be up in the sky

Singing songs with the man in the moon

Oh what a wonderful tune

Singing songs with the man on the moon.

Revolving Door

I must confess, that even though Jan put this down in the track listings as a possible song for this collection, I never paid that much attention to it. It wasn’t tell after her death when I realized it was never even typed out, but only existed as the fragments of two old song of hers she had combined, that I knew I had to act. I had to add one line to make it come out right, as she never finished one verse, but the result floored me. She told me the story I needed to hear in my grief. I am still here. The story isn’t over.

Revolving Door

 Music and Lyrics by Jan Goldsberry

It’s another sad old story or so the story goes

An old man feeling restless at the aching in his bones

And he wonders if tomorrow he’ll see the light of day

Or close his eyes to find that he, just like an old memory slips away.

He remembers scraps of childhood, bits of tattered dreams

The light it shone much brighter then now days so it seems

If only he could just remember the way that song was sung

He thinks he’d finally have the answer to keep away the darkness when it comes.

But its not over just cause the lights go down

These things keep happening that turn your life around

A new beginning can look like it’s the end

But there’s always so much more

Life’s a revolving door

She died only last autumn his wife and lifelong friend

Now all he knows is loneliness, the heartache never ends

But he’s a daughter and a grandchild who need his memories

To build a path from then to a future paved with life’s uncertainties

So, Life goes on and in its time our chapters slip away

and we tire out from clinging hard to hold our yesterdays

We must trust that there’s a future out there built upon our dreams

This story’s still revolving round the circle, so it seems

Closer Than the Beating of my Heart

Caribbean Bluegrass, is what comes to mind. This is Jan all over. The bridge is what really sets it off. She wrote this before I ever met her. It’s been locked away far to long.

Closer Than the Beating of My Heart

  Music and Lyrics: Jan Goldsberry

Early morning sunlit rays, soft and misty rainy days

Brilliant starry nights of midnight blue,

Cardinals on scarlet wings, happy songs I love to sing.

The little things I love to do with you


  Cause’ you’re my closest friend, you’ll be there ‘til the end

  Closer than the beating of my heart

  You’re my eternal lover, there’ll never be another

  Closer than the beating of my heart

  Closer then the beating of my heart

Piles of golden autumn leaves, fragrant smoke blowing through the trees

Rosy sunsets in the air

Stormy days descend on me but you are there you’ll always be

Even on the dark days I have peace….(chorus)

(third part)

And so the seasons they spin ‘round and we keep dancing through them

In and out of time we stay as one

With change being the guarantee, the present is always a memory

All my lives begin and end with you…

Sunlight splashes the summer leaves, lavender dappled shadows weave

Checkered patterns in the air

The heady smells of earth and green, fluffy clouds so white and clean,

I feel a sense of this oneness we all share …(chorus)

When I Close my Eyes

As much as this sounds like I wrote a lament for my wife, she penned this after having to come back from England. We were trying to move there permanently, but alas, it was not to be. In latter years she saw it not as England itself, but separation from what she saw as an idealized village, filled with music, laughter, love and creativity which she named Withe & Stone, hence the land I now inhabit.

When I Close My Eyes

     Music and Lyrics: Jan Goldsberry

I see you when I close my eyes, the heartstrings forever straining.

To reach you the longing lingers on , a bittersweet song refraining.

Chorus:  Without you I never feel at home , I feel alone wherever I am.

              I need you like night needs the day, just a breath away,

                    from heaven

I see you when I close my eyes, pleasant memories I recognize,

Yet I feel your cool breeze upon my brow, and even now

I start with surprise

Chorus:  For I should just be able to open any door

              And find you in front of me , not just a memory

              You’re more real to me than the waking state I’m in

               Then the ache sets in, I’m not …in heaven

I see you when I close my eyes , in the sunshine and the rain

To be with you in any mood you’re in, in just loving you I risk the pain

Chorus:    For I should just be able to turn myself around ,

                And find you in front of me, not just my memories

                I need you like night needs the day ,

                Just a breath away… from heaven

I see you when I close my eyes…

Wend Through the Day

We did a few Renfairs latter in our career, and I wrote this to be one of those ‘everybody sings together at the closing ceremony’ things. Never happened, but it was a nice fantasy. I did however work great in our track list to complete the day that began with the sunrise of the first story, and “Another day dawns” from the first song. It would then be followed by the lullaby to cap it off. Things change, and I felt the big boisterousness of this song needed to segway to what followed. but I’m getting ahead of myself…

Wend through the Day

When the clear light of morning peaks over the earth

And the dewdrops like diamonds all shine

The world reaches forth like an infant at birth

To the infinite vistas of time

To the infinite vistas of time

The sun warms the barley and the wind blows the sails

The horse journeys forth on his rounds

The milkmaids come back with their buckets and pails

And the hares scurry forth through the downs

The hares scurry forth through the downs…

Chorus:       Savor the feel as you wend through  the day

                   Cool shadows reach over the grass

                   All the happiness found here shall ner’ fade away

                   Though the space of this moment shall pass

                   Though the space of this moment shall pass…

The earth keeps on turning , it waits for no man

The sun keeps on climbing ‘til noon

The miller is grinding , the carpenter sands

And the piper pipes a new tune

The piper pipes a new tune

Adrift in the moment you glide through the day

Like water that flows down the stream

Through fields where your mind can take leisure to roam

And the drone of the bees guides your dreams

The drone of the bees guides your dreams…  (chorus)

The dusty roads shimmer in afternoon gold

The song of an anvil still rings

From memories past to futures untold

Don’t forget what the present can bring

Don’t forget what the present can bring…(chorus)

Bellas’ Vision

As I was mixing songs down for this, and missing Jan and her wisdom and producing input, I went to bed one night and had a long dream. In the dream I heard the voice of Isabella. I have to back track just a bit. About two months before she passed, Jan and I were both having a lot of breakthroughs in our lives and confronting a lot of obstacles we had been carrying with us our whole lives. It was incredibly cathartic. I had dreamed that my body sloughed off leaving a small boy with raven wing hair and emerald green eyes. She congratulated me on finally meeting my inner child. We called him Corbie, from my middle name meaning crow, and the obvious reference from his hair. She showed me a picture she had painted called “Isabella in Sunshine”, and said that that was her inner child. She thought the two were great friends. She also felt that we both would be moving on from this plain of existence around November the first. “This is who we can be there,” she said, “whenever we want too.” She died two weeks later and I’m still here whatever that means. So in the dream Bella plays for me all these songs, but in reverse order to what she had originally wrote. The songs became clips, like we were moving backwards in our journey. Finally, it ended up with individual phrases that, in her voice, made a coherent message. I woke up from this dream and ran to the front room, Spread the lyrics out on the floor and cried. There it was. Just like in the dream . Bella’s voice rang in my ears. I finally felt all the grief and joy rolled in one come spilling out. She knew it was there, just what I needed to hear in the way it needed to come out. It was what all of this had boiled down too, the reason these songs had to be put down the way they were, the reason I needed to record them. I immediately started to record what I had heard and knew exactly how and where to put it. Maybe I’m nuts, or just maybe, she’s still here, and this existence is not what it seems. Whatever your beliefs are, here is Bella’s message.

Don’t forget, wherever I am, in and out of time we stay as one. For the story’s still revolving round the circle and, singing songs, where on such minstrels play, when everything is done and said, our pathways unmarked, are always connected. We will meet again, for all your friends, distant in time and space, can never be lost.


This Fragile Bliss

This short piece was from Jan’s notebook. She started it as a song lyric, but let her mind go and wrote down her impressions as she went. It seemed fitting as I could not record her reading it, to have the voices of some of her children and grandchildren read it instead.

This Fragile Bliss

Mosaic patterns of green and gold, Sunlight dancing on the leaves, sparkling crystal azure air, clouds and wings accented by the breeze. Warm breath of basking earth, ambrosia scented waves lift to be inhaled and infused and disturb the stagnant slumber of my natural heart, my inner eye, stirring the memory of some other place just on the fringes of my deliberate mind. It’s okay then. I’m suddenly still and at peace.  I almost don’t breathe, wary of frightening this bliss like some fragile bird feeding in my garden. At once I know just where I am, what land the sun is lighting, and at the same time I realize it’s not of this earth, or is it? Some hidden realm I don’t remember visiting, or some present view reflected through another’s eyes.

Night Prayer

his was going to be Jan’s closing for the cycle. I find myself singing it to say goodbye, and at the same time I hear her singing it for me. I guess thats how spirit works. I had no music from her, so I just closed my eyes and this is what came out.

Night Prayer

Lyrics by Jan Goldsberry

Music by John Goldsberry

Sleep, close your eyes

Be at peace

And know that you are loved

Sleep, rest your weary soul

Watched by spirits eyes

And know that you are loved

Sleep while the stars dance cross the heavens

The sleeper’s angles hasten by your side

So, sleep, caressed by moonlight

Kissed by starlight

And know that you are loved

“It’s my favorite time of the year when leaves fall and winter draws near…”
The All Hallows Watchers, the cover painting,is one of my treasures and resides in my personal gallery. It’s a view of the upper reaches of the village of Withe and Stone. The thatch building is our new French Patisserie!
This fine work exists to me only as a single overexposed photograph. It was painted and sold before Jan and I met, but it remindes me of that late summer, early autumn nexis and the special magic the long shadows hold.
This one The Gardeners Cottage, is happily and safely in the hands of our daughter now and show Jan's fondness for the season and its colors.
An alternate unreleased take of Painted Ponies with a classic bluegrass feel.

Holiday Traditions

When one mentions the holidays now, most people think of December, but for thousands of years, we have developed traditions for the most important time of the year for the agricultural world as the Harvest Home, the celebration of the “Last sheath cut”. This, with the Autumn Equinox, the old Celtic new year, gave us our modern Halloween, Thanksgiving, Harvest Fairs, Hayrides, Apple festivals, and Corn Mazes. It is the gate of winter, the time of transition in a very real sense, from the vibrant green of summer to the cold solitude of winter. So let us celebrate together with our own cycle of music and song. Here’s to your Holiday Traditions!

Celtic Labyrinth Jan Painted this back in the ’90s as a small picture which sold in Fairfield Iowa to be used as wall decor for a restaurant/Tea Room. I only have one photo of it, so It’s not very big, but I used it on the Physical CD

The layout of this coincides with the story in the novel moving through the autumn day and. when a storm blows through, in impromptu dance at The Three Sisters, the fictitious tree home of Jan & I.

Holiday Traditions

Jan wrote this song around 2007 when the idea first began to evolve for what she saw as an interactive double CD with music and sound effects, that you could put on in the background while you hoasted a party. She talked about including recipes, party ideas, and the like, but there didn’t seem to be a way for us to go that direction then. We did record this song in, and I began doing sound effects beds, but we needed more material to sing and we had no venue at the time as I was working retail, and shortly after Jan had a TIA, followed by heart surgery, and the project never happened. We dusted off the idea two years ago and had another run at it, but once again, health issues stopped us dead in our tracks. Jan had a full-on stroke and lost her ability to sing and play. We didn’t talk about it much after that, but I knew it would always be a sore point. We looked for a workaround and were kicking around interesting ideas, which resulted in our Patreon page and the “Radio” version with narration which she could do, along with some cooking videos she had planned, but her death came before any of that could happen.
So this becomes the last unpublished song of hers that she sang herself, the keystone to the project which after 12 years, I can share with you now.

Holiday Traditions

  Music and lyrics    by    Janice Goldsberry

 Blue skies, green and grassy fields, children running to and fro in play, 
Lazy days restin’ in the shade, 
watchin’ the clouds float by and drinkin’ lemonade
But it’s my favorite time of year…
When the leaves fall and winter draws near…
It’s those…

Holiday traditions, Holiday Ties
Bringing us together under those gray and cloudy skies.
Oh, the gray days don’t get me down 
When my loved ones gather ‘round, you know it’s…
Those days that make me smile 
The memory of those days just makes me smile

To see the bright and shining eyes of the children as we trim the tree 
The smell of goodies baking, a mug of spicy tea
Snowflakes falling gently to the ground 
Voices raised in song in song, what a lovely sound.
You know it’s my favorite time of year…
When the leaves fall and winter draws near…
It’s that…

Holiday traditions, Holiday Ties
Bringing us together under those gray and cloudy skies
Oh the gray days don’t get me down
When my loved ones gather ‘round, you know it’s…
Those days that make me smile
The memory of those days just makes me smile 

Winnowing The Wheat

I wrote this tune on the mountain dulcimer while willing away hour in a dulcimer shop waiting for customers in the offseason. The rhythm of the tune made me think of the tossing of the wheat into the wind in a threshing barn, an experience I’m sure everyone can relate to.

Winnowing the Wheat

Music by John Corbin Goldsberry

To My Garden

When we started back to work on this project a couple of years ago, Jan thought to take a longer look at the day might be the way to go, including heading out to the garden and the chickens. A few months ago as I sat contemplating how to do all this, I remembered the idea and could see so vividly her visiting her garden in late fall, after the harvest, and putting it to bed for the winter. A garden in fall can be bittersweet, watching all you have tended going away, even though we know that It will rise up as a new garden in the spring. Jan always loved her gardens, so even though I wrote this after her death, it is with her voice I hear it in my head, and I see her in her most joyful setting.

To My Garden

                                               Music   and  Lyrics   by  John  Goldsberry

Good Morning Garden, so I say
Now that summers slipped away
you’ve grown so green and tall
now you stand ready to face the fall
and fall we must to rise another day

But while we can we shall not morn
I’ll harvest seeds and dry your corn
I’ll dig your roots and gently keep them
cool and safe within my celler
tell the spring when you shall be reborn


And so the dance goes on and on
none of us shall dance er long
so let us spin and dance and play
and love each other come what may

To all my little chickens by my side
Eating bugs for you, that helps the garden thrive
You give me eggs, we keep you safe
We’ll shield you from the colds embrace
Our plesent conversations, through the winter we’ll abide

These herbs shall from the rafters dry
I smell these flowers and I sigh
How I shall miss you every night
I’ll count the days tell lengthening light
It’s hard without you truly, but I’ll try

With fiery reds and orange around me
through all these years it still astounds me
joy and sadness still have bound me
such is life and love and loss..

Chorus (x2)

Ode to Apples

I seem to be including a poem in each one of these recordings, so here’s my trip to the orchard:

Ode To Apples

a Poem b     y John Goldsberry

With muted thumps the apples fall
With careful aim from atop our ladders
Into the outstretched blanket held
With four corners of family

Gathering corners like a dance
We shuffle to the wagons baskets
Toddlers’ cradle windfall treats
Shiny globes of autumn colors

Cool and crisp the morning air
Sweet and earthy melds in fragrance
Sunshine scatters the morning mist
To heighten the contrast of lengthening shadows

Chestnut shire hitched to the wagon
Nigh 16 hands of gentle strength
Through the years our close companion
Eats apples proffered by our young

Now children nestled amongst the baskets
And leather rains in practiced hands
We trundle off with the weight of harvest
We walk together through the land

Old worn boots scuff through the weeds
That loose there seeds to loamy earth
My eyes turn up to rusty leaves
And deep sapphire sky beyond

 Green and red and golden hewed
These fruits drank sun and summer rains
 To distil this scent of autumn sweet
That fills our heads with musings

Drink in fall and listen closely
Family laughing with delight
Dusty stamps of horseshoed footfalls
Sheep and crows and creaky wheels

Through the gate and across the bridge
That spans the sparkling valley stream
Past the pen of Glouster Old Spots
Soon to the orchard loosed to gleen

Up the road along the hedgerows
 Ripe with berries, flush with birds
Squirrels and hedgehogs grow fat for the winter
Feasting on their harvest spread

So now the yield of time and spirit
Blessings to our kitchens come
Our hands can cradle such perfection
Held in natures simple form

 Slices, chutneys, sauce and syrup
We fill our larder for the winter
Baskets full of fragrant orbs
That hint of future pies to come

While in the old stone millhouse this
Abundance from the earth has come
I taste the cider on my lips
Such sweet anticipation

Round the Suffolk Sorrel he turns
Our nostrils’ steam in morning cold
The wheel it turns and so the years
Connecting generations

Now cellars stocked and cider casked’
The creaking wooden press is cleaned
Until the next year’s harvest comes
From our gracious apple trees

So when winter blows trough branches bare
And pigs have gleaned the orchards’ clean
We wassail the trees and give our thanks
For the blessings of the seasons.

Me and My Very Best Friend

Alternatively called “Running Through Meddows” this was one of Jan’s personal favorites, so much so that she wove its lyrics into a children’s story she wrote called Nina of the Pink Hair.” Maybe it’s imagery is a bit more summer, but I think it fits the autumn just as well. I wrote the last verse to sum it up. Weeks before her death she wanted to hear me play it on the Dulcimer, and I had forgotten the Run, run intro. She couldn’t sing anymore, but she still got the point across in correcting me. I am so grateful she did.

My Very Best Friend

      Lyrics by Janice Goldsberry (completed by John) Melody by Janice Goldsberry

Running through meadows the wind in my hair

Gazing at clouds as they pass through the air

Climbing old fences or wading a stream

Picking wildflowers like you’ve never seen

Fishing for tadpoles of chasing a frog

Walking the length of an old weathered log

Closing my eyes and spinning around

Helpless with laughter we fall to the ground


These are the thing that I’d do as a child

Oh, to be a child again

No need to worry just go on my way

Just me and my very best friend

Awed by a sunset of colors so bright

Watching the firefly’s light up the night

skipping a stone cross a Christal clear creek

Flying away on a swing in a tree

Laughing at squirrels that race through the trees

Singing along to the hum of the bees

I know this love in me, it never shall part

I’m never alone with this joy in my heart

These are the things we knew as a child

Oh, to be my child again

To love without thinking, to know without doubt

That we are our very best friends

The Ingathering/Sing the Harvest Home

The harvest home and the hock cart are very old and mostly extinct traditions in rural England. Robert Herrick (1591-1674 / London / England)  wrote a poem about it in which h spoke of “The harvest swains and wenches bound for joy, to see the Hock-cart crown’d. Crown’d with the ears of corn, now come, and to the pipe sing Harvest Home.” Mechanized farming made the scything of fields archaic but a few groups still intact the old ways. The poem at the beginning is, for the most part, traditional. I used my official creative license to change a few nonsense lyrics. The song itself is my own invention, my contribution to the long legacy of call and response fieldwork songs designed to keep a rhythm for the workers to scythe too in relatively perfect choreography.

Sing the Harvest Home 

 Lyrics and Melody by John Goldsberry
Sing the harvest home, the sickles swing the barley falls
Sing the harvest home, It won’t be long before the winter comes
There’s bright red apples on the tree…As we walk out in the mornin’
No finer place I’d rather be…As we walk out in the mornin’
A fresh corn dolly’ll crown our doors…as we walk the golden fields
Our happy hearts can ner be poor…as we walk the golden fields
The sun slips up and or’ our heads…as we clear the fields towards evnin’
We’ll cut the neck afore we’re bed… as we clear the fields towards evnin’
We’ll load the hock cart’n hitch the team…We’ll fill the barns ta’ burstin’
No finer harvest ever seen…We’ll fill the barns ta’ burstin’
A pile of beef and cider cold…We’ll dance until the mornin’
We’ll laugh and sing, our loves to hold…We’ll dance until the mornin’

Punkie Night

“Punkie” is an old English name for a lantern. On Punkie Night, around the time of Samhain, these would be made of swedes or mangel-wurzels. pumpkins, a new world crop, were rare in those times in Brittain. Farmers would also be known to put a Werzel “Punkie” on their gates to ward off marauding ghosts Throughout the English Westcountry, children once marched through the town for treats and as this song attests (based on the old rhyme,) candles, which were a luxury for the poor.
Similar traditions exist in other Celtic cultures, with similar names such as Pooky night in Ireland, Pwca in Wales and Bucca in Cornwall all being Celtic names for fairies, leaving the origins of the name more uncertain.

Punkie Night

Lyrics and Music by John Goldsberry based on tradition

Mangle werzels from the ground, grow so big and fat and round
We’ll dig you up and brush you off and take you back to town
Washed and hollowed , nice and clean, We’ll make our marks and add a string
And from a poll we’ll let you swing the finest lamp arround

For when the shadows start to creap we’ll stop them with your light
We need you all to lead the way to roam on Punkie night
Give us a candle, give us a light, If you dont you’ll get a fright
If you havent a candle a pennys all right
It’s ours to ask on Punkie Night

So when the shadows out will reach and spirits like the owls screach
and through the woods the wind it howels and gives us such a fright
We’ll hold our lanterns in the air, we’ll round the town without a care
It’s ours to march and laugh and sing Hurrah for Punkie Night!

For when the shadows start to creap we’ll stop them with your light
We need you all to lead the way to roam on Punkie night
Give us a candle, give us a light, If you dont you’ll get a fright
If you havent a candle a pennys all right
It’s ours to ask on Punkie Night

A Funny Song

When we started doing Renaissance festivals, Jan wanted a song she could sing for kids that they could sing along on. We were going to make sculped “Dancing Dandy” style puppets to tap out the song on paddles and worked out a cute routine. Very sweet memories wrapped up in this one.

A funny Song

Lyrics and Melody by Janice Goldsberry
You say you want a funny song, I’ll sing you one right now
About a pretty little milk maid and her polka-dated cow
Who gave polka-dotted milk in a polka-dotted pail
And they danced down the lane in the morning
dancing down the lane in the morning.
Oh..Ho.. the flowers grow, the wind blows wild and free
If I could have my way, I’d spend each and every day
In the present company
You say you want a funny song, I’ll sing you one today
About a hansom farmer boy and his horse that hatted hay
Who only wanted coco in a battered pewter cup
And to dance down the lane in the morning
dancing down the lane in the morning.
You say you want a funny song, I have just the one for you
About a fancy pirate sailor and his singing cockatoo
Who only sang the tune and words to Auld Lang syne
While they danced down the lane in the morning
 dancing down the lane in the morning.
You say you want a funny song, I have this one about a goat
Who spent his time in pink pajamas and a purple petticoat
Sipping vanilla cappuccinos and nibbling chocolate souffles
Then he’d dance down the lane in the morning
You say you want a funny song here’s one that might surprise
It seems a baker’s wife was shocked one day as she was putting out her pies
To see a cow, a horse, a cockatoo, and a petty coated goat
All go dancing down the lane in the morning. dancing down the lane in the morning

The Golden Bough

Jan wrote this Instrumental back in the early ’90s. as a Hammered Dulcimer Duet number for our shows at Silver Doller City in Branson MO. I asked her what she called it, and she playfully answered “The Golden Bough”. I was impressed, then she laughed and confessed she had just read the bright orange slipcover of Sir James George Frazer’s’ classic book which was right behind my head where I sat. The name stuck, and here we are.

The Golden Bough

Music by Janice Goldsberry

Watch the Sun Go Down

Jan dives into Old-time Ozark music with this great bouncy classic from 1991

Watch The Sun Go Down

Lyrics and Music by Janice Goldsberry

Nothing I can think of could be finer than the sight

of soft golden meadows in the pale moonlight

so cuddle up and hold your little sweetheart tight

and help us watch the sun go down

Daddy, Mary Lou and little Bobby Joe

Are pickin’ up the fiddles and away we go

Unkle Frank is strummin’ on his old banjo

just to help us watch the sun go down

were sittin’ and a swayin’ on an old porch swing

pickin’ and a-singin’ like anything

all the little children dancin’ in a ring

won’t you help us watch the sun go down

heavy work behind us at the end of the day

Come and sit a spell now Ma, what do you say?

Work’l be a-watin’ for you anyway

won’t you help us watch the sun go down

come and help us watch the sun go down

Well livin’ off the land is a hard sort-a life

It’s early in the mornin’ tell there’s no more light

It takes laughter and song to ease the worry and strife

So help us watch the sun go down.

The Three Ravens/The Nos Kalan Gwav Watchers

“The Three Ravens” is the one tune in this collection that is not an original. In fact, it is the oldest song I know. it was included in the songbook Melismata compiled by Thomas Ravenscroft and published in 1611, but it is far older than that. It is a medieval tune that has been theorized as the last remaining fragment of a lost story cycle similar to the Arthurian tales. The exact meaning of the song is lost to history however and many theories abound as to the symbolism within. The mystery only seems to add to the haunting feel of this ancient modal melody. The second tune is one of mine and refers to the painting Jan did on the front cover, The All Hallows Watchers. Nos Kalan Gwav is Cornish for the eve of the first day of winter which in the Celtic lands and lore November 1st. The watchers refer to not only the “Punkies”, but if you look closely there are five crows on the breast of the thatch at the far end of the street. In the old Celtic calendar in order to make up for the variations in the earth’s rotation in relation to the solar and lunar cycles, you ended up with five extra days. Those days were counted after the celebration of Samhain and became the days of the dead, outside of the normal calendar year. The crows live between the planes of reality, traveling back and forth and watch, as in Odens Ravens, seeing and remembering, and guiding the souls of the living and the dead across the vail that is traversable on this time. Crows and Ravens still figure often in our modern Halloween imagery. Happy New Year!

The Three Ravins/The Nos Kalan Gwav Watchers

Music by Who Knows and John Corbin Goldsberry

The Autumn Leaf Shuffle

Another Mt. Dulcimer Tune inspired by watching our kids kick up the leaves in our yard.

The Autumn Leaf Shuffle

Music By John Corbin Goldsberry

Racing the Storm

I cheated a bit here, I wrote this melody back in the ’70s when I first played at Silver Doller City in Branson MO. I had to do “Period” music, and I didn’t know enough so I made up a lot of “Old” tunes. I called it Marmarose, the name of the old mining town that had originally stood on the spot. Kind of a spur of the moment thing. All these years later, I pulled it out, dusted it off, and gave it a shiny new name. That’s called recycling and it’s a good thing!

Racing The Storm

Music by John Corbin Goldsberry

Thunder Over the Mountain

Jan wrote this in the ‘8os but never finished it. She had one verse and a chorus. After her death, I searched for it but it had vanished. It’s possible she had tossed it for some reason but I guess I’ll never know. I did find some old notes with two verse fragments and the bridge, and I remembered the great chorus and the melody, so I pieced the song together and wrote chords for the verse.

Thunder over the mountain

Lyrics and Melody by Janice & John Corbin Goldsberry

Thunder over the mountain rumbling over my head
raining’ down like a fountain soaking my earthly bed
I’ve known it all along this is my song and
tomorrow is my wedding day
no thunder over the mountain can keep me away

I left this mountain town when I was just 18
I’ve traveled far and wide always searching for dreams
I took an image of your face and left my heart behind
The chance I took on loosing you, I must have lost my mind

The rains kept coming down, but I thought maybe I could find
A place of sunshine somewhere else then maybe I’d be fine
But the clouds they never parted for me and I swear it’s true
deep inside I always knew my only light was you

I vowed that nothing in this word could stop me coming home
I’d never found an answer out there and always be alone
I’m happy that I’m back to stay and I shall never go away
The only place I want to be is where your love shines down on me


I pray that you’ll forgive me and I’ll give to you my heart
I promise to my dying day that we shall never part
And every footstep though the rain is closer to the light
The clouds are parting in my soul and guides me through the night

Down every road we travel well be side by side
Every storm that we endure we’ll hold our heads with pride
And every sorrow that we share we’ll hold eachs hand
And lean upon each others strength, at last I understand.

The rains not letting up and I can’t see the light of day
But walking through a raging storm seems a price I’m glad to pay


Painted Ponies

Jan wrote this, in the mid- ’80s for a women’s group she helped organize in Rodgers Arkansas. Somehow it never seemed to fit in any past projects, but somehow the melancholy nature fit the autumn feeling of a song shared amongst friends in a rainy get- together.

Pretty Painted Pony’s 

Music and Lyrics by Janice Goldsberry

Pretty painted pony circling up and down
Pretty lights and music your feet never touching the ground
There were times that I wished I could be like you
Making all the children’s dreams come true
You know there are times my pretty pony’s
around you go not thinking of what your missing
Or the life you’ll never know cause there’s nowhere you can go
While you’re making all the children’s dreams come true
but when I need to be a child
I need you to take me just for a while
Escape this crazy world and take me back to where I’ve been
Let me ride let me spin around
Don’t let my feet touch the ground
Take me with you my pretty painted friend.
Take me round and around and around and around
Don’t let my feet touch the ground
Take me with you my pretty painted friend.
I can see you smiling, and I know the reason why
You don’t let this world bother you nothing takes you by surprise
There were times that I wished I could be like you but
I know you can’t make all my dreams come true

No Judgment

At one time Jan had this song slated for the ending of The Circle Path but set aside for The Night Prayer instead. This one she forgot the melody for, and it existed only as a small scrap of paper with the lyrics in her folder of such. I’m happy it found a home here.

No Judgment

         Lyrics  by  Janice  Goldsberry   Melody  by  John Corbin  Goldsberry

It’s not black It’s not white
It isn’t day or night
It isn’t wrong or right
It just is what it is what it is
It’s not up or down
A smile or a frown
You swim or you drown
It just is what it is what it is
It’s not enemy of friends
The beginning or the end
If your ridged, you can’t bend
It just is what it is what it is
 It’s not the truth or a scam
Hell, or heaven be dammed
I am what I am it just is what it is
I am what I am it just is


In the darkest and coldest time, joy and beauty shine brighter.

Released November 17th 2019, a year to the day of Jan’s death, and fulfilling my task of recording all the the songs we had mapped out together. The cover has one of her Trompe Le Ole paintings, many of which were winter scenes. The collection of tunes is set to the visions of winter in Withe & Stone, full of celebrations, rituals, togetherness, and hope.

Dressing the House

A seasons’ turning song to mark the transition from autumn to the first days of winter. From the Roman holiday of Saturnalia to dressing the churches in rural Briton our modern holiday, we continue to dress our houses for the holidays. I hope this might spark the fire for you this year. Wassail!

Dressing The House

Lyrics and Music by John Corbin Goldsberry

Step we on through the wheel of the year

through the Spring and the Summer gone-o

and now that the autumn has taken it’s bow

we gave it a rousing cheer-o

Now it’s time to arrange, to set the stage

to bless the new year in-o

so we’ll take to the town and make our rounds

to say that the seasons here-o

Through the fallow fields to the sunlit hills

and the woodlands crowned in mistletoe

We’ll stomp and sing tell the valleys ring

with our songs of winter Joy-o

Scrub the mantel , beat the rungs

and sweep the floors a clean-o

Out with the rushes and the herbs

that blessed the autumn time so

then it’s off to the woods to gather in

the pines and the holly green-o

to mark the winters turning time

and bless us all within so

Up we’ll pass on the chairs and ladders

boughs all tied in chains-o

to dress the beams and the windows cleaned

and the mantels all in green-o

We’ll pile the wood by the heath swept clean

and a fire blazing warm and bright

With our labors gone and the feast laid on

We’ll laugh into the night

A Matter of Heart

Jan vacillated over doing this song because she felt the time for fist pounding and preachy folk songs was behind her. I recorded it here not only to preserve her creativity in what I feel is a great tune but also because I see it not so much as preachy, but rather as reaching out in love to help someone see what they are missing.

A Matter of Heart

Lyrics and Music by Janice Goldsberry

So, there’s nothing I can do to make you change your mind

You say you’re saving yourself for a better place, your love for a better time

Yet all those things you’re waiting for may just not ever come

And you’re the loser in the end when all is said and done

Is there nothing I can do to ease the aching in your heart?

Waiting for your choice, your opportunity to start?

Yet you find the more you try the less you seem to win

When you give your life away is when your life begins

Everybody needs a wall that they can lean on

Yet were forever building walls that keep us apart

When will we learn that if we don’t grow, if we don’t grow together?

Livings not a matter of mind, it’s a matter of heart.

Slap your hands upon the table scold the injustices of war

It’s so easy to divide right and wrong when your safe behind your door

Do you see the hungry eyes and feel the emptiness of loss?

 Your stirring up rebellion when you never count the cost

A Robin in the Hedgerow

The Midwinter Fair, celebrating Yule, the  hibernal solstice, Meán Geimhridh, Montol, Christmas, or whatever you label it, came from the marking the winter solstice time, the darkest days of the year. with a celebration in the joy of the return of the light, the rebirth of the sun. In the “village” of Withe & Stone, it is a day of merriment and communal festivity, from the fair and feast to the roaring fire that blazes through the night. The British Robin has long symbolized the life in the midst of the cold, much like the evergreens. Here is my song to start a magical day.

A Robin in the Hedgerow

Lyrics and Music by John Corbin Goldsberry

The sun is rising or the hills

to illuminate the valley, still

the glint of diamond frost upon

the grass is where my eye is drawn

I don my boots and coat and hat

I stoke the fire and I pet the cat

Then it’s out the door

I venture like a traveler bold

In a cloud of breath, I fly away with the cold against my skin

with a wide embrace I face the day

It’s when the winter truly can begin

While all along the hedgerows

music rises all around

a flash of red amongst the twigs

that lines the road to town

and the merry whistle leads the dance

that lifts from the world of grey

as the robins bless the morning of this perfect frosty sunny winter day

The wren in answer to him sings

while the distant tower bells they ring

below the village softly lies

curling smoke from the chimneys rise

from cottage doors, the children run

to play amongst the morning sun

With tents and flags the merchants keen

assemble on the market green

The fires lit, the minstrels tune the celebration starts,

today’s the day that marks the turn of the season that is dear to all our hearts

So now is the time to take a chance

won’t you jump right in and join the dance

now you can let your spirit fly

like the robins taking to the sky

In a cloud of breath, you’ll fly away

with the cold against your skin

with a wind embrace to face the day

that’s when the winter truly can begin

Blessings and Wishes

I wrote this song for Jan during a difficult passage in our relationship. I present it here as a prayer for all to start the season of hope.

Blessings and Wishes

lyrics and melody by John Corbin Goldsberry

I wish you laughter I wish you light

I wish you stars on long dark nights

 I wish you music, dancing dreams

 Rolling thunder and tumbling streams. 

I wish you hope, I wish you joy

 Success in all your love employs

 I wish you friends on every side

 peace in your heart to be your guide

 I wish you blessings in all you do

 from all of us so blessed by you 

I wish you wings the to set you free

 from golden deserts to silver seas

I wish my wishes all come true

that every wish I wish for you

can change your sky from gray to blue

and in it you can shine

Awaiting First Snow

I wrote this song after, just days before her death, Jan called me to the window so we could share the winters first snow. She saw winter as a time of joy, rest, contemplation, and spiritual awakening. I played it for her, the last song we ever shared together and she said she found it lovely. I am now grateful for the chance to share it with you. I will forever see her in every first snow, for she has become all the beauty that she created in her time, for all time.

Awaiting First Snow

Music by John Corbin Goldsberry

Lanterns in the Forrest

Jan once posted a picture on her facebook page in the late fall showing a lantern burning in a snowy woodland with a joyous caption “It’ almost here!” That image burned in both our hearts and mind for a year before I wrote this. The idea came from a concept I had of an alternative history where Christianity never came to the British Isles.  How would the practices of then have evolved to the now? I reasoned that the idea of the hilltop fires of old would have migrated to the heart of each village and connecting them with lanterns through the countryside symbolized the connection between all communities. Everyone was welcome wherever the might be, led to warmth and comfort in the dark of the year by the light that connected us all.

Lanterns in the forest

Lyrics and Music by John Corbin Goldsberry

Beneath the sod the hedgehogs sleep Wrapped in dreams of green and warm

While overhead the branches bare stand open to the storm

While overhead the branches bare stand open to the storm

As rose of sunset fades away and clouds come slipping from afar

They spread their wings across the sky and cover up the stars

They spread their wings across the sky and cover up the stars

A snowy owl, without a sound to break the hush, he flies

The shadows grow and soon the snow starts falling from the sky

The snow comes down on empty nests, an artist paints in white

In sleeping caps, the cedars tipped to pass the winters night

Alone we walk down forest paths Where through all seasons we have roamed

But now it seems this time of dreams is when we’re heading home

But now it seems this time of dreams is when we’re heading home

Or frozen brooks at solstice time we wander ever through the night

Tell through the web of branches bare we glimpse a distant light

Tell through the web of branches bare we glimpse a distant light

A lantern blazing up ahead a pool of shining gold

That pulls me to a glowing path to this I can behold

That pulls me to a glowing path and guides me through the dark

This joyus line of lanterns in the Forest

Ahead a tower bright like fires of old once upon the hills we used to burn

Holding back the darkest time and calls the suns return

Holding back the darkest time and calls the suns return

Come all come all the beacon cries to all who fall within its sight

For sake off all this fire burns with all its warmth and light

For sake off all this fire burns with all its warmth and light

The lanterns in the forest all burn within our hearts

Dispels the darkness and the fear that keeps us all apart

There’s room for all around the fire there are no strangers here

We raise our voices loud and strong and clear

So, chanced in woodlands when you walk look for our light to home and cheer

and raise a cup and share our songs to cycle through the year

let’s raise a cup and share our songs to cycle through the year

I’ll Be Around

Another of Jan’s beautiful songs, that gives me comfort on long dark nights.

I’ll be Around

Music and Lyrics by Jan Goldsberry

Late at night I stand and watch by my window

Wondering what tomorrows going to bring

Ups and downs I had a few in my lifetime

Still and all this life’s a funny thing

Alone a lot I’ve had to learn to protect myself

So fearful of the hurt that love might bring

But there comes a time when you find you must

Take a chance and learn to trust

Tear down those walls

And finally let someone in

Help me carry the load when I’m feeling weary

Hold me in your arms when I’m feeling down

And If I ever act like I’m going crazy

Say that you’ll be around, and help me get my feet on the ground

Now I don’t know what the future may hold for me

I just know that I’ll always want you there

And I’ll be there whenever you need to lean on me

By now you know how much I really care

I’ll help you carry the load when you’re feeling weary

I’ll hold you in my arms when your felling down

And if you ever act like you’re going crazy

I’ll be around to help you get your feet on the ground

Midwinters Morning

This was my attempt to write a universal song that could apply to all of us without regard to the faith of the listener. It is my wish that all of you can feel the spirit of love this midwinter, that can stay with you through the darkness.

Midwinters morning

Lyrics and Music by John Corbin Goldsberry

At times it feels the worlds in darkness

And the suns a million miles away

Fear and pettiness surrounds us

Another one of endless days

Just know that this is all illusion

And doubt can weigh you down like stone

Reach out to all the souls around you

We may be apart, but were never be alone

There’s a spirit in the season

it guards you in the night

And lifts you to the morning light

The snow comes down midwinter’s morning

The cardinals dance amongst the trees

When The snow comes down midwinter’s morning

I’m just content to be.

When the snow comes down midwinter’s morning

Pine boughs clothed in robes of white

I watch the snow midwinters morning

And I know that I’m alright., that all the words alright

A mother sings and rocks her baby

A dear nestles against her foal

A lonely soul looks up and thinks maybe

Love shines down and already knows


The wind it whistles through the woodlands

The bells ring out across the town

The fields are lying fallow and the snow is drifting high

A rainbow flash of ice can catch your eye

A fire of pine and sassafras

A song of peace and love

For earth below and sky above.


Heap on the wood the wind is chill

But let it whistle as it will

Then laugh and sing and make good cheer

For each day comes but once my dears

And so, the seasons round they roll

Through summer sun and winters cold

Cast off your load of worldly cares

And dance like children if you dare.

Far Away

This is the first song of Jans’ we recorded back in 1990. It just felt appropriate that for the last time in presenting a joint album like this, that her voice be heard once more, and this somehow closes the circle. When we did this before I couldn’t sing harmony and play a different harmony part at the same time, so for the recording it was just her. She always regretted that choice, so now it is my chance to join her one last time with this new mix.

Far Away

Lyrics and Music by Janice Goldsberry

Far away, I hear the whistle blow

The train’s running through the valley down below

I thought one day that I might breakaway

But these old rollin’ mountains won’t let me go.

I’ve walked these hills since I was very young

I remember holding tight to mommas hand

She taught me how to find true happiness

first to love the Lord, then this land

Now so many years have gone and I tried to walk away

but I always knew that I’d come back someday

When I look into the past I begin to wonder why

I’d even try to leave this life

I always thought that I could find true happiness

all that I have dreamed from the start

and though I roamed this whole world over

here lies the love of my heart

A Joyful Heart

This, out of all of Jan’s songs was the most difficult to do. Both of us went through long periods of depression. I once put all my music aside for 7 years. Even though I knew logically it was wrong, depression is not logical. In this period Jan took out her guitar, wrote and practiced every day, with hopes that I would come back from my pit and join her again. She felt it coming herself and wrote this song in her fear that all the joy and the dreams she had of us sharing our creativity was going away. Soon after she put her guitar away and stopped writing. Eventually, I did come back, but the damage was done. She battled her own depression for years, and it led to the health conditions that finally took her. Towards the end, we both came to terms with life and found our happiness again. We started singing again, and dusted off the old songs and planed out three albums. But she never wrote another song, and this one was too close to home to go back to. After she passed it pained me to see it unfinished, scribbled out verses on random notepad pages. I assembled them, wrote a bit to connect them, and with great joy, remembered the melody she wrote. This had to be our last song together, the most painful, but the most important. There is such hope in these words, and to any of you in the throughs of depression, know that you are not alone and that the answer is within you. Find the light, find your child who will know what to do.

A Joyful Heart

Lyrics and Music by Janice Goldsberry

See the children laughing and playing

Hear them sing, see them dancing for joy

Where does the joy and the laughter come from

Where does the dance have its start?

In a Joyful heart

Why do you weep, why are you morning?

So, your heart is weary and torn

Gone is the joy, your heart has been silenced

Heavy the feet of your heart

Sad and heavy your heart

Simple the things that make our hearts merry

Simple the dreams of a child

Infinite spaces exist in their vision

Feeding the joy in their hearts

Their drinking in joy from there hearts

See the children laughing and playing

Hear them sing, see them dancing for joy

They see only brightness as worth their attention

Filling their world with its light

Come witness this beautiful site.

So, cast off the world that has shackled your dreams

Break free of the prison of doubt

Throw open the shutters that blind you from light

Dance with a loved one, laugh with a child

Reclaim the joy in your heart

Requiem (64 bells, Winter, To Know the Lands of Summer)

Finally, my tribute to the brightest light in my world, my best friend, and the deepest most complex person I have ever had the chance to know. She was a mystic, a philosopher, an artist, a mother, a wife, a poet, and my love.

It  was  the  practice  in  the  parish  church  days  to,  upon  the  death  of  a soul,  to  ring  the  church  bells  once  for  each  year  of  their  life.  In the novel, the custom is to stop when you hear the bells to send thoughts, memories, and love out to the departing soul as gifts to take to the next world. I  joined  them  with a  music  box-like  tune  played  on  her  little  Dulcetta, which has not been played since she had a stroke a couple of years ago and could no longer do so. Her hammers, her dulcimer, it seemed right. It was last tuned by her as well, and I took the slight discordency as the note of loss within the sweetness.

The second movement is a poem called Winter that I composed for her both to highlight her love of all seasons, and her embrace of the cold and dark as equals, and the symbolism in the cycles of our own existence, and our journey on to wherever our energy goes when it ceases to animate these forms.

Third movement: …and according to the old faith, that place is the Land of Eternal Summer, where she now dwells, and I will join her in my time, to sit by the fire in the little pub on the green, hold her hand, and laugh with her once more over that cold pint of cider.


Words by John Corbin Goldsberry

To rest, to dream of coming spring

Of crocus, snowdrops and bluebells

Of small uncurling fiddleheads

Of redbuds then of dogwoods

While all is gray, and ground is stone

And ice and snow lay settled

Bare branches whistle with each wind

A soft and lonely chorus

They sing of summer in their hearts

Of birds and squirrels and leafy boughs

Of bright blue skies and golden sun

And dappled light on loamy earth

Drink within the scent of joy

And dry the tears of unkind doubt

Embrace the lesson of the earth

And take the loving hand of Winter

Though you may miss the green and bright

Blue skies and pristine clouds of white

Look deep within your sorrowed heart

And see beyond illusion

Fear not, cry not, hide not from this

Cold season of the cycle

All must rest to wake once more

To know the lands of summer

One hour of us live in 1990

at Silver Dollar City MO.

A Place in Time

Over Two Hours of traditional folk music taken from our 30 years together featuring old favorites, rarity’s, and previously unreleased ‘orphan’ songs

In looking back at the body of Jan and my work together, it easily divided into two worlds. The first, fashioned by our years playing together at, along with building on my 20-year history with, Silver Dollar City, a Branson MO theme park, with lots of old-time, folk, and bluegrass. After a few years, however, we migrated to more Celtic and British music. While we did some original tunes, some of which are being reworked to return elsewhere, most of our repertoire was old folk tunes. After her passing, in cleaning up our music catalog, I have decided to take one last look at our “folksong” years together before looking ahead to new and different horizons. I can’t and would not ever say goodbye to Jan, she will always be entwined in my soul, my life, and my heart. This collection, however, is my way of preserving her legacy of bringing joy and light wherever she could spread it and honoring her spirit. Some of what is included here were never released, bits of uncompleted projects, some from short term CD’s, three even pulled from a VHS tape that we never got around to doing in a studio, along with some old fan favorites. The quality of some are not the best, I hope you do not feel disappointed, but as a retrospective, this is about who we were, in marking a place in time for all of us.

On A Cold Frosty Morn

Our classic 2 disk collection of Carols, Noels, & Christmas dances from the 13th – 19th centuries sung and played on hammered dulcimers, lute, bagpipe, whistles, & other period instruments. Over two hours of music!

Originally recorded in the early ’90s, This collection by Jan and John Corbin Goldsberry was our most popular ever. It features a number of little known, but “should not be forgotten”, holiday tunes that attempted to break out of the same 12 Christmas tune category of so many commercial releases. Using period instruments and a novel approach has made this a standard for many families’ Christmas day playlist. Our version of Carol of the Bells was picked up by several “in store” services and has gone one to be a classic. We hope this can be a favorite for you too. Wassail!

Alternate Takes and Stand Alone’s

This song was a true orphan. I wrote it in the mid-90s and rewrote it with Jan’s input while we were in Cornwall in 98, and recorded it in 2001 while living in Iowa. It was released Sept. 1st, 2001, on the now-defunct We revisited it when looking at new albums to record a couple of years ago, but Jan felt it sounded too dated and wanted an all-new arrangement. This might still come to pass as I’m considering a new version for a future project, but this is the one she sings on and while it didn’t fit any of the albums I just put out, it deserved a home in her digital legacy.

When Recording Jans songs, I had the idea of doing them in the style of her favorite artists, but quickly realized that only the Beatles could make the White Album, and this was going to sound schizophrenic. This cut, however, was so much fun done in the style of the Eagles, I had to release it on its own.

Jan’s original idea for this was to open and close Holiday Traditions with two versions of the same song, with this one concluding with a more Christmas, orchestrated vibe. I thought it was lost forever, but I found an old backup disk with the raw multitrack on it, reassembled it and mixed it down. I think this is my favorite version with more upfront vocals and a cleaner sound.

John’s standalone music

Pre and post Withe & Stone

Minstrel’s Tales 

Way back in 1987, after returning from my first trip to Europe, I began to listen to the muses that I had met there, and the result was my most ambitious recording to date.

I collaborated with Bill Hilburn on song lyrics, Jay Gaumer and Jeff Ruckman and Keven Crainshaw on arrangments, and the incredible James Yale for art and layout. We gathered other musicians like my long time fiddle and mandolin player Shawn Pitman, whose boyhood image I borrowed for the cover, Discovered Kansas City Musicians Curt Bartlet for guitar, Bill Crain for Sax, Lisa Write for Harp and young Fredrick Scott Jr. as the boy soprano voice of Edward the Fifth.

My goal was to do an album as Branson MO had never done. It was embracing a new style, and new technology. This was the first CD produced in the area, one of the first independently produced CDs in the U.S.

For many in the area, it was the first CD they ever saw. only 1,000 were ever made and a year later I married Jan and my old solo recordings were supplanted by the change in direction towards the two of us. For years it was requested by old fans and collectors, but Jan and I wanted to look forward to fresh ideas, not back to my old premarriage years. That has changed, and with Jans passing, and the completion of our projects together, it was time to look back at where I left off, in order to help see where I need to go next. Now was the time to put a new polish on an old dream. With nothing to work from but the disk is shown here, I electronically dissected it, remixed, remastered, and reimagined what technology kept me from in 1987. Technology has shifted again and the dragon has stirred. CDs are passing and the ethereal has replaced the corporeal. The local has been supplanted by the world. The muses have whispered the rest of the story in my ear. This is the result.

In A Butterfly Garden

A Hammered Dulcimer Concert with Elizabethan, Baroque, Georgian & Edwardian Ensembles.

For Hundreds of Years, the Hammered Dulcimer was used in both dances and incidental music, both on its own and in ensembles. Please join us for a cotillion to dance through the gentle evening in the beauty of the butterfly garden.

On The Playbill for Tonight

I Live Not Where I Love (Robert Morley-1600)

La Mourisque / Came Ye from Newcastle? ( Tylman Susato 1551 / Playford’s English Dancing Master 1651).

The Child Grove / The Parson Farewell (1701/1600)

Morgan Megan (Turlough Carolan 1670-1738)

Canarios (From the Suite Espanola by Gaspar Sanz- 1674 )

Jock O’hazeldean (Walter Scott 1771-1832)

A Variation on Christian Petzold’s Minuet in G (1725)

Young Jane or the Gallant Hussar (1850)

Planxty George Barbazon (Turlough Carolan 1670-1738)

Margery Feed Well the Black Sow- Round (Thomas Ravincroft 1609)

 The Field Mouse Ball / The Fox and the Hare (English / Irish Mid 1900’s)

Si Bheag, Si Mhor (Turlough Carolan 1670-1738)

Bhear Mi O / Mo Ghile Mear ( Eriskay Love Lilt- Scotland 1905 / Seán Clárach Mac Domhnaill (1691–1754)

 Planxty Irwin (Turlough Carolan 1670-1738)

The Roving Ploughboy / Speed the Plough (Nineteenth Century Scottish / John Mooreshead 1799)

She Moved Through the Fair (Irish Medieval)