This tune is by Brian Pickell, taught to me by Michelle MacGregor, who I believe learned it at VOM Fiddle Camp. The dots don’t do it justice, it’s a beautiful, romantic waltz, and Michelle and Shannon and Matt Heaton played it for my wedding reception for my first dance with my new husband. I think it should be more widely played.
Can’t swear to the guitar chords, but thought I’d throw them in anyway as I found them elsewhere.
In Norwegian, ‘syrgras’ (sp?) - literally ‘sour grass’ - means ‘sorrel’, for which The Session’s Scandinavian members will vouch. But surely even the Vikings didn’t eat granite.
I’ve no idea what the title means. Does anyone else? I believe that Brian Pickell plays in Canada, if that means anything…
hey, yeah, its a lovely tune allright. i got it from dermot byrne who recorded it with canadian fiddler piere schryre and as far as i know, brian pickell plays along with them on that track.
the c.d.s called 2 worlds united, its well worth getting !
Wow, I never expected this waltz to show up here. I belive that the tune was named after Santa Cruz, Ca, (a town full of granite) in the spring when all of the sour grass was blooming. That’s what my friends told me, and they have all taught at VOM. Hope that cleared up the question on the title.
Good ol’ Santa Cruz. I’ve fetched up on the beach (sometimes before the wave hit the actual sand - ow, glub!) there many a time as a kid — I learned to body surf there, not that I’ve done that for a few years. That’d make sense to me as an explanation of the title. So now I guess I’ve got even more associations with the tune than I realized. Ever had cream of sorrel soup? Yum.
Another vote in favor of the Two Worlds United album. Pierre and Dermot sound amazing together, and there are some very unusual tunes on there, if you’re into that kind of thing. (Even if you’re not…)
I just got this album last week, and this tune jumped off the album at me on first hearing. The tune is beautiful, and the whole album is recommended! By the way, the liner notes say "Brian wrote the waltz for Julie Schryer and her small acreage of paradise near Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario." Well, somehow Sault Ste. Marie got converted to Santa Cruz! A musical game of telephone, I guess…
Heheh. Lovely. Well, I’m inclined to believe the liner notes… 🙂 By the way, Fairfeather, why do you say you never expected to see this tune here?
Well, as I hinted at, I wasn’t compleatly sure about the title story. I would really like to hear the tune on that cd, it must be terrific! I probably shouldn’t have been surprised to see the tune show up here; I was really pretty thrilled to see it. Living in Santa Cruz county can sometimes shield you from the "real" world.
Sourgrass and Granite: Author, Author
Brian Pickell has just released his premiere album of compositions, "Fresh Canadian Fiddle Tunes". The liner notes say "Sourgrass [and Granite] is for longtime musical companion and incomparable friend Julie Schryer. Her beautiful farm nestles against the Canadian Shield near Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. It is a blend of meadows and forested granite outcroppings."
Julie, a fine piano player, is the brother of fiddler Pierre Schryer.
Sourgrass and Granite is often played in a medley with Muriel’s Waltz, also by Brian Pickell.
Samhadh v. Seamsóg
Sorrel, Sourlick, the acetic or ‘acute’ (ie sharp, acidic tasting) Rumex acetos(ell)a is a common plant of temperate regions, typically associated with damp Irish meadows and banks for instance.
This ‘sour leek’ (originally meaning a pointed leaf) shares its taste with the woodsorrel or pink-sorrel, both commonly mistaken for Shamrock.
None of these plants are grasses as the American monicker would suggest.
Who luvs yuh birlibirdie? 😉 You are a busy little tweeter…
Re: Sourgrass And Granite
Such a gorgeous waltz! As I write this, it’s being taught once again at Valley of the Moon (the 2021 virtual version). Just sneaking a peak at the dots here. I remember when this piece was being played a lot at sessions in the Santa Cruz, CA area. Guess I’ll finally get to learning it!
If you are a member of The Session, log in to add a comment.
If you aren’t a member of The Session yet, you can sign up now. Membership is free, and it only takes a moment to sign up.