Michael Futreal, musician and multimedia artist

Devil's Stomping Ground (2009)

The follow-up to the Dulcimers Are Go cd, Devil's Stomping Ground is a dark twang excursion into original Appalachian rock music for dulcimer, guitar, instruments/electricgourd, harmonica, flute, and other instruments. Finishing this album led me to create my trio Twang Darkly, and it is a forerunner of my more recent recordings.

Much of this disc was recorded during a period when I was reading Manly Wade Wellman's stories of supernatural doings in the North Carolina mountains.

Hark at it, if you will.

Recording Session Videos

I video-taped the recording sessions for all 12 songs on Devil's Stomping Ground and posted them on YouTube as I finished draft mixes.

Track Notes

Here's a little about each of the 12 songs on Devil's Stomping Ground.

1. No Matter the Train

electric guitar, dulcimer, HOG bass, oilcan guitar, cajon

The title to this one is a reference to "Where the Night Train Runs" from the Bukka's Bad Trip cd.

2. How the Horses Do Fly

gourdtar, electric guitar, oilcan guitar, computer

Andy and I used to play something quite like this a lot back when we did coffee houses around the Raleigh-Durham area back in the late 1990s. This one probably took longer to record than any other piece in this collection.

3. Devil's Stomping Ground

dulcimer, HOG bass, computer

This dulcimer piece is played on a DAA tuned dulcimer with capo at fret 1. I sometimes play it on the GDD (or AEE) tuned dulcimer as well.

Devil's Stomping Ground is a creepy place near Siler City, NC, where the devil is thought to pace.

4. Perry's Theme

dulcimer, electric dulcimer, flute, computer

The title is a reference to Robin William's character from Terry Gilliam's The Fisher King. The acoustic dulcimer is tuned EAA, with the electric dulcimer in EAE.

5. Escape

dulcimer, electric guitar, HOG bass, computer

One of the oldest original dulcimer pieces I play. Dulcimer is tuned GCC for this one.

6. Vacancy

electric dulcimer

A quite different realization of this this song is found on the The Dirt Roads of Nations cd. This one is a single DAD dulcimer through a crazy swelling delay.

7. Driving to Raleigh

dulcimer, harmonica, HOG bass, computer

Again, a quite different version is to be found on The Dirt Roads of Nations.

8. Elisha Expedition

guitar, banjo dulcimer, HOG bass, cajon

Putting together the dulcimer part for this one was quite challenging — the guitar piece is extremely chromatic. The dulcimer is tuned DAD, however.

The title refers to North Carolina scientist and explorer Elisha Mitchell.

9. Carving Charms


One of my older dulcimer pieces, this tune is usually played live as part of medley with "Flags" from the Dulcimers Are Go cd. Dulcimer is tuned DAD.

10. Feeling Brown Mountain

dulcimer, electric guitars, computer

In another context, the dulcimer tune here (GDD tuning) might actually sound kind of happy, but with the crazy drone guitar wash I use here as offset, it's absolutely creepy!

Brown Mountain is famous for its mysterious lights, of course.

11. Get My Gourd

gourdtar, midi guitar, computer

This an update of the first piece I ever recorded on the my DIY gourdtar; the present edition was re-recorded after the relatively recent addition of a pick up to the instrument. The second guitar in this one is, atypically, really a virtual Mellotron.

12. Twang Darkly Comes to Town

oilcan guitar, harmonica, banjo, cajon

The oilcan guitar is open tuned in a DGDGBbD. The banjo is in a modal tuning (GDCD), if memory serves. The harmonica is tuned in harmonic G-minor.