Changes are Coming
Jan Krist

Jerry Read Smith

JerryTo date, North Carolina's Jerry Read Smith has designed and handcrafted over 1000 hammer dulcimers and made four professional recordings featuring the instrument. He works out of his self-designed and constructed 2400sq/ft workshop in the rhododendrons and oaks next to his house (and soon, a recording studio as well) and maintains a musical instrument showroom in nearby Black Mountain called Song of the Wood Music.

In addition to assisting in the business, Jerry's wife Lisa plays the flute and piano and has joined Jerry on the last two recordings, Homecoming (part of The Strayaway Child Trilogy) and One Wintry Night, a collection of original compositions and arrangements of seasonal tunes inspired by the beautiful Christmas story by Ruth Bell Graham of the same name. It's music for all ages - from children to grandparents - and a wonderful Christmas gift.  Be sure and visit them at

StrayawayThe Strayaway Child Trilogy -- Jerry Read Smith

When I first heard Strayaway Child, the first album in a trilogy by the same name, it was sometime around 1981, the age of vinyl, and I picked up the recording on a whim.  As I listened, I realized that it was unlike anything I had ever heard.  I had never seen a hammered dulcimer, much less heard one, and I was entranced by the sound.  While more people have heard hammered dulcimers today, this record is one of my two favorite hammered dulcimer records of all time!  It has some wonderful renditions of Celtic tunes, with backing by guitar and other instruments, and a beautiful rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."

In the years following the release of Strayaway Child, Jerry went on to release two more records, Heartdance and Homecoming, thereby completing the Trilogy.  This two-CD set is a beautifully repackaged and remastered version of all three albums, now on two discs.  The sound is stunning.  In addition, Jerry and wife Lisa give an interview about he creative impetus behind the projects.  This is still one of my all-time favorite records.

Listen to a mellow original number, "Homecoming," here (click twice):

Listen to a more Celtic-laced tune, "Kesh Jig/ The Kid On the Mountain," here: 

OwncdOne Wintry Night -- Jerry and Lisa Smith

Jerry was inspired to record this album of traditional Christmas carols and three original compositions by a book of the same title by Ruth Bell Graham.  We pared Jerry with producer Jeff Johnson, and Jerry and Lisa flew to Seattle to record with Jeff.  Jeff then brought in some renowned Irish musicians, to include Brian Dunning, with whom he had recorded for Windham Hill and Hearts of Space.  The result is a beautiful recording, with rich instrumentation.  Ever since hearing these beautiful tracks, I associate the hammered dulcimer with the Christmas season, as that seems to be its language.

Listen to the beautiful "One Wintry Night" here: 

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