Waillee Waillee


While never gaining much notice in her lifetime, Dorothy Carter might be the mycorrhizal network that connects the entire American underground. Itinerant most of her life, her mastery of hammered dulcimer, zither, and other psalterium made her well-regarded in folk scenes ranging from Woodstock to New Orleans, adept at weaving together Celtic, Cajun, and Appalachia folk traditions. But she also factored into the new age scene, an early teacher of zither for Laraaji and friend of Constance Demby, and was a lodestar for the early ’00s freak-folk scene. Her 1978 album Waillee Waillee draws her talents all together into a dizzying tour de force, conveying the feel of a hand-stitched quilt that’s also a flying carpet. There’s ancient folk melodies melting into body-dissolving abstraction. Her hammered strings, paired with producer Bob Rutman’s steel cello drones makes for a singular listening experience. One of the year’s most crucial reissues.

Andy Beta