Here is the great new American music – here is musical composition that captures the majesty of our land and the spirit and intelligence that created it. – Catherine Austin Fitts
Each region of America, I have long thought, ought to have its own anthem. And now the American West does — especially the Dakotas and the whole Upper West: the badlands, the good lands, the lands where there live giants in the earth. – Michael Novak
POET The author of bestselling Kindle Singles, from “The Gospel According to Tim” to “Dakota Christmas” (revised and expanded as part of his new seasonal volume, “The Christmas Plains”), Joseph Bottum is a widely published essayist and poet, with work in magazines and newspapers from the “Atlantic” to the “Wall Street Journal.” The former literary editor of the “Weekly Standard” and former editor in chief of the journal “First Things,” he holds a Ph.D. in medieval philosophy and has done television commentary for networks from the BBC to EWTN, including appearances on NBC’s Meet the Press and the PBS NewsHour. His books include his latest poetry collection, “The Second Spring.” He lives with his family in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
COMPOSER Mike Linton lives in Murfreesboro, Tennessee and teaches freshman and sophomore level music theory at Middle Tennessee State University. The family broken by opposing loyalties in the Civil War, Linton’s maternal ancestors fled Tennessee to Illinois from where his great-great-grandfather Matthews fought on behalf of the Union. The family then went West, home-steading in Oklahoma and eventually scattering across the high plains of Wyoming, South Dakota, and western Nebraska where his mother was born. “Dakota Wind” is quite literally, a “going home” for him (the photographs on this page are views of the Sioux County Nebraska ranch where his grandfather helped to dig its first well by hand).
SOPRANO Elizabeth Linton is a native of Connecticut and has studied in both music and nursing at Middle Tennessee State University. Most recently she has spent time nursing in East Africa and singing the role of the Queen of the Night in Mozart’s The Magic Flute in Siena, Italy. Her performances of “The Silver Swan,” “Cantata No. 2” and “Songs of Separation” also appear on Refinersfire. She is the daughter of composer Mike Linton and pianist Janet Gustafson Linton.
ENGINEER Michael Fleming is a former music producer for WGBH Radio Boston, whose credits range from sound editorial and premastering work to producing recordings and broadcasts for numerous solo artists and ensembles, ranging from the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Nashville Opera to jazz pianist Jan Jarczyk and Nashville singer- songwriter Phil Lee. He is a violinist and holds degrees in physics and sound recording from Carleton College and McGill University’s Tonmeister program. A member of the Middle Tennessee State University’s Recording Industry faculty since 2004, Fleming was the engineer and sound designer for Refinersfire’s Christmas: Cantata No. 2 and Three Marian Carols
HARMONICA Jim Hoke is one of Nashville’s most versatile musicians, having recorded on penny whistle, harmonica, saxophone, auto harp, clarinet and flute for Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Vince Gill, George Jones, Travis Trill, Wynonna Judd, Joan Baez, Faith Hill, and Disney. He began playing saxophone and harmonica in rock ‘n roll bands in his hometown of Schenectady, NY, and came to Nashville by way of careers in Oklahoma and Santa Barbara.
Recorded April 25, 2013, in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, with Todd Waldecker (clarinet), Deanna Little (flute), and William Yelverton (guitar), with members of the Nashville String Machine.