Liner Notes - Plains


1. Dubuque

(Traditional, arranged by George Winston; Dancing Cat Music (BMI))
A variation on an old American fiddle tune. I first learned this song from the great harmonica player Rick Epping, and I originally played it as a solo harmonica piece. I also used it as part of my soundtrack for George Levenson/Informed Democracy’s beautiful children’s film PUMPKIN CIRCLE.

2. Before Barbed Wire

(Philip Aaberg; Mixed Emotions Music (ASCAP)/Beautiful Daughter Music (ASCAP))
By the great Montana composer and pianist Philip Aaberg from his recording OUT OF THE FRAME (Windham Hill). To me, his music totally captures the essence of Montana, and his recordings have been a big inspiration for this album. One of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had is driving in Montana listening to Philip’s music and going to the places that inspired him to compose the pieces. His other three solo piano recordings are HIGH PLAINS, UPRIGHT and CINEMA (all on Windham Hill). For more information, see his website at

3. Frangenti

(Massimo Gatti; Slocum Hollow Songs (BMI))
A love song by the Italian mandolinist and composer, Massimo Gatti. This arrangement was inspired by the version by Butch Baldassari and the Nashville Mandolin Ensemble from their album PLECTRASONICS (CMH).

4. Give Me Your Hand/La Valse Pour Les Petites Jeunes Filles

(Traditional, arranged by Patrick Ball & George Winston; Dancing Cat Music (BMI))

This medley features the first parts of two songs. Give Me Your Hand, a traditional Irish love song, is inspired by the version by the great wire string Celtic harpist Patrick Ball, from his recording CELTIC HARP I: THE MUSIC OF TURLOUGH O’CAROLAN (Fortuna). La Valse Pour Les Petites Jeunes Filles (The Waltz for the Young Ladies) a traditional Belgian waltz, was also inspired by Patrick Ball from his recording CELTIC HARP IV: O’CAROLAN’S DREAM (Fortuna).

5. No Ke Ano Ahiahi [In the Evening Time]

(Traditional, arranged by George Winston; Dancing Cat Music (BMI))

I usually do this piece as a guitar solo, but it worked out for piano as well. This is the first Hawaiian song I fell in love with back in the early 1970s. It is most inspired by the version by the late Phillip “Gabby” Pahinui (1918-1980), the founder of the modern slack key guitar era, on his album THE GABBY PAHINUI HAWAIIAN BAND, VOLUME 2 (Panini). Hawaiian slack key guitar is my favorite tradition of all time and it is what I spend most of my time on producing albums of the great master players, and working on my own solo guitar playing.

This song has also been prominently recorded with the slack key guitar by the Sons of Hawai`i (with Gabby Pahinui) on the album THE FOLK MUSIC OF HAWAI`I (Panini), Gabby’s son Cyril Pahinui on the album 6 & 12 STRING SLACK KEY (Dancing Cat), Keola Beamer on the album WOODEN BOAT (Dancing Cat) and Led Kaapana & Bob Brozman as an acoustic steel guitar and slack key pure duet (for a future Dancing Cat album).

I always envision Hawaiians looking out over the water at night when I hear this song, and I always hear it in my head when I look out over the vastness of the plains.

Dedicated to the memory of Larry Angen.

6. Graduation

(George Winston; Dancing Cat Music (BMI))

7. Teach Me Tonight

(Gene De Paul & Sammy Cahn; Hub Music Company, Inc. (ASCAP)/WB Music Corp. (ASCAP))

Inspired by the vision of a slow dance on a Saturday night. A great standard written in 1953, with music by Gene De Paul and lyrics by Sammy Cahn. Special thanks to the late, great New Orleans R&B pianist James Booker and the great New Orleans R&B/jazz pianist Henry Butler for their inspiration.

8. Rainsong

(George Winston; Dancing Cat Music (BMI))

9. Merry-Go-Round

(Public domain, arranged by George Winston; Dancing Cat Music (BMI))

10. The Dance

(Tony Arata; Morganactive Songs Inc. (ASCAP))

By the noted country songwriter Tony Arata. This song was featured on Garth Brooks’ first album, GARTH BROOKS (Liberty).

11. Cloudburst

(George Winston; Dancing Cat Music (BMI))
I play this in the middle of Carol of the Bells in my Winter concerts.

12. The Swan

(Angelo Badalamenti & David Lynch; OK Paul Music (BMI))

Music by the noted soundtrack composer Angelo Badalamenti, with lyrics by David Lynch. This song was on Julee Cruise’s first album, FLOATING INTO THE NIGHT (Warner Brothers), which came out in conjunction with the TWIN PEAKS television show.

13. `Ike Ia Ladana

(Queen Lili`uokalani, public domain, arranged by George Winston; Dancing Cat Music (BMI))

This is another piece I usually play on solo guitar that also worked out on piano. It was written in 1887 by Hawai`i’s Queen Lili`uokalani, one of my favorite composer of all time (along with the Hawaiian slack key guitarists/songwriters Dennis Kamakahi and Keola Beamer, and the late jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi). She also used this melody for another song she wrote called Queen’s Jubilee. This was inspired by Dennis Kamakahi’s version on his album `OHANA (FAMILY) (Dancing Cat). Dennis is my favorite vocal interpreter of Queen Lili`uokalani’s piece. Another great slack key guitarist whom I’ve had the pleasure of recording, Ozzie Kotani, is my favorite instrumental interpreter of Lili`uokalani’s pieces. This song was recorded at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.

Dedicated to the memory of Sally Neumiller.

14. Plains [Eastern Montana Blues]

(George Winston; Dancing Cat Music (BMI))

15. Angel

(Sarah McLachlan; Sony/ATV Songs LLC (BMI))

By Sarah McLachlan, from her album SURFACING (Arista). It was also featured in the film, CITY OF ANGELS. Again, thanks to the late James Booker and Henry Butler for inspiration.

16. Waltz for the Lonely

(Chet Atkins & Charles Randolph Goodrum; MCA Music Publishing (ASCAP))

This beautiful ballad by the great Nashville guitarist Chet Atkins worked best for me as a piano solo. Chet recorded it on his video CHET ATKINS AND FRIENDS “MUSIC FROM THE HEART” and his recording THE MAGIC OF CHET ATKINS (Heartland).

Produced by George Winston
Co-produced by Cathy Econom & Howard Johnston
Recorded & Mixed by Howard Johnston
Additional engineering by Justin Lieberman, and Mark Slagle, Adam Muñoz & Jack Crymes
24 Bit Mastering by Bernie Grundman at Bernie Grundman Mastering in Hollywood, CA
This CD was recorded direct to and mastered directly from Sonic Solutions 24 bit system.
CD manufactured with JVC K2 Laser Cutting Process
Piano technician: John Pfeifer
Art direction by Sonny Mediana
Assistant art director: Joanie K.Y. Chan Jones
Liner notes assistance and editing by Corrina Burnley
Research assistance by Gail Korich & Saskia Lucas
Photography by Willard Clay