"Crossing Paths" CD
To get your copy, send a check for $15 to
Larry Carlin
PO Box 1264
Sausalito, CA 94966
The Keystone Crossing CD

Originally from the Keystone State of Pennsylvania, Keystone Crossing -- Larry Carlin and Claudia Hampe -- crossed paths for good in March of 1995 in Mill Valley, California, when they met at the renowned Sweetwater nightclub. After talking a bit they realized that not only were they from the same hometown of King of Prussia, PA, they also attended the same grade school in 1959. And that they were fans of the same kind of music. Their major inspirations are the brother duos from the early days of country and bluegrass music -- the Delmore, Louvin, and Everly Brothers -- as well as contemporary singers such as Emmylou Harris, Laurie Lewis, and Peter Rowan. Keystone Crossing recreates old-time heavenly harmonies that sound fresh and innovative in 2003.

By Michael Hall

Crossing Paths is the first recording by Keystone Crossing, a Marin County duo that has revived the "brother duet" as a modern musical form. There is both a musical and personal story behind the recording.

The musical story is rural America's romance with the duet during the early to middle part of this century. In a simpler time, folks went for a simpler music. The Carter Family act offered mostly female duets. George Jones and Tammy Wynette did couple duets. But, the brother duet was the dominant form. Two male singers, often brothers, whose voices blended well would sing heartfelt duets, often sad. These duets make good music that also hit some strong marketing angles: proper family values, acceptance by male fans, and, of course, appeal to female fans. Bill Monroe's first commercially-successful band was the pre-bluegrass Monroe Brothers, staged with his brother Charlie around the Carolinas.

The personal story is the March 1995 chance meeting of two "sons" of King of Prussia, Pennsylvania (the "Keystone State"), at the venerable Sweetwater in Mill Valley. Larry Carlin and Claudia Hampe had even attended the same grade school (she left in the spring of 1959; he enrolled that fall). The two hit it off romantically and musically. They will return to the Sweetwater this month for their big record release party.

Crossing Paths features songs from the Delmore, Louvin, and Everly Brothers, as well as material picked up from Lynn Morris, Emmylou Harris, and Hazel Dickens. The arrangements are simple duets with dual guitar rhythms. The CD takes the listener back to a slower era, when all music was acoustic music, when love gone bad did not simply mean the quick placement of an internet personal ad, and when lovers could talk to each other at a show without shouting over screaming guitars.

Modern audiences are used to "brother" duet tunes appearing on the set lists of acts like Laurie Lewis & Tom Rozum, Sidesaddle & Co., and Emmylou Harris & Graham Parsons. The key to this type of music is the blend achieved by the voices of the performers. On this album, the couple's voice blend is outstanding and true to the genre.

The album is built around the slow, sad songs of the Delmores ("The Weary Lonesome Blues," "Midnight Train"), the Louvins ("My Baby's Gone," "The Angels Rejoiced Last Night"), and some material from Utah Phillips ("Green Rolling Hills"), Bob McDill ("We Believe In Happy Endings"), and the Everly Brothers ("So Sad To Watch Good Love Go Bad"). Along the way, some uplifting and even mildly amusing tunes balance the load, notably the Louvin's "The Great Atomic Power" and the gospel "Just Rehearsing," Lynn Morris' get-on-with-it-now-you-are-gone "What Was I Supposed To Do," and the traditional tune "When You and I Were Young Maggie." Listeners who know the Everly Brothers through their rockin' hits like "Wake Up Little Suzie" will find a whole new world of the duo's material on this CD, including the beautiful "Devoted To You."

The rich literature of the brother duets deserves attention from contemporary artists as interest continues to grow in acoustic music in general and in bluegrass-related acoustic music in particular. Keystone Crossing has done the trick in its first recorded outing. In live performance, the duo offers an even wider exploration of the genre. We hope they will return to the studio to lay down more tracks as soon as possible.

September, 1998

Reprinted from Bluegrass By The Bay, the publication of the Santa Cruz Bluegrass Society, with permission by the author.

September 4, 1998
Marin Independent Journal

by Paul Liberatore, Music Editor

The Marin bluegrass duo of Larry Carlin and Claudia Hampe bill themselves as Keystone Crossing and call their debut CD "Crossing Paths." For good reason. Larry and Claudia met for the first time that they know of at a Peter Rowan show in 1995 at Sweetwater in Mill Valley. When they got to talking, they were amazed to discover that their paths had crossed before.

They both came from Pennsylvania (the Keystone State) and actually attended the same elementary school in 1959. They also followed the same path in music. Both play guitar and sing and are big bluegrass fans. Soon after they finally met they were performing as a duo in Marin clubs and harmonizing in an off-stage relationship as well. They even look alike.

On "Crossing Paths," they cover songs by the great brother duos of the past, the Louvin, Delmore and Everly brothers, and the contemporary duos of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, and Laurie Lewis and Tom Rozum. Appropriately enough, the final cut on "Crossing Paths" is a song they learned from Emmylou Harris. It's called "We Believe In Happy Endings."

THE WEARY LONESOME BLUES Alton and Rabon Delmore (Vidor Publications, BMI) A Delmore Brothers classic from 1937 with a universal theme. Everyone has felt the lovesick blues at one time or another..

MY BABY'S GONE Hazel Houser (Central Songs, BMI) A hit for the Louvin Brothers in 1958. A song about heartbreak, without which there would be little to sing about in country and bluegrass music.

DEVOTED TO YOU Boudleaux Bryant (House of Bryant Publications, BMI) A big hit for the Everly Brothers in 1958, one of the prettiest songs ever written.

WHAT WAS I SUPPOSED TO DO Sam Humphrey - Paul Williams (Champion Music, BMI) A song we learned from bluegrass singer Lynn Morris about a neglected girl who tires of waiting so she goes and finds herself a new guy.

THE GREAT ATOMIC POWER Ira and Charles Louvin, Buddy Bain (Beechwood Music, BMI) A Louvin Brothers gem from 1952, a combination gospel and anti-nuclear country song that asks, "Are you ready for the great atomic power?"

GREEN ROLLING HILLS Bruce Phillips (On Strike Music, BMI) A beautiful lament about leaving the poor small town for work in the big city while longing for life on the homestead. Written by Utah Phillips and learned from both Emmylou Harris and Hazel Dickens.

THE ANGELS REJOICED LAST NIGHT Ira and Charles Louvin (Beechwood Music, BMI) Another Louvin Brothers song, this one from 1958, that was inspired by the late Nicolette Larson. She recorded it with Herb Pedersen in the early 1980s, as did Emmylou Harris with Gram Parsons in the early 1970s.

MIDNIGHT TRAIN Alton and Rabon Delmore (Vidor Publications, BMI) There is an unwritten rule somewhere that every bluegrass recording has to include at least one train song, so here is one written by the Delmore Brothers from 1946.

SO SAD (TO WATCH GOOD LOVE GO BAD) Don Everly (Acuff-Rose, BMI) It's always tragic to watch good love go bad. The year was 1960 and The Everly Brothers' harmony made it sound even sadder.

WHEN YOU AND I WERE YOUNG MAGGIE Traditional, arranged by Keystone Crossing Originally written as a poem from a man to his wife over 120 years ago. A song that spans the generations.

JUST REHEARSING Ira and Charles Louvin (Beechwood Music, BMI) A Louvin Brothers gospel song from 1955. All we're doing on any stage, anywhere, is just rehearsing for that big show in the sky. Hopefully we've got a long time to go until we get there.

WE BELIEVE IN HAPPY ENDINGS Bob McDill (Polygram International Publishing, ASCAP) Another song we learned from Emmylou Harris and have lived many times over. And we certainly do believe in them.

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