Contact Al Dunkleman

Track 11—From When We Were Young (2011)

The Raven  

Al Dunkleman, Heartfelt Americana Music/ASCAP


In the late 1970s, I learned to play the two-finger Piedmont Blues guitar style from Rick Stone in Boone, North Carolina. Rick is a fine blues guitarist, mandolin player and incredible instrument maker who now lives in Blowing Rock, NC.


After creating this haunting, C minor melody, for several weeks I didn’t know what to call it. I asked my wife what she thought it sounded like and she shared that it reminded her of a raven.


As I considered songs to include on the CD, I had no intention of recording “The Raven.” I didn’t feel that it was that outstanding and didn’t really think it would fit into the overall theme of the project. It was my son, Joseph, like the persistent widow in the New Testament, who kept ragging me about including the song on the album.


“Now you are going to include ‘The Raven’ aren’t you?”


And I would normally respond, “Are you pulling my leg—are you serious?”


“I’m serious Dad, you’ve got to send it to Tim Crouch,” was my son’s persistent plea.


I finally gave in. As I emailed the track to Tim Crouch in Strawberry, Arkansas, I wasn’t sure what I’d get back. After speaking with Tim on the phone, he shared that he was going right then to his studio to work on it and that I needed to check my email in an hour or two. Two hours passed and the track arrived in my inbox along with this message from Tim:


“I played my solos a little out there. The melody was being carried really well by the acoustic guitar, so I went out of the lines a little. See what you think.”


As I put my ear phones on and began listening to the track, I was stunned by what Tim had done. “The Raven” had taken on a contemporary jazz flair. I immediately sent Tim this message:



As our young people today would say, "That was sick!" Totally love it! What school of jazz did you attend? Unbelieveable mando and fiddles! This track will certainly bring some unique variety to the overall CD project. Thanks so much--I am not worthy,



In a few minutes this response came back:



LOL…thanks Al…I love jazz. Never been to any kind of music school either. Love Herbie Hancock and pretending I'm in his band with a fiddle section. The Raven, was so fun...MAN. WOW that fired me up. Proud you liked it. You played great on this.

Holler later,



Thank you Joseph for your persistence and thank you Tim Crouch—you hit this one out of the park!