about riverlark music

Riverlark Music is a small mail order business based in Memphis, TN run by Larkin Bryant Cohen and her husband, Andy Cohen. We support an independent record label (Riverlark), a catalog of mostly Southern traditional music, accessories for dulcimer players, limberjacks and instrument jewelry. We are also musicians who play in all the styles of music that we sell in the catalog. Small but diverse, our own musical tastes and talents are rather eclectic, so you'll find dulcimer music, old time, gospel, and blues, especially blues from around Memphis. Here, in brief, is how we came to be so eclectic.

Prior to the birth of Riverlark, Larkin Bryant wrote an instruction book for mountain dulcimer players called Larkin's Dulcimer Book, published in 1982 by Ivory Palaces. Her concept was to make a user-friendly, step by step instructional that was keyed to a companion teaching cassette.

It was immensely popular from the beginning, and its success, along with the release of her recording, Deep Like A River, enabled Larkin to establish Riverlark Music in 1987 as a vehicle for future projects. Larkin bought back a copyright to the book in 1994 and became its publisher. The book is now in its nineteenth printing. To further augment the catalog, Larkin started carrying a few more dulcimer accessories, and recordings by other independent folk musicians. Like Topsy, the tiny company grew.

Enter Andy Cohen, country blues player and Rev. Gary Davis fanatic, who moved to Memphis to marry Larkin in September '96. Riverlark's next release, Oh Glory How Happy I Am (March '97) was Andy's tribute to the Rev's sacred material. Some string band music was added, and two of Andy's previous country blues recordings. September '98 saw the release of Lark In The Twilight, Larkin's second recording of (mostly) traditional music from the British Isles, centered around the mountain dulcimer.

One way or another, what's in Riverlark's catalog has to do with southern traditional music and culture. The foundations of this music have origins among the English, Scottish and Irish settlers who started new lives in America, and the West African slave peoples, all of whom brought their songs and styles with them. Since many American ballads, songs and dance tunes originated in the British Isles, the Riverlark Music catalog is a patchwork of historical and revivalist recordings of music from the southern mountains, the Piedmont region of North Carolina, Memphis and the Mississippi Delta.

In addition, we carry a selection of recordings independently produced by music veteran friends of ours, and recordings from small labels not generally found at your local record mart, that have a connection either by geography or content to southern folk music. Old time, mountain, country blues, gospel, or British Isles, we've got it, and it's all good!

Larkin Bryant Cohen and Andy Cohen

P. O. Box 40081 :: Memphis TN 38174 :: (800) 366-5275 / (901) 725-6976