Category Archives: Stories

Stories about people, fans and other storylike things.

Music through a car window in a park….

Last fall I received an order for a copy of Aurora Borealis, my instrumental flute-dulcimer CD.  Since the purchaser’s name was unfamiliar, I wrote and asked how he found out about my music.  Eric’s answer delighted me.  It’s taken me a while to get around to sharing it with you, but here it is.  It is always particularly heartwarming when my music is found and appreciated in a random way, and then spread to others, especially through a car window in a park!  Thanks Eric (and thanks for ordering it again as gifts to others).  🙂

(PS:  Curious?  Pre-listen/download Aurora Borealis here.)


Sept 24th, 2014

Hi Esther-

I am a hammered dulcimer player and came upon your  CD for sale in Cooper Landing Grocery last summer on my first trip to Alaska.

I must tell you this story:  It became my “theme music”  for 10 days as I fished,  hiked and drove all around discovering the many beautiful sights and people of Alaska (including Talkeetna…. I met  Mr.  Stubbs,  the Mayor! ).  I never did get to see the Aurora Borealis while in Alaska,  but I  was able to imagine the Northern Lights while listening to your music.

On the last evening as the sun was going down,  I was sitting in the car in an Anchorage park with your music playing.  Another couple drove up. They came over and asked about the beautiful music.  I explained what I had learned from the CD jacket and your website. They told me that they had just arrived in Alaska and were starting their vacation.  I popped the CD out of the player and gave it to them with the jacket and case, wishing them that they get inspiration and peaceful experiences with it as I had.  I never even learned their name.

I had downloaded the music to my laptop and my cell phone during the trip,  so I’ve been able to still listen to it.  Sometimes I listen to it to meditate.  Sometimes I listen to it  to bring back the smells and feelings of Alaska. As a fellow musician,  I really appreciate the tremendous skill and gift that you have in your music….

I’d dearly like to have another original CD.   If  you could sign it: “To Eric – A Fellow Alaskan Spirit”,  that would be very nice.

Attached is a picture of me up on one of the Denali glaciers below the peak ……. An unusual crystal clear blue morning.  Special moments.

Happy Trails!
– Eric


December Newsletter – Holiday Sale 2014

Hi and Happy Holiday-times!

A funny little elfin creature jumped up on my left shoulder this morning and shouted loudly in my ear.  “IT’S TIME FOR A SALE!  A CRAZY SALE! EVERYBODY LOVES SALES!”  I nearly jumped out of my skin, giggled fiercely, then conjured up a sale the likes of which I’ve never offered before.

All CDs 33% off, & FREE U.S. shipping until Dec. 31, 2014

In other words…

$10 per CD with free U.S. shipping… wow!

Click here to order
(If you prefer to send a check, please contact me and I’ll instruct you.)

One year ago I had just returned home from six weeks in the hospital after being paralyzed by Guillain Barre Syndrome.  Holiday lights and candles shone and glittered like they never had before. They still do.  I’m grateful for so many things this past year including good health, goals accomplished, time spent with family-and-friends, and your continued enthusiasm for my music even during a quieter time, musically speaking.  Thanks for passing on my recorded music to others who might enjoy it…

Wishing you everyday merriment, poetry and love…

Stay Warm,


German Review of Stay Warm: Beautiful…a delight…excellent!

Stay Warm just got a nice review on the German website Folkworld, written by Swiss reviewer Adolph Goriup.  Thanks Adolph!  Here’s a translation I tweaked a little after running the German through Google Translate:

FolkWorld #53  03/2014 – CD Reviews

Esther Golton “Stay Warm” – Tiny Cabins Records , 2013

Esther Golton (vocals, dulcimer, flutes, keyboards) was born in Philadelphia and in 1997 moved into a cabin in Talkeetna, Alaska, where she led a simple life and released her two previous CDs. At the moment she lives in New Haven, Connecticut, and has just released a new album with nine original songs and two cover versions.

” Yula “, a song in the Congolese Lari dialect by Borrina Mapaka is driven by rousing Afrobeat , two djembe, shakers and drums,  Esther sings and plays dulcimer and flutes on this beautiful World Music Song.

“Where is the field” is a great folk-rock ballad with cello, electric dulcimer, flute, fretless bass and drums.

Esther also offers the folk ballad ” Chokecherry ” which she sings accompanied only by the dulcimer .

“What Can I Say ” is a funky song with organ, clavinet, bass, drums, dulcimer and cello.

On ” Face” Esther thrills us with a great game on flute, dulcimer and piano.  Drums and bass provide the pace along with a notable saxophone solo in this rhythmic song .

The album ends with the gentle title song “Stay Warm”,  sending thoughts to friends up north .

Esther Golton has a beautiful voice, her playing on dulcimer and flute is a delight, and the band centered around the co-producers Pat Fitzgerald (drums, percussion ) and Robin Dale Ford (bass , vocals) is excellent.

© Adolf ” gorhand ” Goriup

Health-Music Update – Rebuilding My Chops!

Dear Everybody –

I’m happy to report that just 3 months after being paralyzed by the rare neurological autoimmune illness Guillain Barre Syndrome, I’m 99% back to normal.  Hooray!  (That’s an understatement!)  I feel so very lucky; the nerve-damage aftereffects of GBS often take 1 to 2 years to clear up.  My own experience has been far more rapid.

About 3 weeks ago the nerve sensitivity in my hands began to dramatically improve, and now my fingers feel perfectly normal.  I marvel that my dulcimer strings don’t feel like torturous knife-edges anymore, and that I can play evenly and expressively again on both dulcimer and flute.  That means I’ve begun practicing my music in earnest to rebuild my chops (I just wanted to say “chops” because that word makes me smile.  “Chops!”)

On March 9th I’ll play a house concert in New Haven, CT.  This is the only show I had lined up pre-GBS that I didn’t have to cancel.  I’ll be sharing the afternoon with a local folk-bluegrass band called  The Nameless Trio.  Last winter Matt, Morgan and Pat employed me to sing (and flute) a very sweet boy-girl duet for their new album Explore!.  You can listen to samples (I sing on Track 10, “All The Way Home”) and buy it here.  If you live in/near CT and would like to attend the concert, please contact me and I’ll put you in touch with the host, my wonderful friend Louis Audette.

The GBS experience definitely rocked my world.  In my 47 years before this event, major illnesses were always the “stuff that happens to other people”.  Now I truly (and a little anxiously) realize  that random, unexpected “stuff can happen” to me or those close to me at any time.  Of course I always knew this intellectually, but now I feel it in a tangible way.  I’ve talked to friends who’ve gone through big health challenges and they nod knowingly … wide-eyed …  at this change in perspective.  It’s made me more compassionate towards anyone dealing with health issues.  It’s made me want to decide consciously how I spend my days on this beautiful earth.

What does this mean for my music?  I can’t wait to play my “comeback” concert on March 9th!    Then I’m headed to Alaska for the entire summer to sell our house and 10 acres, work for my sister in her wonderful Flying Squirrel Bakery Cafe,  reconnect with friends and breathe the wild, open spaces.  I’m sure I’ll play a few low-key gigs, and will search out new gift shops to carry my Alaska-infused CDs.   It will be a great time for writing new songs, and letting music be music, and savoring everyday life.

Thank you again to all who sent me good wishes/cards/vibes while I was hospitalized.  I can’t help but attribute my strong recovery to the love that flowed my way, right through my soul into my nerve endings.  Also thanks to all who ordered my CDs during the holiday season.  That income really helped ease the financial impact of all those cancelled gigs.  I love imagining my music playing in your kitchen or car or headphones…

By the way, I’ve achieved almost half of my 2000 album goal, which means our “mystery painting” is almost halfway filled in.  I still have to go out and sing pretty for a lot more people to fulfill that goal so stay tuned.  And … stay warm!

Fairbanks Ice Show 2012
Photo of bundled-up Esther taken at 2012 Fairbanks Alaska World Ice Art Show

Wonderful Review of Stay Warm at No Depression

WOW! My toes are all warm and tingly — and it’s not my Guillain Barre, ha ha.  John Apice over at No Depression just wrote this GLOWING review of my work on Stay Warm.   Oh goodness … that does feel nice … No Depression indeed!

… The title track “Stay Warm,” places Esther comfortably in the realms of Leonard Cohen as a disciplined wordsmith with melodies that are like milk and whiskey. …

… This CD is a little glorious achievement. Most artists, talented as they are, don’t create a single album as good as “Stay Warm” in their entire careers. There isn’t one filler tune on the entire collection. Each holds its own wealth equally and none sound as if repeated listens would diminish their strength. …

Please “Share” on Facebook, Twitter, email, etc.  as No Depression will elevate it to their front page (a big deal for us indy musicians) if enough people click – thanks!

Click to read the entire review

Home, Finally, For The Holidays

Hi Everyone —

On Thanksgiving day, I came home on a hospital day-pass for the first time since being diagnosed with the rare autoimmune illness called Guillain-Barre Syndrome. (You saying “Huh?” Go here to read my story.)  Home was filled with welcome signs and flowers and a very happy dog.  Talk about thankfulness!

I have huge appreciation for all the well wishes sent my way via snail mail, email, Facebook and thoughts.  Every little bit has helped.  Every day I make a little more progress towards normalcy.

Now I’ve been discharged from the nursing-rehab facility.  I just spent my first wonderful night at home and have started outpatient therapy.  I can do a lot of day-to-day things but don’t have much stamina.  Still, I’m walking up stairs, cooking eggs in the kitchen and doing my exercises on the floor.  Look at ‘er go!  Woohoo!

Although I continue to feel upbeat and motivated about re-gaining my health and strength, I’m also facing the reality that I’ve had a huge and unexpected setback in my music career.  I was so excited about putting together my big winter-long “Stay Warm Tour” as well as working out the final touches on my first-ever radio campaign and attending my first NERFA music conference.  All the shows I’d worked so hard to book and rehearse this autumn and during the holiday season had  to be cancelled.  That was really, really hard.

But all is not lost.

I may not be able to travel and perform right now, but I can still ship CDs from home.  

If you’ve been thinking about buying or gifting my CDs, now is the perfect time.  You’ll give the magic of music … you’ll contribute to my occupational therapy … you’ll warm my hands and my heart. 

For those who love holiday sales  (like me!):  If you order 4 or more CDs, I’ll add an extra CD for FREE.  You can tell me which CD you’d like as the extra in the order notes, or via email.  The second I get your order, I’ll sign ’em and lovingly pop them in the mail to you and/or to those special someones on your holiday gift list.

Click here to order CDs and help get me back to work!

Please have a very merry holiday season everyone.  Savor the cookies, the neighborhood lights,  the people you care for, your own healthful moments.

Thank you so merry much for your support and love in the past, this year and beyond…

Stay Warm,


Radio play, Ohio tour and more!

Refreshed and rejuvenated after time in the woods

Hello all – I’m back in New Haven after a wonderful 3-week woodsy retreat in Michigan.  The trees have started to turn, and I hope you feel like I do – invigorated with crisp autumn energy.

Lots of news:  Good things happening, good things to come…

Stay Warm is receiving radio airplay all over the world!
With the help of Tracey Delfino and her crew at Trespass Music, Stay Warm has recently been delivered to folk DJs far and wide.  It’s gratifying to know that this music I created is delighting random new ears.  Here’s a list of radio and web programs that have been playing tracks from Stay Warm.   This is a great time to request my songs on your local radio show.  If your station doesn’t have a copy, let me know and I’ll send one out, or you can steer them to Airplay Direct.

Ohio Tour in mid-October
Please pass the word on to all you know in Ohio – I’ve got a sweet little tour set up for mid-October!  Tour dates are here, including house concerts in Pataskala, Wellington (near Oberlin), Columbus, Peninsula ( a “lay-down-and-listen” relaxation concert with the lovely dulcimer player Jan Hammond), and performing/instructing at the Southeast Ohio Dulcimer Festival in Stewart (near Athens.)  I so look forward to this trip – I kind of have a thing for Ohio-ans!  😉

Concert dates in the Northeast and beyond
New shows are listed on my tour page, with dates in New Haven and Seymour, CT, the Philly area, Baltimore, and my first Northeast Regional Folk Alliance (NERFA) conference in NY.  I’m actively adding more, including travels to further-away regions like the West Coast and the Southeast, so check back.

List of shops carrying my CDs
I’ve posted a list of the wonderful array of shops that carry my CDs.  If you’re in Alaska and want to pick up a copy of Stay Warm, you can buy copies in Anchorage, Talkeetna, Cooper Landing, Palmer, or Fairbanks.  Aurora Borealis is available in many more places in Alaska plus a dulcimer store in Sedona, Arizona.  Of course you can also order/download my CDs via my website store.

Our Alaska property is for sale
10 beautiful acres with a fully renovated log home plus 2 cabins and a carport/barn/workshop (give this link extra time to load slideshows). This was the home of Whole Wheat Radio’s webcast and house concert series.  It’s the perfect place to live your Alaskan dream and run a business, school or retreat center.  And the 48-foot long cathedral ceiling is covered with wild 1980’s folk-art paintings of Alaska … it’s quite a special place!

Talkeetna Alaska property for sale

Thanks, as always for your support.  I hope to see some of you at upcoming concerts.  I promise to sing pretty for you!

Stay Warm,


Stay Warm MP3 downloads are ready!

Digital downloads of the new CD Stay Warm are available as of today!  Just click on over to either CD Baby or Bandcamp.

Here’s the enticing short description:

Adventurous mountain dulcimer, flute, & a sincerely expressive voice.  Artful lyrics & entrancing multi-genre instrumentation.  A love song involving a nectarine & an avocado.  Esther’s 3rd CD is a real gem for creative souls.

Both companies allow you to choose audio quality (file type) for your downloads.   (FYI:  CD Baby keeps a smaller portion of the total for themselves, but Bandcamp allows you to pay a little extra if you want.  I think they’re both great.)

Thanks to all who’ve already ordered physical copies of Stay Warm.  I’ve been mailing them off with joy and gratefulness.

I’m curious to observe a changing world.  When I released Unfinished Houses in 2007, the vast majority of purchases were for the physical CD.  Digital distribution of music was still in its infancy.  Now, I wonder how many of you actually prefer downloading your music.  I’m about to find out!

By the way, full-album downloads will count toward my 2000-album goal, and thus will help uncover the mystery painting.  Thank you!

Download Stay Warm via CDBaby or Bandcamp

Stay Warm (Part 3 of 4): The 2,000 Album Goal (And a Mysterious Painting)

Smiling fans and friends (my employers!) - 2007 CD release concert for Unfinished Houses.
Smiling fans & friends (my employers!)
2007 CD release concert for Unfinished Houses.
  • Tomorrow, Monday, May 6th, is the release date for my new album Stay Warm!  Parts 1 and 2 of this series describe the contents, recording experience, and cost.  And now for Part 3!
  • Where the funding came from:  I didn’t use Kickstarter or any other crowd-funding source to raise the $21,000 for Stay WarmNor did I borrow.  The funding for Stay Warm came from my business bank account.  From money earned and saved performing and selling my first two CDs plus financial support from two highly dedicated patrons-of-the-arts (thank you Mom and Dad!)
  • The 2,000 album goal:  I’d like to earn back what I spent on Stay Warm by selling 2,000 CDs, either physical or digital.  Simple as that.  I can’t do that unless you (and 1,999 other people like you) buy them!
  • Let’s have fun getting there:   I’ve created a webpage with a hidden painting that’s very dear to me.  It’s an oil painting that hangs in my childhood home.  There’s a neat story behind it.  For every 20 full albums sold (including any/all of my three CDs), I’ll reveal 1/100th of the painting!  Gradually, we’ll all get to see the painting emerge as we reach the 2,000-album goal.  When the entire painting is finally revealed, we’ll all pop open a bottle of celebratory beverage and I’ll tell you the story of the painting in a video.  And I’ll sing you a special song!  And I’ll say thank you for your support with all my heart.