This blog is dedicated to the sublime instruments called nose flutes and which produce the most divine sound ever. We have chosen to discard all the native models from S. Pacific and Asia, for they need fingering to be played. We'll concentrate on "buccal cavity driven" nose flutes : the well patented and trademarked metal or plastic ones, plus, by a condemnable indulgence, some wooden craft or home-made productions.

Apr 23, 2012

Kentucky T. Dutchersmith CD reviews

We already posted here a famous video in which Kentucky T. Dutchersmith plays cello, nose flute and percussions, accompanied by the Maple City Chamber Orchestra (see this post).

In 2004 and 2006, Kentucky T. Dutchersmith and The Rubber Band (auto)published 2 CDs, Mama don't allow no nose flute playin' 'round here and If You're Not Goin' Far.

Kentucky T. Dutchersmith and The Rubber Band is a "christian familial humoristic country folk rock" ensemble, composed by three core families, all from Indiana :

The Dutchersmiths:
-Kentucky T. "Kent" Dutchersmith (lead vocals, bass, nose flute)
-Teresa Dutchersmith (vocals, melodica, percussion)

The Harley-Kruschwitzs:
- Brian Kruschwitz (vocals, guitars, banjo, congas)
- LuAnne Harley (vocals)
- Harley (vocals and spoons) and Owen (chief roadie) Kruschwitz.

The Brill Bergstressers:
- Deron (drums, congas)
- Annette (sound, photographer, CD designer)
- Alina (toddler proofing consultant) and Marta.

« Kentucky T. Dutchersmith and The Rubber Band is a fun, high-energy, family-oriented band. Their music has been described as creative, bluesy folk-rock, socially conscious, humorous, eclectic and original. Kent, being a musician, a father and an elementary school teacher who was sick and tired of children’s music that kids loved but drove parents crazy, had a dream of producing music that would appeal to both children and adults. His songs focus on everyday situations, such as Sunday morning waffles, a bad hair day, and what to do when you're feeling bored. »

From The KTD website :
« Kent was given his first nose flute by a girl friend in 1992. Having received the nose flute in the mail and having never seen or heard one before, he didn't know what to make of it and couldn't get a sound out of it. Months later, at a Mennonite Voluntary Service retreat, he finally got a sound out of it and fell in love with the sound (and fell in love with his future wife, Teresa). His (somewhat limited) popularity as a nose flautist grew after he performed his own Medley in C For Cello and Nose Flute For One Person at the 1997 Mennonite Youth Convention in Orlando, Florida in front of a crowd of 5,000 high schoolers, where he was honored with a rousing standing ovation. Kent founded the San Antonio Mennonite Church Marching Nose Flute Chorus, which became a fixture of the King William Parade in San Antonio, Texas. Kent has been featured as a nose flautist on the Fox 28 morning show and in the Elkhart Truth. His greatest honor as a nose flautist to date was performing Concerto Pomposo (the "Nose Flute Concerto") by Jean-Marie Hottetotte at Goshen College's Sauder Concert Hall two times―September 27, 2003 and October 14, 2007. The 2003 performance was notable because it was believed to be the North American debut for this piece and it was played on a common plastic nose flute. The 2007 Concerto Pomposo performance featured Kent on his hand-made wooden nose flute crafted by the great German nose flute maker, Maximillian H. Zycha, which Kent received Christmas 2004 from his loving wife, Teresa. ».


Well, first thing to say to nose flute lovers is that, contrarywise to what you may have thought after viewing the KTD's videos on YouTube, only 5 songs, among the 31 songs composing the 2 CDs, include a nose flute track. They are :

CD Mama don't allow no nose flute playin' 'round here :
01·Mama Don't Allow No Nose Flute Playin' 'round Here
09·Nose Flute Blues
13·Nose Flute Advice

CD If You're Not Goin' Far :
04·The Nose Song
15·Oh Susanna (Don't You Blow My Nose)

So, let's dare to say that the nose flute is essentially a condiment here, not a lead instrument.

Most of the songs are soft folk or country rock. There are also some bluesy pieces, some funk ones, and 7 songs are a capella (or with voices just accompanied with percussions). Most of the songs are partly sung by one or several children, and also include onomatopoeias and/or noises.


A general criticism that one can immediately formulate about both the CDs, is that the production is a bit weak. When I write "production", I do not speak about the playing and arrangement, but the sound recording and mixing quality. Only the electric instruments (guitar, bass..) sound round and full, but the acoustic tracks are a bit "weak", probably because the recording tracks were left untouched and dry. A hint of reverb, for instance, would have been very welcome on the nose flute. A mixing with some panoramic stereo also, placing the instruments in different places of the "sonorous space".

Thus, on the nose flute parts, any small mistake in the playing is easily identifiable, and there are. This may have been a deliberate choice for "musical truth", but it harms the listening comfort.

Contrarywise, the arrangements are generally well thought, not very original yet, but with fun.

The nose flute songs

Mama Don't Allow No Nose Flute Playin' 'round Here is a scat/hillbilly funny song in which the nose flute plays the first solo and then is dispatched by hints.

Nose Flute Blues, as you can imagine, is a classic blues. The nose flute plays a continuous accompaniment solo. To my taste, it is not very well played, sounding more like a asthmatic bird... (why no reverb on that?!?)

Nose Flute Advice is a gentle ballad which lyrics are dedicated to the nose flute :

If you want to play the nose flute, I have some advice for you.
If you want to play the nose flute, I have some advice for you.
If you want to play the nose flute, make sure that you first blow your nose
If you don't blow your nose first, stuff from your nose may flows.
If you want to play the nose flute, and another instrument at the same time,
You can rubber band it to your face, but it won't look very nice.
If you want to play the nose flute, don't play really really really long notes,
If you play really really really really really long notes, you just might pass out.

The Nose Song is a reggae song. Here again, the nose flute is used as a condiment, and is almost bothersome, like an obnoxious bird following you in all your moves and singing "tüt-tüt" in your ear.

Oh Susanna (Don't You Blow My Nose)
: In this standard, played at the banjo and percussions, the nose flute has a much better role, whistling the melody. The lyrics are funnily revisited :
« Oh Susanna, now don't you blow my nose, when coming from Indiana with a nose flute on my nose »

You can hear excerpts of the songs here and here :

CD Mama Don't Allow No Nose Flute Playin' 'round Here
CD You're Not Goin' Far


Here is another video by Kentucky T. Dutchersmith, quite funny and well played, with the Zycha flute and the Maple City Chamber Orchestra.

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