We met Marcomb at the suggestion of my grandmother who knew him through organizing events at the First Methodist in Hudson, New York. He used to have a little shop off Warren Street where he repaired all of the organs for churches in the area though he lived across the river in a town called Surprise, a windy Catskill hamlet where he had a house without plumbing or electricity aside from a generator he kept on the enclosed back-porch. He told us he only turned it on to play the organs, which crowded his tiny home with their colorful teeth and wooden inlays.

It was the middle of January, and we shoveled out his driveway when we arrived. He made us coffee with a careful deliberateness, his arthritic fingers fumbling with the gas stove. He told us stories about his time in the service, stationed in Philadelphia, playing hymns on Sundays and piano at various Old City haunts during the week. The day was one of those silent heavy snow blankets the river valley hums. He fired up the generator so the organs could warm up, and under the furnace crackle we set up an eight-track and some mics and each of us sat at a different organ.

Marcomb explained his daily ritual of sitting at the purring organ for several minutes to empty his thoughts before he played what he called his "gems". He directed us with hand and mouth signals as we played along with him, but it was mostly the look in his eyes which lead us. We played together for several hours with breaks every so often to eat toast or take him up on his offer of homemade maple candy. He told us that he preferred playing alone than playing accompaniment in churches because this way his will is free.

This is a 20 minute recording from those sessions. (Sound has started automatically)