My teacher started me on Jessica’s Waltz, a pretty, but lesser-known waltz. One of the things I like to do when learning a new tune is to try and learn about it’s history. Most times this is somewhat easy with so many internet resources available today, but this was not the case with Jessica’s Waltz. After almost three hours of searching, about the only information that I could find is that it is a traditional Canadian tune of probable German origin. Probably the best known Canadian version was played by Don Messer of Don Messer and His Islanders. Don Messer was a Canadian musician, band leader, radio broadcaster, and defining icon of folk music during the 1960s. Don Messer and His Islanders was an old-time music group, the most popular in Canada during the mid-20th century, largely on the basis of its CBC radio and TV series which was widely popular throughout Canada. I find it sad and frustrating that the history of so much old time music is lost to the ages, as is the case with this beautiful waltz.
Here is a recording of Don Messer and His Islanders playing Jessica’s Waltz.