Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Joe Collins

Professor of Religious Studies Releases New Dulcimer CD

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Joe Collins

More than 25 years before he joined the Gardner-Webb University Department of Religious Studies and Philosophy, Dr. Joe Collins, professor of religious studies, began playing the dulcimer.

He is drawn to the instrument’s simple, but eloquent sound. “Over my lifetime, I have tried my hand on a number of different instruments, but none have spoken to me quite like the dulcimer,” Collins observed. “It is also very easy to play at elementary levels, so I was able to experience success with it early. That really helped motivate me to work on it.”

The 2007 National Champion on the instrument, he plays in the acoustic festival circuits. He recently completed a CD entitled, “A River Runs Through It,” a collection of 13 songs performed on the cello and mountain dulcimer. This is his seventh release, but his first since 2009. “Many of the songs on the CD are ones that I have been playing in concerts for years,” he noted. “However, with cello accompaniment, they take on a different character. I love the fullness of sound that the cello adds to this music.”

The songs are deeply reflective tunes about everyday life. They include “Shenandoah,” Erik Bogel’s “Willie McBride,” Dougie McLean’s “Caledonia,” and a host of original compositions and arrangements by Collins. He wrote the title cut, “A River Runs Through It,” to pull the CD together thematically.

Collins’ recording partners are friends, Nancy Galambush of Snow Hill, N.C. (cello) and Mike McGee of Shelby, N.C. (guitar). His son, Sean, provides background with guitar and midi instruments for one song.

Collins received his Ph.D. from North Carolina State University and his MDiv from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the author of “What Does God Want Me to Do?: Understanding and Responding to Calling” (2013). Previously, Collins served Elizabeth Baptist Church of Shelby, as minister of education and was church development director for the Greater Cleveland County Baptist Association.

The CD is available from Collins (https://www.jcdulcimer.com/) and in digital format from Amazon, iTunes, and other digital distributors.

Learn more about the Department of Religious Studies and Philosophy