Music Review: Nuggets and High Grade

A music review ?  Well, if you are a rockhound (and you probably are if you stumbled to my blog), and you like music (who doesn’t) then this might be just for you.  With song titles like “The Crystals that I’ve Known”, “Agate Lickers”, “Gold is Where you Find it”, “The Mineral Dealer”, and Damn the Glaciers” how could you possibly not be interested in a music CD entitled “Nuggets and High Grade”?

David Joyce is a long-time mineral collector and mineral dealer from New Market, Ontario.  But he has been a musician and a songwriter for even longer.  You will not only find his lyrics musically entertaining, but also technically correct as he depicts mineral collectors, mineral collecting, and mining through his music.  The stories behind the songs are Canada centric, but those of us who ventured past the “Miner’s Home” in Cobalt two summers ago or along “Highway 17” north of Lake Superior last summer can certainly relate.  And when he follows up “diggin’ in a hole” with “feeling like a mole”, everyone is brought back to a special collecting experience somewhere.

“Crystal Systems” is another personal favorite.  Dave’s affinity for “simple, succinct, and understandable” isometric minerals and their “visual geometric symphony” is clear just as is his disdain for the monoclinic where “crystals are lopsided and uneven”.  He covers all systems and if folks are not encouraged to go learn what pinacoids and pedions and twinned disphenoids are after listening, then they haven’t much intellectual curiosity.  I know my Science Olympiad students next winter are going to listen to this while they are learning about dodecahedral and trapezohedral garnets and those triclinic crystals where “a single point defines the symmetry and everything about it’s out of whack”.

Here’s a snippet from “The Crystals That I’ve Known

Size counts in tourmalines,

            and dinner plate sized sphenes

            Apatites that look like logs,

            Zircons the size of dogs

            But, unfortunately,

            My mineral encounters

            Are mostly tiny crystals

            fit for micro-mounters”

But if you want to hear the lyrics or listen to the wonderful accompaniment from a number of other artists performing with a varied and wonderful assortment of instruments then you must go online to check out Dave’s songs.

Are you wondering why Dave writes and sings a song entitled “Damn the Glaciers”?  Well, you can check out all the lyrics and even play all 12 songs by visiting his website and clicking on the music link.  While you are at it, you can also learn a great deal about many of the famous Canadian mineral localities by reading his articles written over years of collecting at some of Canada’s premier mineral sites.  And, of course, once online you can order the CD for $15 plus shipping, and also peruse his minerals and rocks & ores pages for pieces to add to you collection.  Or, better yet, you can visit Dave next time you are travelling through New Market, Ontario in route to Bancroft, Cobalt or points further north!  If Dave is not off “diggin’ in a hole”, then he’d be happy to see you.


Joyce, D. K., Nuggets and Nigh Grade:  Mining and Mineral Collecting Songs, Early Iris Music, SOCAN

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