The three pieces on this album are the results of a collaborative effort between composer John Allemeier and dancer/choreographer E.E. Balcos, who together created an evening-length, dance-theater work based on three murder ballads — folksongs that describe homicides and their aftermaths. As both artists live and work in North Carolina, they fittingly focused their collaboration on murder ballads from that state. Poor Ellen is based on a balled that recounts the 1892 shooting of Ellen Smith by her lover, while Pieces of Silver was inspired by a murder ballad about Frankie Silver who killed her husband with an ax. Deep Water (Omie Wise) tells the story of how Jon Lewis drowned Omie Wise in 1807. Described as "rapturous" by American Record Guide, John Allemeier’s music has been programmed at festivals around the world, including Europe, Russia, South Korea, and Brazil as well as in the U.S. A graduate of the University of Iowa, Allemeier also studied at Northwestern University and Augustana College with additional work in Germany and the Czech Republic. He teaches music theory and composition at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.