Sunday, March 6, 2016

Something Special Wednesday 3/9

Dear Friends,

Thank you all for your understanding of recent events. It's a long road ahead and I appreciate your understanding.

I'll be re-entering the world outside with a concert this Wednesday, March 9 at the The John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts. It's all music from the Harry Smith Archives Anthology of American Folk Music. I have wonderful collaborators, exciting arrangements and the best material one could ask for. I get chills at practice.

Music and technology are intertwined, as they always have been. Two major technological waves have shaped American music in our time. In the 1920's commercial recording began.It really took off with the invention and adoption of the dynamic microphone. Scads of American music was recorded for commercial release on 78 RPM records in the twenties and thirties. Suddenly the music of Blind Lemon Jefferson, who lived in Texas, and Georgia fiddle players could be heard far from their local communities, and it was. In 1952 Harry Smith, an experimental film maker and audio archivist put out a three volume anthology of that music, sorted and annotated as only he could, on LP records, introducing a whole new generation to this heritage music. It was all here: Mississippi John Hurt, theCarter Family, sanctified singers, Charlie Poole, Uncle Dave Macon, and it provided the template for the folk music revival in the U.S. Dave Van Ronksaid, " The Anthology was our Bible. We knew every word of every song on it." People like John Sebastian, Mike Seeger, Joan Baez, and Bob Dylanfeasted on this rich banquet.

I couldn't ask for better collaborators. Alli Bach sings everything from Child Ballads to Strayhorn (both here at the Shedd). She has been a part of several American Roots shows, and tours with the Zappa tribute outfitPojama People. Billy Barnett presides over Gung Ho! studio, recording and producing a lot of great music and plays guitar with Mood Area 52. Jim Caudle is a long time fiddle model for me and has played thousands of jams and square dances over decades. You'll hear about the Old Lady and the Devil, John the Revelator, murder ballads, jug band blues, the stories of Casey Jones, Frankie & Albert, and get a taste of our shared American heritage. It's a one-off: be there or wonder why you weren't.

Hope you can make it; I'll be glad to see you.