Beautiful Music All Around Us : Field Recordings and the American Experience
The Beautiful Music All Around Us presents the rich backstories of thirteen performances captured on Library of Congress field recordings between 1934 and 1942, in locations reaching from Southern Appalachia to the Mississippi Delta and the Great Plains. These performances were recorded in kitchens and churches, on porches and in prisons, in hotel rooms and school auditoriums. Musician and researcher Stephen Wade sought out the performers on these recordings, their families, fellow musicians, and others who remembered them. He reconstructs the sights and sounds of the recording sessions themselves and how the music worked in all their lives. Reflecting decades of research and detective work, the profiles and abundant photos bring to life largely unheralded individuals--domestics, farm laborers, state prisoners, schoolchildren, cowboys, housewives and mothers, loggers and miners--whose music has become part of the wider American musical soundscape. By exploring how these singers and instrumentalists exerted their own creativity on inherited forms, "amplifying tradition's gifts," Wade shows how a single artist can make a difference within a democracy.