Hi All- Wanted to share something I've been working on for a while now. When I first put together my book on the 1934 Lomax recordings, we considered making companion CDs for all of the audio. As this would have meant 10+ CDs, we decided it wasn't really feasible. However, when I applied for a fellowship at the Library of Congress for last year, I proposed that I would design, build, and curate a website for the audio as part of my tenure there. I've done just that, and here you will find a site that is to some degree a digital companion for my book, but more importantly a direct gateway to the 1934 recordings, which you can listen to now and browse at your leisure. I've added media from around the web to supplement and enrich what's here when I felt it was appropriate, but the recordings themselves are the meat of the site. I've also built a few interactive maps that help visualize some of the data. I plan on developing a few more of these. Please do poke around and holler if you have any suggestions, critiques, or insights into the songs or the performers. Enjoy and please share if you know someone who might appreciate this!
I've never really blogged before but I've been meaning to try a bit. I've been working on an exciting project for Valcour Records on which we're recording songs drawn from the 1934 Lomax recordings that my book addresses. It's been a wonderful way to return to Louisiana after a year away--to be around old friends I've been playing music with for years and to have the chance to work with incredible musicians I haven't had the chance to know as well. It's been humbling and inspiring to see the musicians I grew up with become so masterful and to see the masters deepen their craft even further. There's always the temptation to imagine that things are just in decline, that government collusion and corruption, language loss, ecological disaster, and imbecilic Mississippian radio trolls have us by the throat, but when I hear Megan Brown sing a 600-year-old French song with utter perfection, or Joel Savoy play the fiddle, I hear a story of inclination rather than decline--an inclination toward the beautiful and a gathering of inclining strengths over a series of inspired generations. What I am saying is that the force is strong here and the Death Star best watch its back.