:fyi: The Arkansas Traveler - Music from Little House on the Prairie
NASHVILLE, TN -- The second installment from the The Pa's Fiddle Project, titled The Arkansas Traveler: Music from Little House on the Prairie, is set to release Nov. 14th, kicked off by a one-hour NPR Holiday Special program featuring interviews, readings, commentary, and approximately ten songs from the album. The special will feature multi-Grammy winning Western music performers Riders In The Sky.
This is the second CD in a planned ten-CD series and includes all 18 songs referenced in Little House on the Prairie, the third and most popular book of the Little House series. In print for over 74 years, the Little House books have become staples of American reading, describing one family's frontiering life in the 1870s. Over one hundred million readers have treasured these timeless books and countless more have watched the long-running TV show. Music is central to Wilder's stories, with 126 great American songs artfully embedded them. Surprisingly, no professional recordings of this music have ever been available. The Pa's Fiddle Project was launched to re-voice, in dynamic fashion, the unsung music of these beloved and classic books.
The performances that constitute this recording have not been dumbed-down. Some of the nation’s finest musicians have been enlisted and invited to make the music of yesterday fresh, exciting, and vital for today's audiences, young and old. The album features performances by acoustic music soul singer John Cowan; Grammy winning banjo master Alison Brown; Western favorites Riders In The Sky; the talented Andrea Zonn (fiddler and band member with Vince Gill, James Taylor, and others); legendary bluegrass stalwart Mac Wiseman; progressive folk and bluegrass stylist Judith Edelman; Grand Ole Opry favorite Elizabeth Cook; and numerous others.
The songs heard on this CD range widely in style and perspective. "Roll On Silver Moon" is by a woman composer, unusual for that time; to underscore its unique history and quality, The Blair String Quartet provides the accompaniment. "Oh! California" is a setting of a little known gold-rush text from 1849 to the music of Stephen Foster's "Oh! Susanna"; it suggests some of the ways in which women were impacted by important social events of that epoch—“Oh brothers! don't you cry for me!" "The Devil's Dream" is performed in a heavenly and ethereal manner by bluegrass mandolinist Butch Baldassari and the late David Schnaufer, the great dulcimer virtuoso in what turned out, tragically, to be his last recording. And who can resist chuckling along with Mac Wiseman as he chronicles the strange goings-on at "The Monkey's Wedding?"
The Arkansas Traveler follows on the success of Happy Land: Musical Tributes to Laura Ingalls Wilder (released 2005), a CD that contains all the conflict, humor, hope, and joy that have made the books so beloved. Happy Land was recently honored with a place on the We the People Bookshelf, a program of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The first CD ever to be included in the NEH's highly prestigious program, two thousand copies, along with other classic texts in American literature, will be send free to libraries across the nation and made available for all of "[us], the people." The Arkansas Traveler will also honor the 140th anniversary of the birth of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the 50th anniversary of her death and the 75th anniversary of the first publication of a Little House book.
For anyone who loves to read, the recordings from The Pa's Fiddle Project are quickly becoming necessary companions to the Little House books. (Indeed, how can one read these books and not know the music that Wilder heard!) Beyond this, though, these are recordings of great American music by great American performers, and are deeply satisfying for all lovers of American music, from childhood on.
For more information on The Arkansas Traveler: Music from Little House on the Prairie and Happy Land: Musical Tribute to Laura Ingalls Wilder, go to www.pasfiddle.com.