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 Pa's Fiddle: American Music PBS Special

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bethandmanly
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PostSubject: Pa's Fiddle: American Music PBS Special   Sat Feb 25, 2012 11:44 pm

I thought we had talked about this before, but I couldn't find the thread. Dean Butler, in conjunction with, MTSU's Center for Popular Music and some of country music's brightest stars have created a wonderful special that will highlight the Pa's music as featured in the Little House books. It is due to air in June during PBS's pledge drive. A CD of this music is due to be released on June 5th. Dean pointed us to an article, which I have also posted a link to at my blog: http://lauralittlehouseontheprairie.blogspot.com/2012/02/new-article-on-pas-fiddle.html
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PostSubject: Re: Pa's Fiddle: American Music PBS Special   Sat Feb 25, 2012 11:52 pm

Thanks for the link. I think I'll purchase this CD. It sound like a great item for my LHOTP collection. Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Pa's Fiddle: American Music PBS Special   Sun Feb 26, 2012 4:56 pm

How cool.


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PostSubject: Re: Pa's Fiddle: American Music PBS Special   Mon Feb 27, 2012 9:39 am

I have heard about this. I cannot wait to see the special. I hadn't realized there was also a cd.


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PostSubject: Re: Pa's Fiddle: American Music PBS Special   Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:45 am

I didn't know about the CD either. I'm not a huge fan of country music, but I would add this one to my Ingalls collection.


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PostSubject: Re: Pa's Fiddle: American Music PBS Special   Mon Feb 27, 2012 3:15 pm

I hope I don't forget to watch this.


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PostSubject: PA'S FIDDLE   Thu May 24, 2012 9:19 am


Dale Cockrell, director of the Center for Popular Music, poses with actor Dean Butler during production of "Pa's Fiddle: Charles Ingalls, American Fiddler," which airs in June.

If your knowledge of Pa Ingalls, father of author Laura Ingalls Wilder, only comes through Michael Landon’s "Little House on the Prairie" TV series, little would you know that he was one of the great old-time fiddlers.

In more ways than you can shake your bow, Dale Cockrell, director of the Center for Popular Music at Middle Tennessee State University, is doing all in his power to set you straight on the fact, plus provide many of the most beloved songs from 19th century America.

Not only is he releasing the third in a series of 10 albums, but Cockrell has co-produced a PBS special, "Pa’s Fiddle: Charles Ingalls, American Fiddler," that airs at 7 p.m. Sunday, June 3, on WNPT-Channel 8.

Regarding the man made famous in his daughter’s books, Cockrell said, “The father and fiddler are part and parcel of the same thing. I don’t think it was any mistake that Laura referenced the music in those books. That music was so central to family life and her emotional life and tied into family memories and history. To her the music was actually what enabled her to reconstruct the memories that enabled her to tell the stories that became the books.”

In her eight "Little House on the Prairie" books, Wilder named 127 songs that her father performed. Via his Pa’s Fiddle Recordings label, Cockrell intends to release them all over the next five to 15 years.

This third in the series draws from the instances when Pa Ingalls is chronicled playing his fiddle alone. Among the 17 tunes on the Pa’s Fiddle CD are “Buffalo Gals,” “When Johnny Comes Marching Home,” “Polly Put the Kettle On” and “The Campbells Are Coming.”

The album series, the PBS special and Cockrell’s 2011 The Ingalls Wilder Family Songbook, a scholarly edition of all of the Little House music, germinated in 1997 while Cockrell was reading the Little House books to his then 8-year-old son Sam.

“I didn’t start reading the books until Sam came along. We liked to read in bed together and gravitated toward reading series. That took care of what we read next. I thought this would be a fun book series about the American frontier and pioneers, and we were gripped by them. Somewhere around then, I concocted the idea to looking at the music in the books,” recollected Cockrell, a retired Vanderbilt professor of musicology, who has served the past two years as director of the Center for Popular Music at MTSU.

“The scholar got the best of me, and I drew up a list and that started the general idea of the project. What Sam and I wanted to do was put in the CD and play the tunes. We wanted to pop something in and hear these songs.

“Then I thought, ‘Why don’t I see if it’s possible to make recordings of these tunes?’ I got in touch with a friend, (late Nashville musician) Butch Baldassari. He understood what I wanted to do. We shopped the idea around to labels and got several offers. They wanted to do this as kind of a children’s album, but that was not our idea. This was going to be music that adults and grandparents would understand, too. Kind of following the O Brother, Where Art Thou? phenomenon.”

Eventually, the professor decided to start his own record label and produce the albums himself. Thus far, the first two CDs have sold 12,000 copies.

As for the musicians on the albums, who go under the name of Pa’s Fiddle Band, well, the group changes from time to time but includes such fine Nashville pickers as David Grier, Matt Combs, Matt Flinner and Derek Jones. The fiddler on the last two albums is Combs, whom Cockrell said has “somewhat become the persona of Pa.”

Getting back to the real Pa Ingalls (1836-1902), Cockrell noted, “Laura said about him that he was more a poet and musician than a farmer. . . . He ended up living in town and having several jobs in the little town of De Smet, S.D. That is where he is buried and pretty much where Laura grew up from 13 years on.

“His fiddle is in Mansfield, Mo., in the home where Laura lived," he said. "Pa Ingalls gave her the fiddle as a kind of sign of her place in the family. It is there under glass, and people who visit that museum (Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home and Museum) almost do come in and worship this icon.”

Ingalls played his fiddle at all sorts of social occasions as well as for his pleasure and the pleasure of his family. What amazes Cockrell is the breadth of his repertoire.

“Except for classical music, there’s just about the whole range of American music represented in those books: different genres, from a couple of spirituals and fiddle tunes to folk ballads, patriotic songs, Western songs. Whereas today, music is broken into popular categories. Charles Ingalls loved it and knew it all. Today, I can’t imagine somebody loving rap, heavy metal, country music and Southern gospel,” said Cockrell, a native of Paducah, Ky.

The PBS documentary came about after Cockrell met actor-producer Dean Butler, who from 1979 to 1983 portrayed Laura’s husband, Almanzo Wilder, in the "Little House on the Prairie" TV series, at the Laurapalooza conference in July 2010 in Mankato, Minn. The two got to talking, wound up pitching their idea to PBS as a pledge drive special concert, and about a year later, it all came together.

With musical director Randy Scruggs (son of banjo legend Earl Scruggs), such singers as Randy Travis, Rodney Atkins, Ronnie Milsap, Ashton Shepherd and The Roys, and an all-star string band, the show was filmed in January at the Loveless Barn in Nashville.

A bonus resulting from the project is "The Making of Pa's Fiddle: The Music of America," which Cockrell cooked up with Roy L. Moore, dean of the College of Mass Communication.

“At the taping there were 20 Middle Tennessee State students with their cameras, their recorders and their booms and everything else, and they were interviewing the artists and taping what was happening. They have put together, with faculty supervision, a spectacular 28-minute documentary about the making of the show, which serves as a prelude to the show. It will be part of the premium package that viewers get if they pledge to PBS during the show,” Cockrell said.

Next, the musicologist sets his sights on elementary school students.

“I am working with a music education professor in North Carolina and we are putting together lesson plansm," he said. "There are so many third- and fourth-grade teachers who are using these [Little House] books but don’t know how to use the music. So, we are putting together lesson plans to help teachers with the music.”

Cockrell concluded, “I really want people to know how the past is still with us in the present.”

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PostSubject: Re: Pa's Fiddle: American Music PBS Special   Fri May 25, 2012 9:31 pm

That's cool. Smile


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PostSubject: Re: Pa's Fiddle: American Music PBS Special   Sat May 26, 2012 2:13 am

The news I received from the publicist was that it was airing June 2nd, so you might want to check your local listings.


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PostSubject: PA'S FIDDLE NEWS JUNE 6TH   Wed Jun 06, 2012 10:19 am

PBS Now Airing “Pa's Fiddle: The Music of America”
published by BMNN on Wed, 06/06/2012 - 01:03
In January 2012, some of country music’s biggest stars gathered to bring the traditional American folk songs written about by Laura Ingalls Wilder in her internationally best-selling series Little House on the Prairie to life. For the first time in concert, this music was performed in front of a rapt, intimate audience at the Loveless Barn in Nashville and filmed for broadcast. The concert titled Pa's Fiddle: The Music of America will be aired nationwide on PBS throughout June with additional broadcasts scheduled for Fall 2012 and beyond.

The Pa’s Fiddle Project, a unique series of recorded music that brings the 127 songs embedded in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie books to life, celebrates the national release of "Pa's Fiddle; Charles Ingalls, American Fiddler," today, June 5th.

The idea for pairing notable country artists with traditional American repertoire was the brainchild of Dean Butler (film producer and the actor who played Almanzo, Laura’s husband, on the Little House on the Prairie TV show) and esteemed musicologist Dale Cockrell (Professor of Musicology at Middle Tennessee State University). Dean Butler comments, “Dale Cockrell loves traditional American music and I love the stories of American pioneer life written by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Having this opportunity to share the music Laura recalled in her unforgettable novels is nothing less than a dream come true.” The concert features Randy Travis, Rodney Atkins, Ronnie Milsap, Ashton Shepherd, The Roys, Natalie Grant and Committed (NBC Sing Off Champions) accompanied by an A-team band lead by Grammy award-winning musician and musical director Randy Scruggs.

Slated for release on July 31, the concert DVD release contains 14 performances including standouts The Roy’s performance of “The Gum Tree Canoe”, Ronnie Milsap’s “Dixie/The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and “Roll the Old Chariot Along” by Committed in addition to bonus performance footage from Natalie Grant, discussion of the historical context for Charles Ingalls fiddle music from Dale Cockrell, and a video short entitled: “Little House on the Prairie: the Legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder.” Also slated for release on July 31 are the accompanying concert cd and a companion cd featuring recordings by Riders in the Sky, Bryan Sutton and Mac Wiseman, among others, performing additional songs from the books.


Third Release in Planned Ten-CD Series Highlights Life and Music of One of America's Greatest Fiddlers

Little House on the Prairie, the autobiographical bookseries by Laura Ingalls Wilder, offers the most authentic first hand account of 19th-century American folk music available to us. Seen through the lens of Laura’s father Charles “Pa” Ingalls (1836-1902), a highly acclaimed fiddler of the time, the books offer a window into the music that Americans played, sang and listened to in the late 1800s. The Little House on the Prairie books are among the most popular of all time, with over 60 million copies sold since the release of Little House in the Big Woods in 1932. The much-loved TV show, which was inspired by the books, has been in syndication since its debut in 1974.

This newest album spotlights the influence of Charles "Pa" Ingalls, the old-time, 19th-century fiddler and Laura's father. Hidden for decades in plain view, "Pa" Ingalls (1836-1902) was a central figure in the autobiographical stories told by Laura Ingalls Wilder in her Little House on the Prairie books. He was a highly regarded fiddler whose music making is captured by the 127 songs referenced in his daugher's books. How can it be that this extraordinary musician is never included among the pantheon of American fiddlers, especially since he, his name, his stories, and accounts of his music-making are known to many millions the world over?

The recording, which draws from the instances when Pa Ingalls is chronicled playing his fiddle alone, places him among the first rank of old-time fiddlers whose music is foundational to so much in American music. It tells of the power of music to transcend the years, as the "old" music of Pa Ingalls becomes new again through exciting and dynamic performances by some of the today's finest acoustic musicians.

Great American songs on the CD include "Buffalo Gals," "When Johnny Comes Marching Home," "Polly Put the Kettle On," "Life Let Us Cherish," "All the Blue Bonnets," "Golden Years Are Passing By," "Boatmen's Dance," "Mary of the Wild Moor," "The Campbells Are Coming," "Haste to the Wedding," and more.

Acoustic masters Bryan Sutton, Matt Flinner, Matt Combs, David Grier, Jeff Taylor, Dennis Crouch, and others bring these great American folk songs to life, and make them palatable for young ears of today.

These autobiographical Little House books by Wilder (1867-1957) are rich throughout in references to music. In fact, there may be no books of comparable standing that document frontier America family music-making so thoroughly. The source of most music-making was Charles “Pa” Ingalls, a born entertainer who missed few occasions to sing and play his fiddle, an instrument that accompanied the Ingalls family through times good and bad and came to symbolize the endurance of the family unit in a threatening frontier world.

Courtesy of the Little House books, Pa Ingalls is perhaps the 19th-century American fiddler about whom we know most. We know the names of many of the tunes and songs he played, where he played them, for whom, and often why he chose them.

This recording, which draws from the instances when Pa is chronicled playing his fiddle alone, aims to place him among the first rank of old-time fiddlers whose music is foundational to so much in American music.

The performances that constitute these recordings have not been dumbed-down. Some of the nation’s finest acoustic musicians have been enlisted on these projects and invited to make the music of yesterday fresh, exciting, and vital for today's audiences, young and old.

Producer/Creator Dale Cockrell also co-produced the new PBS Special airing nationally on PBS stations starting this week. The concert based on the music written about in the Little House on the Prairie series of books by author Laura Ingalls Wilder, was filmed at the Loveless Barn in Franklin, TN before a live audience.

Artists who performed include award-winning musician and musical director Randy Scruggs and an all-star string band featuring Matt Combs, Dennis Crouch, Chad Cromwell, Hoot Hester and Shad Cobb, along with featured artists Randy Travis, Rodney Atkins, Ronnie Milsap, Ashton Shepherd, The Roys, Natalie Grant and Committed (NBC Sing Off Champions).

Dean Butler ("Almanzo" on the Little House on the Prairie TV show) teamed up with Cockrell to produce this unique show that features these top-level artists performing and giving their best interpretations of the great American songs and tunes loved by Pa and Laura Ingalls during their lifetime.

The CD is in stores today. It is also available at www.laura-ingalls-wilder.com in addition to numerous retail outlets.

The goal of The Pa's Fiddle Project is simple but ambitious: to re-connect generations of readers with the rich musical legacy written into the Little House books.

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 previous two installments in the series, The Arkansas Traveler: Music from Little House on the Prairie and Happy Land: Musical Tribute to Laura Ingalls Wilder, or Pa's Fiddle: Charles Ingalls - American Fiddler, please visit – On the web - http://www.laura-ingalls-wilder.com/
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PostSubject: Re: Pa's Fiddle: American Music PBS Special   Wed Jun 06, 2012 10:57 am

I wonder what retail outlets it can be found??

Thanks for the reminder. I missed it on the 2nd. I was sitting at a boring Astros game that night.

Can't wait to get the dvd. I have always loved Ronnie Milsap.




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PostSubject: Re: Pa's Fiddle: American Music PBS Special   Wed Jun 06, 2012 11:44 am

I didn't know Houston had a major league team. (LOL)
Dave
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PostSubject: Re: Pa's Fiddle: American Music PBS Special   Wed Jun 06, 2012 12:16 pm

Well my nephew John, could quote you stats of anything you wanted to know about baseball. Unfortunally he has an Aunt GG that doesn't even know the questions to ask. I am NOT a baseball fan. More football for me.

We pretty much went for him. Didn't win....9 to 12...Reds.




It is the lack of Christianity that has brought us where we are. Not a lack of churches or religious forms but of the real thing in our hearts. LIW.....Words From a Fearless Heart
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PostSubject: Re: Pa's Fiddle: American Music PBS Special   Wed Jun 06, 2012 9:42 pm

Quote :
Thanks for the reminder. I missed it on the 2nd. I was sitting at a boring Astros game that night.

The Astros were playing my Cincinnati Reds that night, and the Reds won 12-9, so it wasn't boring to me! grinsmiley


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PostSubject: Re: Pa's Fiddle: American Music PBS Special   Thu Jun 07, 2012 12:10 am

Oh, I've missed that! U suppose I MUST simply order this CD! grinsmiley

Vanesa.


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PostSubject: PA'S FIDDLE   Mon Jun 18, 2012 10:20 am

Article yesterday about "PA's Fiddle"

http://www.murfreesboropost.com/inside-mtsu-strike-up-a-tune-learn-more-about-little-house--cms-31533
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PostSubject: Pa's Fiddle Article & Dean Butler   Fri Aug 17, 2012 10:38 am

NASHVILLE, Tennessee – One of the most authentic descriptions of pioneer life on the American frontier can be found in a series of children’s stories. Laura Ingalls Wilder's eight "Little House" books have sold over 60 million copies worldwide in more than 40 languages. Although works of fiction, the stories are semi-autobiographical, drawing heavily on Wilder’s own childhood in Kansas and South Dakota in the mid 1800s. While pioneer life has disappeared, the music Wilder grew up with is alive and well.

The Little House on the Prairie television series is perhaps the best-known adaption of the Laura Ingalls Wilder stories. The show aired for eight seasons beginning in 1974 and has since been translated into 18 languages.

“Her work, her books, her stories are quintessentially American," explains actor Dean Butler, who played Laura Ingall’s husband, Almonzo Wilder on the series. Butler later produced a documentary about the author’s life and books.

“They’re about discovery and struggle and triumph over adversity. They’re about family and about making your way in the world,” Butler says.

This year, he produced a television special entitled “Pa’s Fiddle: The Music of America.” The show is part documentary, part recorded-live performance.

"Pa’s Fiddle" is based on the 127 songs mentioned in the Little House stories, mostly fiddle tunes played by the family patriarch Charles “Pa” Ingalls like “Arkansas Traveler” or “Devil’s Dream.”

Butler hadn’t thought about the books’ musical legacy until he attended a lecture on the subject by musicologist Dale Cockrell.

“As he was weaving the narrative of these songs, and the way that they were embedded into the books, I just loved the way he told the stories,” Butler explains.

That polished presentation was the result of a decade of scholarship. Cockrell, a professor at Vanderbilt University, had already published a 425-page reference book on the Little House songs, seven books of sheet music, and nearly 50 musical recordings on 3 CDs.

Cockrell stumbled on the songs when he began reading the "Little House" books to his eight-year-old son. He realized that nowhere had he seen a fuller portrait of popular music from a crucial era.

“Just about any form of popular music that would have been heard and enjoyed by audiences from the 1860s to the 1880s - the genre, the category at least - is included in the books,” he says.

Cockrell says it’s a legacy he fears Americans are losing touch with.

“Maybe being a historian I’m prejudiced," he admits, "but I think to understand who we are as musical beings now, we need to understand who we were as musical beings then.”

One thing that songs like “Oft in the Stilly Night" and Wilder’s stories help 21st century audiences understand, Cockrell says, is that 19th century pioneer life was a dangerous, unrelenting struggle.

“These aren’t superheroes. The dog dies. The children die. The houses burn down. The crops get destroyed. They’re often picking up and moving on because of defeat,” notes Cockrell.

Defeat perhaps, but never despair. As Wilder herself wrote, “There's no great loss without some small gain.”
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PostSubject: Re: Pa's Fiddle: American Music PBS Special   Fri Aug 17, 2012 6:10 pm

Dean and Dale met at Laurapalooza 2010 and decided to do this project and showed the finished project as well as the bonus feature explaining how it was filmed at this year's Laurapalooza 2012. It was a great documentary and really explained how the music of Pa's fiddle still holds a special place in history and can still be enjoyed today.


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