Tonight at The Ivy Bookshop – Stephen Wade: The Beautiful Music All Around Us

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Stephen Wade: The Beautiful Music All Around Us

Tuesday, May 27, 2014 – 7:00pm



The Beautiful Music All Around Us presents the extraordinarily 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. Including the children’s play song “Shortenin’ Bread,” the fiddle tune “Bonaparte’s Retreat,” the blues “Another Man Done Gone” and the spiritual “Ain’t No Grave Can Hold My Body Down,” 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. Alongside loving and expert profiles of these performers and their locales and communities, Wade also untangles the histories of these iconic songs and tunes, tracing them through slave songs and spirituals, British and homegrown ballads, fiddle contests, gospel quartets and labor laments. By exploring how these singers and instrumentalists exerted their own creativity on inherited forms, Wade shows how a single artist can make a difference within a democracy.

Musician, recording artist and writer Stephen Wade is best known for his long-running stage performances of Banjo Dancing and On the Way Home. He also produced and annotated the Rounder CD collection that gave rise to this book,A Treasury of Library of Congress Field Recordings. Since 1996, his commentaries on folksongs and traditional tunes have appeared on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered.


The Ivy Bookshop
6080 Falls Road

Baltimore, MD 21209

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