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Stephen Wade has spent nearly his entire life playing and studying American folk music, a rich history he mines on 'Across the Amerikee: Showpieces from Coal Camp to Cattle Trail,' out June 30 on Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. Wade's first entirely solo endeavor, 'Across the Amerikee' presents "solo and display music"--performances that are created for listening rather than to accompany working or dancing, and that are often designed to display instrumental prowess or imitate life sounds such as fox chases and steam locomotives. Pre-order the album here: folkways.si.edu/stephen-wade/across-the-amerikee-showpieces-from-coal-camp-to-cattle-trail
Listen to selections from 'Across the Amerikee' here: bit.ly/2rp4pSH
Grassroots singers and players throughout the United States have long cultivated their own varieties of recital music. A simple dance tune transforms into a concert masterpiece; a personal plaint becomes emblematic of an era. With the banjo and guitar, Wade deftly explores this music made for music's sake. His selections draw from Southern sources as well as Northern interpreters, centering on lyric folksongs and old-time instrumentals transmitted (as one of its older players memorably said) across the Amerikee.
Wade is as well known for his scholarly research and theatrical pieces as he is for his music. 'Across the Amerikee' is Wade's second album for Smithsonian Folkways, following 2012's GRAMMY-nominated 'Banjo Diary: Lessons from Tradition.' Wade's book, 'The Beautiful Music
All Around Us: Field Recordings and the American Experience,' won a 2013 ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for excellence on the subject of music.
Wade recorded 'Across the Amerikee' between 2014 and 2016 as he was making appearances on behalf of 'The Beautiful Music
All Around Us.' The music harks back to that of folk pioneers like Hobart Smith, Jean Ritchie, and Uncle Dave Macon. The tracks include "Come on Buddie, Don't You Want to Go," learned from a posthumously released Macon recording; "Goodbye, Old Paint," an homage to the trails of the Old West; and "Hard Head Hardy," a story spoken over banjo accompaniment.
"We worked live in a studio, without auto-tuning and overdubs, although exceptions to the latter arise in 'Hard Head Hardy' when I blow a wooden train whistle and clang an iron pipe to represent its bell," Wade writes in the accompanying 44-page liner notes. "Otherwise, 'Across the Amerikee' steers by an old-fashioned route, a method followed since the advent of recorded sound." Throughout the album, Wade continues the traditions established by his mentors and inspirations, as he gives new life to musical voices "bursting with a gumption and spunk that resound even now."
'Across the Amerikee' Track List:
1. Wild Horse
2. Come on Buddie, Don't You Want to Go
3. Chesley Chancey's Cumberland Gap
4. Swing and Turn, Jubilee
5. Fly Around My Pretty Little
6. Diamond Joe
7. Puncheon Camps
8. Hard Head Hardy
9. KC Whistle
10. Willie Moore
11. Uncle Dave's Fandango
12. Goodbye, Old Paint
13. Tom Paley's John Henry
14. Trouble at the Coal Creek Mines
15. Gray Eagle
16. Lost John
17. Shortenin' Bread
18. Reno Factory / Brown Skin Blues
19. Sourwood Mountain
20. In the Pines
21. Cherry Blossom Waltz
About Smithsonian Folkways:
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings is dedicated to supporting cultural diversity and increased understanding among people through the documentation, preservation, production, and dissemination of sound. Part of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, it is the nonprofit record label of the Smithsonian Institution, the national museum of the United States. NOTE: Smithsonian Folkways Recordings retail distribution in the US is through ADA (Alternative Distribution Alliance) at 800.239.3232. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings releases are available through record and book outlets. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, as well as Folkways Records, A.R.C.E., Arhoolie, Banjo Builders, Blue Ridge Institute, Cook, Collector, Dyer-Bennet, Fast Folk, I.L.A.M., The Mickey Hart Collection, Monitor, M.O.R.E., Paredon, and UNESCO, are available via mail order at 888.FOLKWAYS or 800.410.9815. Visit the Smithsonian Folkways Recordings website at folkways.si.edu or write to 600 Maryland Ave. SW, Suite 2001, Washington, DC, 20024.
More Info on Smithsonian Folkways:
Official Website: folkways.si.edu