This ambitious project of American Roots Publishing is an instant sensation. They went back to perhaps the first and greatest American composer of songs; enlisted a plethora of highly skilled musicians to render the songs, and enlisted equally highly accomplished engineers to do the recording. American Roots Publishing is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving regional culture through literature and art. Its Board is composed of concerned and influential people including Tamara Saviano, Emmylou Harris, Steve Wozinak, and Steve Fishell. If this initial project is any indication of what the future holds we can't help but to be encouraged.
The scope of this undertaking is breath taking. The diversity of artists enlisted to interpret Stephen Foster's songs is spectacular. The musical styling they employ to put forth these so familiar musical masterpieces from the nineteenth century is extraordinary. From the soft and delicate Slumber My Darling as done by Alison Krauss with Mark O'Connor, Edgar Meyer, and Yo Yo Ma, to the folk style of Roger McGuinn on Jeanie With The Light Brown Hair, to the ethereal and other worldly rending of Grey DeLisle on Willie we Have Missed You, to the breath taking soul of Mavis Staples on Hard Times Come Again No More, there is not a weak moment here. These are songs we all know and they form almost an unconscious American psyche.
This disc should not be missed for a plethora of reasons, not least of which is all the proceeds benefit American Roots Publishing and their stated undertaking. In this time of limited government support for the arts and preservation of our heritage they are doing a much-needed job. The diversity of artists and the styling they employ is staggering.
Tracks and Artists
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