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Various Artists - Brautiful Dreamer: The Songs of Stephen Foster

Beautiful Dreamer:
The Songs of Stephen Foster

Various Artists


American Roots Publishing, Inc.
1603 Horton Avenue
Nashville, TN 37212

Available from

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Bob Gottlieb

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

  • Beautiful Dreamer - Raul Malo
  • Slumber My Darling - Alison Krauss With Mark O'Connor, Edgar Meyer, And Yo Yo Ma
  • Don't Bet Money On De Shanghai - BR549
  • Nelly Was A Lady - Alvin Youngblood-Hart
  • No One To Love - Judith Edelman
  • Camptown Races - The Duhks
  • My Old Kentucky Home Goodnight - John Prine
  • Autumn Waltz - Henry Kaiser
  • In The Eye Abides The Heart - Beth Nielsen Chapman
  • Old Folks At Home - David Ball
  • Oh! Susanna = Michelle Shocked & Pete Anderson
  • Willie We Have Missed You - Grey DeLisle
  • Hard Times Come Again No More - Mavis Staples
  • Gentle Annie - Ollabelle
  • Jeanie With The Light Brown Hair - Roger McGuinn
  • Ah, May The Red Rose Live Always - Suzy Bogguss
  • Holiday Schottisch - Will Barrow
  • Comrades Fill No Glass For Me - Ron Sexsmith

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2004, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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