Pa’s Fiddle: The Music of America
The "Little House of the Prairie" books by Laura Ingalls Wilder have been enjoyed by millions of young readers since their creation in the 1930’s and 1940’s. One of the highlights of these stories was Wilder’s vivid description of her father, Charles "Pa" Ingalls, and his fiddle playing. The songs that "Pa" played have provided us with a time capsule of the bluegrass and folk music of the 19th century. Musicologist Dale Cockrell, in conjunction with the PBS television network, selected fifteen of these southern standards to present live in concert, and "Pa’s Fiddle: The Music of America" is the result.
The concert features a well-balanced combination of new and established artists performing melodies that anyone growing up in the south would still know today. Highlights include two performances from young Ashton Shepherd (on "O California" and "Oft in the Stilly Night"), a spunky, energetic singer whose performances very easily take the listener back to the porches of 19th century Tennessee and Kentucky, to legends Randy Travis (on "The Sweet By and By" and "Rock of Ages") and Ronnie Milsap (on a somber medley of "Dixie" and "The Battle Hymn of the Republic"). Other artists for this concert include stud Rodney Atkins, The Roys, gospel star Natalie Grant, and the winners of NBC’s "Sing Off," Committed (who provide soulful arrangements of "Roll The Old Chariot Along" and "The Battle Cry of Freedom").
Bonus features include an extra performance from Grant of "There is a Fountain," which Cockrell (President of Pa’s Fiddle Recordings) tells us that even though it wasn’t referred to in any of Wilder’s published books, it was in her original manuscripts, justifying its inclusion in this compilation. A fascinating tour of Wilder’s world, and where each selection places in context, is provided as well. There were over 100 songs referred to in the "Little House" books, as Charles’ fiddle playing clearly had a tremendous impact on his daughter, so there are many opportunities for follow up recordings.
"Pa’s Fiddle: The Music of America"