Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Stephen Foster Remembered

I'd like to talk a little bit about a favorite CD that I purchased earlier this year, Amy Miller and Carl Hudson's "Hard Times: Stephen Foster Remembered."

This is the review I wrote for it on the CD Baby site (

My New Favorite Period Music CD
It is 1864 and, after a busy work-week running the gristmill, a few of us are relaxing on a Saturday evening. A piano and a pump organ are there, awaiting to be played. One of my friends brings his banjo, another has bones. And still, another brought the most special of instruments, her sweet voice. It helps that she can also play said keyboard instruments as well. That's where this CD takes me when I listen to it. I came across it on a fluke and ordered it after only listening to a few samples. The kind folks at CD Baby ensured my copy was in my hands inside of three days and, as God is my witness, I have played this almost daily since. As a citizen/civilian Civil War re-enactor, as well as an amateur social historian of the 19th century, I simply cannot get enough of this disc. This is highly recommended for any lover of authentic sounding parlor music of the middle class.

And, the CD Baby folks said of this CD:
Amy Miller and Carson Hudson have also tried to replicate the way that Americans would have actually heard these works in the 1840s, 50s and 60s, hoping that you enjoy their attempt at a musical time machine to mid-19th century America.

Amy's voice is not of the Linda Ronstadt caliber, which is not a bad thing here (though it is a beautiful voice). And it does fit this music perfectly, as described above, and can make one feel as if they were in a parlor, enjoying a family and friends get together. It definitely adds to the authenticity of our weekly time-travel experiences (yes, yes, I know it's recorded music on a compact disc - we're talking effect here, a mind-travel through time).
I think my particular favorites are when she sings with the pump organ - a true time-travel experience.
And a finer version of "Some Folks" you will never hear!
So, I just thought I'd pass along a bit of info of some very authentic-sounding period music. You would do yourself well to get it.

I will try and review other period music available in future blogs.

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