Liza's book, Katherine Jackson French: Kentucky's Forgotten Ballad Collector, published through University Press of Kentucky was awarded the KENTUCKY HISTORY AWARD!!!
Liza and her work on Dr. French was featured on All Things Considered on NPR in a feature by Stephanie Wolf. You can catch it here: https://www.npr.org/2021/01/05/953653411/katherine-jackson-frenchs-ballad-collection-published-110-years-later
Other features include one on Old-Time Central: https://oldtime-central.com/katherine-jackson-french-kentuckys-forgotten-ballad-collector/ and an article in the Country Dance and Song Society Summer 2020 magazine as well: https://www.cdss.org/programs/cdss-news-publications/cdss-news/1900-cdss-news-fall-2020
Dr. French first tried to publish a collection of Kentucky ballads in 1910; the story of how this did not come to be, along with how the history of Appalachian balladry would have been different if it had, is the subject of this story of one of Kentucky music's greatest unknown women. The biography may be ordered here: https://www.kentuckypress.com/9780813178523/katherine-jackson-french/
A commemorative edition of her ballads has just been published by Berea College, fulfilling a 110-year-old project. It, along with There Was a Fair Maid Dwelling a recording of French's ballads (#55 on the Folk Chart this past summer, FYI!), is available by contacting email@example.com .
The publication of the trilogy marks the culmination of a seven-year project.
A.J. too is working on a book. Entitled "Ain't It a Shame," it explores the difficult subject of abuse through photographs and poems. He has been working with Lee Francis IV and is nearing the final edit. He is also exploring avenues to utilize his many well-loved monster images in artistic mediums of various kinds.
We have had a very busy 2021-2022 at Berea College. Liza taught a very heavy load this spring, made appearances at various schools and historical societies, got to appear at the Kentucky Book Fair, and was a guest at the Midwest Seminar on Ethnomusicology. A.J. is not only playing for the dance program at Berea, he is accompanist at the prestitgious University of Kentucky dance program. they still managed to do some pretty dang nice concerts, including at First United Church in Oneonta NY, Willow Valley Communities, and the John Jacob Niles Center for American Music.
We are currently conducting research on Italian and Hungarian music in Appalachia and have had some very interesting interviews and conversations so far.
We are having a much-needed peaceful summer, working on our house in the Catskills. We will be the musical guest at Star Island's "Reconnect With Your Creative Energies" retreat June 19-26. Here's a bit about that: https://starisland.org/
And we will be doing a week again for Common Ground on the Hill - LIVE this year. Please join us at this amazing folk arts school in Westminster, Maryland, July 10-15, with the Festival on th 16th. It is a place that changes lives by bringin people together on the ground of the traditional arts. Come join us!
Peace & Syncopation,
Liza & A.J.