Liza's book, Katherine Jackson French: Kentucky's Forgotten Ballad Collector, published through University Press of Kentucky which was awarded the KENTUCKY HISTORY AWARD is now out in paperback. Available from Amazon, Borders, University Press of Kentucky and other online merchants.
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 been published by Berea College, fulfilling a 110-year-old promise. It, along with There Was a Fair Maid Dwelling a recording of French's ballads (#55 on the Folk Chart in 2020), is available by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org .
The publication of the trilogy marks the culmination of a seven-year project.
Spring in Kentucky
We find ourselves enjoying another lovely spring in Kentucky in our beautiful home. Work at the college is very busy for both of us; we will soon see another crop of students into the world.
We had a great time at Christmas Country Dance School, attending as participants. It may be the first weeklong event we’ve paid to go to, ever. It reminded us of the old days at the Folk Project of Northern New Jersey; good people, great music and dance, and a real sense of community.
This spring, in addition to our college duties, our Illegal Contraband incarnation played the Louisville Dance, and Swing Shift in Lexington and Berea. In addition to that, our new jazz band Walk Sign Chestnut gave its debut performance at Rebel Rebel. Look for us this summer - details to follow.
Liza had her work on Katherine Jackson French featured at the Birthplace of Country Music in Bristol, VA in an exhibit entitled “I’ve Endured: Women in Old-Time Music.” She’s also won a grant to work this summer with students on a research project investigating underreported kinds of music in Appalachia.
A.J. is playing for three classes at the college and doing some recording, hopefully music for synch. We’re both getting back to exercising and cleaning up our diets, part of our annual personal spring cleaning.
We are also looking forward to a trip to New Orleans in early summer, plus spending a lot of time at our place in Upstate New York.
For the first time in twenty years, we will not be teaching at Common Ground on the Hill. Our season with them has been long, and we are taking a break and looking forward to our first real summer off in, well, ever. If you’re in our neck of the woods, let us know! We love connecting with musicians, clients, audience, and other friends.