Hey, friends! Like all of you, we have been adjusting to this strange new world in which we find ourselves. Playing music is and always has been for us a communal activity, and to be thrust into a world in which gatherings are potentially deadly puts the kibosh on something that for us is as basic a need as water or food: sharing our music in person with all of you.
We have done our best to stay in touch and share our music. We'll be doing a Katherine Jackson French performance for the Niles Center on September 18, virtual, of course. We gave seven facebook live performances over the past few months; A.J. did another on his own, and Liza did a series of performances and readings in celebration of the release of her biography "Katherine Jackson French: Kentucky's Forgotten Ballad Collector." In addition, we did a really fun live performance for a venue that is a regular client. We also taught for two weeks virutally at Common Ground on the Hill and appeared on the TradMad showcase on Folk Music Radio. It has been fun, but we look forward to the time when we can once again gather and raise the rafters in song.
We are finalizing, at long last My Lord, What a Morning and expect to have it out by the spring. This is a collection of lovely folk hymns in mostly instrumental arrangements, recommended as a soothing balm for these troubled times.
We are taking pre-orders. Please note: HALF OF ALL PRE-ORDER MONEYS WILL BE DONATED TO THE CAMPAIGN OF AMY MCGRATH, WHO IS RUNNING FOR SENATE AGAINST MITCH MCCONNELL.
Liza has been engaged in a number of interviews regarding her book, Katherine Jackson French: Kentucky’s Forgotten Ballad Collector. Here’s a nice interview on Old-Time Central: https://oldtime-central.com/katherine-jackson-french-kentuckys-forgotten-ballad-collector/
Look for an upcoming article in the Country Dance and Song Society magazine as well.
The CD of Jackson’s ballads, entitled There Was a Fair Maid Dwelling, is out, and the printed ballad collection, English-Scottish Ballads from the Hills of Kentucky, will be available soon through Berea College (marking the fulfillment of a 110-year-old promise). This trilogy marks the completion of a six-year project.
You can order the biography here: https://www.kentuckypress.com/9780813178523/katherine-jackson-french/ See www.elizabethdisavinoauthor.com for more information. Reviews below.
CD and ballad book can be ordered by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
REVIEWS OF Katherine Jackson French: Kentucky’s Forgotten Ballad Collector:
“According to DiSavino, French’s findings - neglected until now - offer a different view than that put forward by the later and reigning scholar of Appalachian ballads, the Englishman Cecil Sharp…The counterfactual scenario DiSavino invokes, in which mountain women and African-American string bands were granted their rightful, central place in early country music, is heartening to entertain.” - Lidija Haas, Harpers
“DiSavino’s wealth of research contributes to an understanding of the cultural and historical life of our nation, glimpsed through the window of our national song as recorded by Dr. Katherine Jackson French’s keen ear and discerning intellect.”—Ron Pen, director emeritus of the John Jacob Niles Center for American Music and author of I Wonder as I Wander: The Life of John Jacob Niles
“DiSavino analyzes and compares the ballads collected by Cecil Sharp and Olive Dame Campbell with the French collection in terms of music, style, and representation of singers. French can now take her place alongside Emma Bell Miles and Campbell as a strong woman chronicling life in the Appalachian region just after the turn of the twentieth century, sometimes at odds with institutions and traditional expectations.”—Deborah J. Thompson, assistant professor and Appalachian Studies faculty at Berea College
“Meticulously researched, this fascinating unveiling of the life and work of a minor character in the early twentieth century ‘Ballad Wars’ seems like it was a true labor of love for Berea College music professor Elizabeth DiSavino….It also made me wonder if Miss Jackson’s “Fortnight of Balladry” was also a labor of love” Rick Jackofsky, Homegrown String Band, Amazon review,
Liza's book, Katherine Jackson French: Kentucky's Forgotten Ballad Collector, published through University Press of Kentucky was released on May 19.
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 will also be published by Berea College. "There Was a Fair Maid Dwelling," a recording of French's ballads is also available by contacting .
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.