Spring is poking its head up here and there in Kentucky, with yesterday reaching 60 and right now, snow showers falling. But spring will certainly come; it always does. A good lesson there, in that darkness cannot hold forever. The sun will return, and with it warmth, flowers, leaves, and the sweet days of summer.
We are proud to announce that A.J. has been named an accompanist in the dance program at the University of Kentucky. This, in addition to his ongoing work as the accompanist for both the Berea Country Dancers and the dance program at Berea College, draws upon his long dance background and musical versatility. He is playing everything from ballet to contra to to English to tango this term; enough to make your head spin! Congratulations, A.J.!
March is crunch month at Berea. A.J. will be playing the Mountain Folk Festival on March 27 and 28th. Liza will be delivering a lecture on Katherine Jackson French to the Richmond P.E.O on March 9. She will lead the Folk-Roots Ensemble on tour March 27-29 to Hindman, KY and Black Mountain, NC.
We have a busy summer booked already with concerts at venues in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New Hampshire including a week at Star Island ad our longstanding favorite, Common Ground on the Hill. We will also be playing on the longest-running folk radio show, "Bound for Glory," on WBVR at Cornell University on July 26.
We are looking to book some house concerts that will coincide with those dates - please contact us if you are interested.
We are working on mastering one album, and preparing to record another, a reboot of our debut album, "Playmates." Some of the old favorites will be on it, plus some newer originals and songs we have learned since being at Berea.
Liza's album of ballads collected by Katherine Jackson French, entitled "There Was a Fair Maid Dwelling," is in hand, though official release will coincice with the book and ballads this spring.
The Kentucky launch of the book, CD, and a separate commemorative edition of the ballads will be September 4 at Berea College, so clear your calendars! Northerners, keep an eye out for events in your neck of the woods!
Y'all be good, and cuddle up, and don't forget to vampire sneeze! Love y'all!
Peace & Syncopation,
Liza & A.J.
Liza, the academic of the duo, has been flexing her writing and scholarship muscles lately.
Liza's Katherine Jackson French: Kentucky's Forgotten Ballad Collector is in the University Press of Kentucky catalog and is ready to order. https://www.kentuckypress.com/9780813178523/katherine-jackson-french/. The book, will be available in May 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. 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
Liza also collaborated with Loyal Jones, Mr. Appalachia himself, on "My Curious and Jocular Heroes" and transcribed the ballads therein. Published by University of Illinois Press, the book came out in 2017.
In addition, one of Liza's poems, "Bread," was accepted for publication by the prestigious Paterson Literary Review, which came out in April of 2018.
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.