Monday, April 11, 2011

To the Archive!

We love old songs. One of our goals for this next album is to preserve some old public-domain folk songs while giving them a fresh style. At the end of March, we were lucky enough to have the opportunity to visit the Smithsonian Folklife Archive in Washington DC and search out these old traditional river songs.  It was an unforgettable experience.

(Side note) - It just so happens that the archive is located in the same office as Smithsonian Folkways Records.  This is the record label that produces albums and compilations from our favorite artists of all time (Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Ella Jenkins, Elizabeth Mitchell, etc etc… ), so we were pretty much in high heaven!

The archive itself is located in a huge temperature controlled room and it consists of hundreds of thousands of records, tapes, CDs, album notes, studio logs, original cover art, lyric sheets, etc.  By using large index books, we (with the help of Jeff Place, Head Archivist and two-time Grammy winner!) would pull recordings from this collection, listen to them, and find dozens of amazing songs that related to our river adventure theme.  Of course some of what we heard was unusable, but after listening to about 100 songs over 2 days, we found some real gems! Expect to hear some on the album! 

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