...A kind of spectral music box jazz-for-voices, imbued with a deep eerie poignancy. 4 stars.
— Andrew Male, Mojo Magazine
Spliced and meshed with instrumentation both old and newly composed, these stories are revived as haunting tone-poems, enigmatic time-capsules that swirl about in a tintype haze.
— The Operative Magazine
This is a dialogue between past and present, memory and action, grisly, strange, and compelling.
— George Grella, Jr., The Big City

The third in a series of recording projects stemming from the Berea College Appalachian Sound Archives, Rawhead & Bloodybones (2015) combines samples of music and folk tales with live instruments. The historic archival recordings of children recounting folk tales were made by Leonard Roberts in the 1940s and 50s. The combination of the children’s youthful voices and the often gruesome stories they tell offers a striking and dramatic contrast. These recordings along with other archival samples from Berea are woven into a larger musical world, with additional instrumental parts added as a counterpoint to the stories. Rawhead & Bloodybones is available on Dust-to-Digital Records.

1. Merrywise (6:26)
2. Indians (0:39)
3. Jack and His Master (5:39)
4. Hale Family (0:54)
5. Greedy Bear (3:40)
6. Where Are You Going, Pretty Bird? (0:58)
7. Everlasting Water (5:50)
8. Rawhead & Bloodybones (10:33)

Bonus tracks (Instrumental Versions):
1. Merrywise (Instrumental) (6:16)
2. Jack and His Master (Instrumental) (5:42)
3. Greedy Bear (Instrumental) (3:31)
4. Everlasting Water (Instrumental) (5:49)
5. Rawhead & Bloodybones (Instrumental) (9:55)

All samples are used with permission from the Berea College Appalachian Sound Archives.

Sampled Musicians and Field Recordings: Hiram Stamper, fiddle and banjo, “Lonesome Road" and “Roll on John"; Manon Campbell, fiddle, “Indian in the Woodhen”; Jackie Helton, banjo, “Brave Lieutenant”; I.D. Stamper, dulcimer, “Redwing” and “John Henry”

Folk Tales: Jane Muncy Fugate, “Merrywise,” Rawhead & Bloodybones”; Janis K. Morgan, “Jack and His Master”; Estill South, “Greedy Bear”; Felix Turner, “Everlasting Water”

Collections Used: Leonard Roberts (1, 3, 5, 8); John Harrod (2, 6); William Tallmadge (4);  Bruce Greene (1, 3, 5, 7, 8)

Brian Harnetty: Rhodes piano, bells, vibraphone, banjo, accordion
Jeremy Woodruff: Flute, saxophone
Alex Murphy: Trumpet
Matt Ogborn: Viola

Special thanks to: Robert and Jane Muncy Fugate, and Lynneda Denny and the family of the Leonard Roberts Trust.

Mastering: Todd Carter, Experimental Sound Studio, Chicago
Images: Courtesy of the Berea College Appalachian Sound Archives