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Showing posts from August, 2012

Way Up North in Peninsula

The G.A.R. Hall in Peninsula, Ohio, has been hosting a series of lectures related to the Civil War in recognition of the 150th anniversary of what southerners still call "the war of northern aggression."

With "Dixie" being the song of the Confederates during the war and the song's ties to Ohio, it was fitting that last night's lecture should focus on Howard and Judy Sacks' 2003 book Way Up North in Dixie: A Black Family's Claim to the Confederate Anthem, published by the University of Illinois Press.

The Sackses are both affiliated with Kenyon College, in Gambier, Ohio, and residents of Mount Vernon, Ohio, the town where Daniel Decatur Emmett was born and is buried.

Emmett was a famous blackface minstrel of the mid-1800s and is a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame for such compositions as "Turkey in the Straw," "The Boatman's Dance," "Old Dan Tucker" and of course "Dixie." The latter song, however, ma…

KSU Folk Fest Sneak Peak

The Kent State Folk Festival will be Sept. 20-22 in Kent, Ohio. The free workshops are always my highlight of the festival, as they offer an opportunity meet and learn from some great musicians. Afterward, you can usually find a good jam to play some tunes.

While the official event website remains awful a work in progress, Northeast Ohio-based guitarist, singer and songwriter Kerry Kean has posted on his own site the workshop schedule for this year's festival.

In years past, the workshops were held at the KSU Student Center, which was a perfect place for people to meet, attend whatever workshop they were interested in, and then get together afterward to play tunes in the spacious building. This year, however, it looks like the workshops are being held in various locations in downtown Kent.

Glory-Beaming Banjo fans will be happy to note that Mark Olitsky will be co-hosting the banjo workshop, as he has done in the past. The session will be at the Downtown Gallery, according the the …