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Ballad of America at Miami Art Museum
Traditional Songs Tell the Story of the United States on Matthew Sabatella's New CD
Ballad of America Volume 2: America Singing
Miami, FL - Slipstream Productions, Inc. announces the release of Ballad of America Volume 2: America Singing, a new CD by South Florida-based recording artist Matthew Sabatella. This is the second CD in Sabatella's Ballad of America series, which tells the story of the United States through traditional folk songs. The songs on Ballad of America Volume 2: America Singing are among the most commonly sung in the history of the United States. They present uniquely American musical blends, with roots in European and African traditions and branches that have sprouted countless regional and personal variants throughout the country. These songs of work, fun, and love transcend social and ethnic boundaries, painting a broad picture of America during the 18th and 19th centuries when music making was, for many, an integral part of everyday life.
While many of the songs on Ballad of America Volume 2 are well-known, the new interpretations on this CD are frequently revelatory. The first verse and chorus of Home on the Range may be familiar to most adult Americans, but Sabatella unearths five additional stanzas from original song sources. One such verse bemoans in breathtaking poetry the loss of land suffered by Native Americans.
Ballad of America Volume 1: Over a Wide and Fruitful Land was released in 2005 to universal acclaim. The album focuses on the Westward Expansion of the United States, following the paths of the pioneers, sailors, lumberjacks, immigrants, '49ers, farmers, slaves, soldiers, cowboys, and railroaders who moved the country across the continent and into the 20th century. "Sabatella's best asset is easily his voice, urgent but unforced, sweetly melancholy in telling personal stories and powerfully evocative in rendering antiquated songs intimate again," wrote New Times Broward/Palm Beach in the 2005 article that named him Best Acoustic Performer.' The CD received generous airplay on folk and acoustic music radio shows around the world and was purchased for circulation in public and private libraries throughout the United States.
During 2005, as Sabatella and his five-piece acoustic group, the Rambling String Band, performed on stages at festivals, museums, libraries, coffeehouses, and nightclubs, their repertoire expanded to include folk songs that were well known compared to the relatively obscure selections that made up the bulk of the Ballad of America Volume 1. When the musicians entered Liquid Ghost Recording Studios (Boca Raton, FL) in February 2006 to record Ballad of America Volume 2, their goal was to capture fresh, lively performances of songs they felt should be known by every American, such as Wabash Cannonball, Down in the Valley, Blue Tail Fly, and Pick a Bale of Cotton. They wanted to keep the songs alive in the hearts, minds, and voices of everyone who has heard and sung them, introduce them to anyone who hasn't heard and sung them, and help preserve them for future generations to hear and sing. Ballad of America Volume 2: America Singing brings those goals beautifully to fruition.
The Rambling String Band features Lynn Griffith on banjo, mandolin, and vocals; Chris DeAngelis on bass fiddle and vocals; Jack Stamates on fiddle; and Sean Edelson on mandolin and acoustic guitar. Contributing backing vocals on the new CD are returning auxiliary Rambling String Band members Todd Thompson (Dharma Bomb), Henk Milne (The Volunteers), Kevin Wells, Larry Crismond, and Kenny Gruneisen. In addition to acoustic guitar and vocals, which he provided on Volume 1, Sabatella also plays clawhammer banjo and mountain dulcimer on the new release. In his quest to get to the heart of this historic music, he took the instruments up early in 2006.
Resources are in development to inspire and provide tools for educators to use traditional folk music in the teaching of American History, and Sabatella has conducted professional development workshops for public school teachers to that end. Future volumes of Ballad of America will focus on different time periods, events, and topics. Visit BalladofAmerica.com or MatthewSabatella.com for audio, lyrics, sources, performance dates, and more. Ballad of America Volume 2: America Singing is distributed by Victory Multimedia, Follett Library Resources, Coutts Library Services, and BWI Book Wholesalers.