Back in 2004, there was an anthology album called Beautiful Dreamer, a collection of songs by the man considered the first American popular songwriters, Stephen Foster. It put together his best-known songs along with some that today are unknown, performed by a collection of well-known folk singers and country singers and a mix of others. (Even cellist Yo-Yo Ma is on it...) And it won the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album
The entire album isn't consistent. Some of the lesser-known songs are that way for a reason, and some of the interpretations don't strike me as always effective. But most of it is a extremely good: deeply affectionate, atmosphereic and fresh -- including several of the unknown songs.
We'll get to one of those another time, but probably the best way to introduce the album is John Prine singing, "My Old Kentucky Home, Goodnight." It's hard to top that. But we'll try...
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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