Lomax American Patchwork collection to be screened at Opera House

Alan Lomax and crew at the home of old-time banjo player Dink Roberts, in Haw River, NC, 1983
Alan Lomax and crew at the home of old-time banjo player Dink Roberts, in Haw River, NC, 1983

From 1978 to 1983, Alan Lomax and a video crew traveled through the American South, documenting its traditional music – brass bands, second-liners and Mardi Gras Indians in New Orleans; miners, moonshiners and Primitive Baptists in Kentucky; flat-footers, string bands and Piedmont blues in North Carolina; Cajun cowboys, fiddlers and zydeco stompers in French-speaking Louisiana; and fife-and-drum ensembles, gospel quartets and former railroad track-liners, levee-camp muleskinners and players on the pre-war blues circuit in Mississippi.

The footage ultimately totaled over 400 hours and was edited into Lomax’s “American Patchwork” series, which aired on American public television in 1991. But the lion’s share has never been seen publicly.

Nathan Salsburg, curator of the Alan Lomax Archive, will screen a program of assorted clips from the American Patchwork collection at the Pocahontas County Opera House, in Marlinton, on Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 7 p.m.

Nathan Salsburg is a guitarist, producer, archivist and writer in Louisville, Kentucky. As a musician, he has released two solo albums – “Affirmed” (No Quarter, 2011) and “Hard For to Win and Can’t Be Won” (No Quarter, 2013) – and a duet record with Chicago’s James Elkington, entitled “Avos” (Tompkins Square, 2011).

Salsburg’s spellbinding fingerstyle guitar playing will also be featured as part of the September 24 event.

Since 2000, Salsburg has worked for the Alan Lomax Archive, where he currently serves as the archive’s Curator, compiling releases of the American folklorist’s recordings, and managing the archive’s online audio, photo and video catalogs, including its YouTube channel. Salsburg has also produced archival releases for the Mississippi and Tompkins Square labels, and he curates the Twos & Fews recording imprint of Chicago’s Drag City company.

Opera House doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $8. Children 17 and under are admitted free of charge. Tickets are available in advance at pocahontasoperahouse.org and at the Fourth Avenue Gallery in Marlinton.

The Pocahontas County Opera House is located at 818 Third Avenue in Marlinton. Performances at the Opera House are informal, family-friendly and open to all. The entrance and main seating are accessible to persons with disabilities. Persons with disabilities are encouraged to attend; special accommodations can be arranged upon request by calling 304-799-6645.

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