Originally uploaded by paynehollow.
This last weekend was the 30th annual Kentucky Music Weekend, an event that my family has been attending for at least 15 years. KMW is an outdoor festival featuring musicians playing a mix of folk, bluegrass, celtic and all around great acoustic music. The setting is at the beautiful Iroquois Amphitheater in South Louisville and it is always a delight.
One of the newer acts that played is a Berea, Kentucky duo called Zoe Speaks that Donna and I just love. They're pictured above (sorry about the quality of the photos – it was getting dark). For more info on them:
One of the coolest treats at KMW is that Kentucky's own Jean Ritchie usually shows up to play and sing. Jean Ritchie has been a collector of Appalachian music and its Old World roots for nearly all her 80+ years. When she sings, she needlessly warns us that her voice doesn't always cooperate any more. “I can't guarantee that it'll be pretty,” she told us again Saturday night, “but it'll be authentic.”
Her warning notwithstanding, she sang, as always, with a bone-chilling glory. There is a clear beauty in an authentic voice that can't be compared to the most trained and perfect vocals.
And there with the crickets chirping and the bats swinging over our heads in the slight cool of a hot July day's end, she sang again:
My Lord, he said unto me
Do you like my garden so fair?
You may live in this garden if you'll keep the grasses green
And I'll return in the cool of the day .
Now is the cool of the day,
Now is the cool of the day
Oh, the Earth is the garden, the garden of the Lord
And he walks in the garden
In the cool of the day.
You can see Jean on the right in the picture below.