Monday, November 24, 2008

Great Music Monday-My Old Kentucky Home

Allow me to introduce you all to a friend of mine, the American Troubadour Bill Schustik.

I met Bill at the 2008 Alafia River Rendezvous in Florida. I was sitting in camp having a conversation with The Man From Ohio when suddenly my ears beheld the sound of a sea shanty. Looking toward the performance stage, I see a man dressed as if he has just disembarked from a ship in the harbor. Of course, I wandered over to listen. As I stood and sang along with several of the shanties he was doing, one of the others in the audience noticed me. After Bill finished his set, the audience member came over and introduced herself. She was the entertainment chief for the Alafia. I introduced myself and told her how impressed I was. So she took me up and introduced me to Bill. We talked and I told him where I was from and made refernce to the Spoon River. Without missing a beat, he immediatley asked about Edgar Lee Master's "Spoon River Anthology" and if I had ever heard the piece, "I am, I am" form the live showw. I had not and he sang a few bars. We talked for a while longer. Later that evening, they had the showcase of all the people providing entertainment in a special concert. Bill was the last peformer. The entertainment chief introduced him by saying "He know the music of the time, and he knows the story behind the music." Exactly. He performed a few numbers and ended with the full version of "I am, I am." I was blown away. After he exited the stage, he walked right up to me and asked if I noticed the song he did. Of course, I had. We talked for a while longer.

After I returned to Illinois, I e-mailed Bill about trying to get him up here for an event or two. It didn't happen but I am still holding out hope for next year. And that when I return to the Alafia in January 2009, he will be back.

Anywho. This week's Great Music Monday is a classic piece of Americana. "My Old Kentucky Home." Composed by Stephen Foster and performed by American Troubadour Bill Schustik. He will break into the music occasionally and tell some history of it. Pay attention. Valuable Information.

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