The High and Lonesome Sound
The music of Roscoe Holcomb transcended daily life. Although it was grounded in Appalachia, in East Kentucky, in his little town of Dais, his music traveled like it was on a path towards a distant star. John Cohen\nIn 1959 John Cohen traveled to East Kentucky looking for what he calls old music. Cohen asked for names at local gas stations but soon ran out of leads, and drove off the highway onto the next dirt road. Here he stumbled across Roscoe Holcomb playing the banjo and singing on his front porch in a way says Cohen, that made the hairs on my neck stand up on end. And so by pure chance began the life-long friendship that is the background for The High and Lonesome Sound.\nCohen visited Holcomb frequently over the next three decades, and made many photographs, films and records of his music. In time Holcomb, a poor coal miner by trade, became a regular feature on the American concert and festival circuits. The strange beauty and discomfort of his music a mixture of blues, ballads and Baptist hymns, and unique through his high strained voice was exposed to a larger audience. Nevertheless Holcomb died alone in a nursing home in 1981.\nThe High and Lonesome Sound combines Cohens vintage photos, film and musical recordings as well as an anecdotal text into a multimedia tribute to this underappreciated legend of American music whose every performance was in Cohens words not just a rendition of music, but a test of something to be overcome.
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