The writing of award-winning author Sharyn McCrumb and the music of Jack Hinshelwood will combine for an entertaining evening Tuesday, Sept. 29, at Tusculum College.
“Words and Music: A Soundtrack to the Ballad Novels” will be presented at 7 p.m. on Sept. 29 in the Behan Arena Theatre in the lower level of the Annie Hogan Byrd Fine Arts Building. The program is part of Tusculum College Arts Outreach’s Acts, Arts, Academia 2009-10 performance and lecture series.
The internationally acclaimed program brings together the ballads that are woven throughout McCrumb’s novels with Hinshelwood performing the songs while the author reads and discusses her novel. The program features the novels, “If Ever I Return, Pretty Peggy-O, “The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter,” “She Walks These Hills,” “The Rosewood Casket,” “The Ballad of Frankie Silver,” “The Songcatcher,” “Ghost Riders” and “St. Dale.”
Hinshelwood and McCrumb have toured the United States with the program, and their collaboration has resulted in a recording by Hinshelwood of the ballads from “I Ever I Return, Pretty Peggy-O.” Hinshelwood, who began playing traditional music in the 1970s, is a member of the Celtibillies.
Early in his career, Hinshelwood found success in numerous guitar contests, winning the Knoxville World’s Fair Guitar Championship, the Galax Fiddler’s Convention Guitar Contest and the Wayne Henderson Guitar Championship. He has also contributed to the rich heritage of traditional music through his instrumental and vocal compositions, many of which are included in his recordings. The National Park Service Blue Ridge Music Center featured him in their Blue Ridge Masters showcase concert series.
McCrumb is best known for Appalachian ballad novels, set in the North Carolina/Tennessee mountains. The New York Times Best Sellers “She Walks These Hills” and “The Rosewood Casket,” deal with the issue of the vanishing wilderness. “The Ballad of Frankie Silver,” is the story of the first woman hanged for murder in the state of North Carolina. “The Songcatcher” is a genealogy in music, tracing the author‘s family from 18th century Scotland to the present by following a Scots Ballad through the generations. “Ghost Riders,” an account of the Civil War in the mountains of western North Carolina, won the Wilma Dykeman Award for Literature given by the East Tennessee Historical Society.
In 2008, McCrumb was named a “Virginia Woman of History” for achievement in literature, and she was a guest author in the 2006 National Festival of the Book in Washington, D.C. She has also received the Appalachian Writers Association Outstanding Contribution to Appalachian Literature Award, the Chaffin Award for Southern Literature and the Plattner Award for Short Story. A graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, with an M.A. in English from Virginia Tech, McCrumb was the first writer-in-residence at King College in Tennessee. In 2005 she honored as the Writer of the Year at Emory & Henry College. A film of her novel “The Rosewood Casket” is currently in production, directed by British Academy Award nominee Roberto Schaefer.
McCrumb’s great-grandfathers were circuit preachers in North Carolina’s Smoky Mountains a hundred years ago, riding horseback over the ridges to preach in a different community each week. It is from them, she says, that she gets her regard for books, her gift of storytelling and public speaking, and her love of the Appalachian Mountains.
“My books are like Appalachian quilts,” McCrumb says. “I take brightly colored scraps of legends, ballads, fragments of rural life, and local tragedy, and I piece them together into a complex whole that tells not only a story, but also a deeper truth about the culture of the mountain South.”
For her latest two novels, NASCAR provides the setting. “St. Dale” is a “Canterbury Tales” type story of a group of ordinary people who go on a pilgrimage in honor of racing legend Dale Earnhardt. “Once Around the Track” examines the need for larger-than-life heroes while chronicling the adventures of an all-female race team that hires a “pretty” male driver.
Admission is $6 per person. For more information about the performance, contact Tusculum College Arts Outreach at 423-798-1620, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://arts.tusculum.edu.
The Acts, Arts, Academia performance and lecture series is supported by Dr. Sam Miller in memory of Mary Agnes Ault Miller, Tusculum College Arts Outreach, Society of Cicero, Hearts for the Arts, the Tennessee Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts.
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