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Music series starts with blues and gospel

January 17, 2014

“America’s Music: A Film History of Our Popular Music from Blues to Bluegrass to Broadway,” a series of acclaimed films, will begin on Monday, Jan. 27, at 7 p.m. in the James J. Johnson Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public. No ticket is required.

The six-part series kicks off with two films “Feel Like Going Home: Episode 1” and “Say Amen, Somebody.” The series will consist of screenings of documentary films about major genres of 20th century American music, followed by scholarly discussions on how the music has impacted our American culture and musical landscape. Each session will end with live music, featuring CCU music faculty and students.

“Feel Like Going Home” is director Martin Scorsese’s lyrical journey into the landscape and origins of the blues. Using archival Library of Congress recordings and footage gathered by pioneers John and Alan Lomax in the 1930s and 1940s, the film explores the birth of the blues out of the hard experiences of black farmers and cotton workers in the Mississippi Delta.

Featuring rarely seen interviews and performances, the film introduces the great early blues masters Son House, Leadbelly, Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson and John Lee Hooker.

“Say Amen” profiles three pioneers of the Golden Age of Gospel Music: Willie Mae Ford Smith, Thomas A. Dorsey and Sallie Martin. Upcoming films in the series are:

* Monday, Feb. 10, from 7 to 9 p.m.

Session Two: Broadway and Tin Pan Alley featuring “Broadway: The American Musical, Episode 2: Syncopated City (1919-1933)”

* Monday, Feb. 24, from 7 to 9 p.m.

Session Three: Swing Jazz featuring “Ken Burns’ Jazz: Episode 6: Swing: The Velocity of Celebration” and “International Sweethearts of Rhythm”

* Monday, March 24, from 7 to 9 p.m.

Session Four: Country and Bluegrass featuring “High Lonesome: The Story of Bluegrass Music”

* Monday, April 7, from 7 to 9 p.m.

Session Five: Latin Rhythms from Mambo to Hip Hop featuring “Latin Music USA, Episode 1: Bridges” and “From Mambo to Hip Hop: A South Bronx Tale”

* Monday, April 21, from 7 to 9 p.m.

Session Six: Rock featuring “The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll: Episode 6, Plugging In”

“America’s Music” has been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor, awarded to CCU’s Department of Music and Kimbel Library. CCU is one of only 50 sites nationwide selected to host this program series. “America’s Music” is a project by the Tribeca Film Institute in collaboration with the American Library Association, Tribeca Flashpoint and the Society for American Music.

The James J. Johnson Auditorium is in the E. Craig Wall Sr. College of Business Administration, located at 119 Chanticleer Drive E. in Conway.

For more information, contact Patti Edwards, project director, at 843-349-2570 or, or Amy Tully, project scholar, at 843-349-2352 or