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Pa'S Fiddle: The Music of America Premieres as PBS National Pledge Special

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Pa's FiddlePa's Fiddle: The Music of America, the CD series, is based on music that Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote about in her Little House series. The most recent CD, "Pa's Fiddle" will be released on June 5th. The PBS special will bring the music to life.

Pa's Fiddle is an intimate evening of music and songs selected from the writings of Laura Ingalls Wilder, beloved author of the Little House on the Prairie books. The music is performed by Randy Travis, Rodney Atkins, Ronnie Milsap, Committed, Natalie Grant, Ashton Shepherd, and The Roys -- accompanied by an all-star Nashville band led by Grammy-Winner Randy Scruggs. Historic background on the music is provided by Dr. Dale Cockrell.

Hidden for decades in plain view, "Pa" Ingalls (1836-1902) was a central figure in the autobiographical stories told by Laura Ingalls Wilder in her stories. He was a highly regarded fiddler whose music making is captured by the 127 songs referenced in his daughter's books. It is surprising that this extraordinary musician is never included among the pantheon of American fiddlers, especially since he, his name, his stories, and accounts of his music-making are known to many millions the world over.

The album, which features songs chronicled in the books, helps place Charles Ingalls among the first rank of old-time fiddlers whose influence is foundational to so much of modern American music. It tells of the power of music to transcend the years, as the "old" songs of Pa Ingalls becomes new again through exciting and dynamic performances by some of the today's finest acoustic musicians.

Great American songs on the CD include "Buffalo Gals," "When Johnny Comes Marching Home," "Polly Put the Kettle On," "Life Let Us Cherish," "All the Blue Bonnets," "Golden Years Are Passing By," "Boatmen's Dance," "Mary of the Wild Moor," "The Campbells Are Coming," "Haste to the Wedding," and more.

This newest album spotlights the musical influence of Charles "Pa" Ingalls. Ingalls, sometimes thought of as a fictional character, was quite the opposite. He is perhaps the least recognized old-time fiddler from the 19th-century who, courtesy of the Little House books written by his daughter Laura, we have the most documentation on, in return telling us much about his life and music. His actual fiddle is on permanent display at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home & Museum in Mansfield, MO. We know the names of many of the tunes and songs he played, where he played them, for whom, and often why he chose them.

Acoustic masters Bryan Sutton, Matt Flinner, Matt Combs, David Grier, Jeff Taylor, Dennis Crouch, and others bring these great American folk songs to life on the album, and make them palatable for young ears of today.

The program was recorded Friday, January 6th was filmed at the Loveless Barn in Franklin, Tennessee before a live audience. The program will be broadcast during the June pledge-drive season on PBS stations throughout the nation. The program will be available to PBS stations for broadcast over the next two years.¶

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