After a screening of the film, Sacred Harp singers formed their square
and belted out the powerful, haunting and otherworldly melodies in a
setting that didn't much look like the old wooden churches they were
used to. It was my first time at a singing, and I had a great time
struggling to following along. Most in the crowd stood back, either
soaking in the beauty or trying to figure out what it was all about.
Four of the artists on the new soundtrack performed after the
singing—Jeni and Billy, The Good Players, Eriksen, and Jim Lauderdale.
Eriksen, who helped organize the singings heard in the film Cold
Mountain, gave the night's stand-out performance. Fresh off an Eastern
European trip, playing and teaching in Poland and The Czech Republic,
the multi-instrumentalist was best at adapting the raw power of Sacred
Harp to his own arrangements. Lauderdale finished the night with his
well-crafted Americana whose roots draw deeply from the same well from
which Sacred Harp singers have drawn.
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