|FIVE & DIME JAZZ &
MUSIC FROM ROOTABAGA COUNTRY
|SAMPLES FROM THE SOUNDTRACK:
1. How They Came To Rootabaga Country (piano, plectrum banjo, train whistle)
2. Blixie Bimber (tenor ukulele)
3. Hatrack the Horse (marimba, tenor banjo)
4. White Horse Girl, Blue Wind Boy (flute, guitar)
All songs are © Plum Alley Productions
|In the fall of 2006, we were approached by Judy Anderson, drama teacher at McCall-Donnelly High School in McCall, ID, about providing recorded music for the school troupe’s presentation of Carl Sandburg’s Rootabaga Country stories. We were excited by the project because we felt it was a good match for the Five & Dime Jazz “sound.” In addition, we’d worked with Judy on school productions before, & were sure she & her troupe would make something great from the Rootabaga Country tales. The recording includes 19 musical instruments (counting the train whistle), ranging from the very familiar (piano, guitar, flute, etc.) to relatively obscure instruments such as the 6-string bouzouki, the bowed psaltery, & the plectrum banjo. The soundtrack recording was supported by a grant from the Idaho Commission on the Arts.
Eberle & I composed the music over the course of about six weeks. Most of the pieces were composed specifically for Rootabaga Stories, but we did take some pieces out of our two Shipman movie scores, as well as a couple of songs that we’d composed simply for Five & Dime Jazz
The play was produced in December 2006 by the McCall-Donnelly High School Drama Troupe. It had a three-day (Thurs-Sat) run at a local theater called the Alpine Playhouse in McCall, Idaho. Besides being the site of winter & spring school plays, the Alpine puts on a Winter Carnival & summer play, & also hosts the Seven Devils Playwrights Conference in conjunction with New York City’s ID Theater Group each June. The Playhouse also hosts some music shows & film screenings.
|FIVE & DIME JAZZ
Eberle Umbach: piano, melodica, marimba, flute, kazoo, bouzouki, thumb piano, bowed psaltery, drums, toy piano
John Hayes: plectrum banjo, tenor banjo, guitar, tenor ukulele, baritone ukulele, thumb piano, tenor guitar, electric bass, 5-string banjo, train whistle
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|THE ROOTABAGA STORIES
Carl Sandburg is probably best known as a poet & a biographer of Abraham Lincoln, but he also authored a delightful collection of children’s tales called The Rootabaga Stories. Originally stories Sandburg told his two daughters, the tales describe an enchanted land populated by characters such as the Potato-Faced Blind Man, Deep Red Roses, Hatrack the Horse & Bozo the Button-Buster—but the ultimate backdrop of the stories also is recognizable as early 20th century America, just as the backdrop for the classic Grimm’s fairy tales is medieval Europe. In fact, Sandburg saw The Rootabaga Stories as “American fairy tales” that would be more suitable for American children than the more traditional stories of princes & princesses. The stories were first published in 1920.