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In the Pines: from Lead Belly to Kurt Cobain, listening to an American Appalachian folk song through history
August 12, 2021 at 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm EDT
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In this salon, Interintellect Wes Chow tracks the evolution of folk music by listening to the many versions of the classic folk song In The Pines.
In 1993, MTV Unplugged brought Kurt Cobain and Nirvana up for a plugged in unplugged performance. At the conclusion of the set, the producers urged Cobain on for an encore but he refused, saying he couldn’t top the last song — a now legendary rendition of In the Pines, patterned after Lead Belly’s Black Girl, and titled Where Did You Sleep Last Night?
An old Appalachian folk song, In the Pines has endured over a century of interpretations and left its mark on multiple genres. The lyric variations are mournful, vengeful, angry, mysterious, ghostly, and defiant. In the Pines is about American railroad men, forbidden behavior, seemingly endless trains, and the decapitation of loved ones. In this special listening party salon, we’ll explore some of the variations and styles that have inspired musicians from Lead Belly, Grateful Dead, and Dolly Parton, to Kurt Cobain and Sleigh Bells.
Suggested Reading / Listening:
A Simple Song That Lives Beyond Time: https://www.nytimes.com/1994/11/13/arts/pop-music-a-simple-song-that-lives-beyond-time.html
Spotify playlist: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5xlCUeeBJeSoiPf1IJvum3
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