Friday, May 28, 2010

Hard Luck Blues: Roots Music Photographs from the Great Depression

The American Folklife Center presents a lecture in the 2010 Benjamin Botkin Folklife Lecture Series

Hard Luck Blues: Roots Music Photographs from the Great Depression book launch with Rich Remsberg, Documentarian & Author Presented in cooperation with the Center for the Book, Library of Congress

June 2, 2010 - 12:00 noon - 1:00 pm
6th floor, West Dining Room, James Madison Building, Library of Congress

Showcasing American music and music making during the Great Depression, Hard Luck Blues presents more than two hundred photographs created by the New Deal's Farm Security Administration photography program. With an appreciation for the amateur and the local, FSA photographers depicted a range of musicians sharing the regular music of everyday life, from informal songs in migrant work camps, farmers' homes, barn dances, and on street corners to organized performances at church revivals, dance halls, and community festivals. Captured across the nation from the northeast to the southwest, the images document the last generation of musicians who learned to play without the influence of recorded sound, as well as some of the pioneers of Chicago's rhythm and blues scene and the first years of amplified instruments. The best visual representation of American roots music performance during the Depression era, Hard Luck Blues features photographs by Jack Delano, Dorothea Lange, Russell Lee, Arthur Rothstein, Ben Shahn, Marion Post Wolcott, and others.

Rich Remsberg is an Emmy Award-winning archival image researcher who works primarily on PBS documentaries, including programs for American Masters, American Experience, and NOVA. His credits include Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison, Woody Guthrie: Ain’t Got No Home, and the Grammy-nominated CD box set People Take Warning! As a photographer, his work has appeared in the New York Times,, the Christian Science Monitor, and No Depression, and he is the author and photographer of Riders For God: The Story of a Christian Motorcycle Gang.

For more information, please visit or call 202-707-5510.

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