In January 2012, some of country music’s biggest stars gathered to bring the traditional American folk songs written about by Laura Ingalls Wilder in her internationally best-selling series Little House on the Prairie to life.
For the first time in concert, this music was performed in front of a rapt, intimate audience at the Loveless Barn in Nashville and filmed for broadcast.
The concert was broadcast nationwide on PBS throughout June and was one of the most successful of the 2012 new pledge programs. Additional broadcasts will be scheduled for Fall 2012 and beyond and Cybergrass News Network has called the DVD, "a classic ready to happen based on a classic era that already has."
The idea for pairing notable country artists with traditional American repertoire was the brainchild of Dean Butler (film producer and the actor who played Almanzo, Laura’s husband, on the Little House on the Prairie TV show) and esteemed musicologist Dale Cockrell (Professor of Musicology at Middle Tennessee State University). Dean Butler comments, “Dale Cockrell loves traditional American music and I love the stories of American pioneer life written by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Having this opportunity to share the music Laura recalled in her unforgettable novels is nothing less than a dream come true.”
The concert features Randy Travis, Rodney Atkins, Ronnie Milsap, Ashton Shepherd, The Roys, Natalie Grant and Committed (NBC Sing Off Champions) accompanied by an A-team band lead by Grammy award-winning musician and musical director Randy Scruggs.
Now available internationally via the Compass Records Group, the concert DVD release contains 14 performances including standouts The Roy’s performance of “The Gum Tree Canoe”, Ronnie Milsap’s “Dixie/The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and “Roll the Old Chariot Along” by Committed in addition to bonus performance footage from Natalie Grant, discussion of the historical context for Charles Ingalls fiddle music from Dale Cockrell, and a video short entitled: “Little House on the Prairie: the Legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder.” Also available today are the accompanying concert cd and a companion Primer cd featuring recordings by Riders in the Sky, Bryan Sutton and Mac Wiseman, among others, performing additional songs from the books.
Little House on the Prairie, the autobiographical book series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, offers the most authentic first hand account of 19th-century American folk music available to us. Seen through the lens of Laura’s father Charles “Pa” Ingalls (1836-1902), a highly acclaimed fiddler of the time, the books offer a window into the music that Americans played, sang and listened to in the late 1800s. The Little House on the Prairie books are among the most popular of all time, with over 60 million copies sold since the release of Little House in the Big Woods in 1932. The much-loved TV show, which was inspired by the books, has been in syndication since its debut in 1974.