This is the second CD in Matthew Sabatella's acclaimed "Ballad of America" series, which tells the story of the United States through traditional folk songs. The songs on "America Singing (Ballad of America Volume 2)" are among the most commonly sung in the history of the United States. They present uniquely American musical blends, with roots in European and African traditions and branches that have sprouted countless regional and personal variants throughout the country. Collectively, these songs of work, fun, and love transcend social and ethnic boundaries, painting a broad picture of America during the 18th and 19th centuries when music making was, for many, an integral part of everyday life.
“Over a Wide and Fruitful Land (Ballad of America Volume 1)” was released in 2005 to universal acclaim. The album focuses on the Westward Expansion of the United States, following the paths of the pioneers, sailors, lumberjacks, immigrants, ‘49ers, farmers, slaves, soldiers, cowboys, and railroaders who moved the country across the continent and into the 20th century.
On the strength of live performances that supported the release of “Volume 1,” New Times Broward/Palm Beach named Sabatella “Best Acoustic Performer,” writing that his “best asset is easily his voice, urgent but unforced, sweetly melancholy in telling personal stories and powerfully evocative in rendering antiquated songs intimate again.” On stage and on the new album he plays guitar, clawhammer banjo, and mountain dulcimer. He is backed by the Rambling String Band, which features Lynn Griffith on banjo and vocals; Chris DeAngelis on bass fiddle and vocals; Jack Stamates on fiddle; and Sean Edelson on mandolin.
As the group performed at festivals, museums, libraries, coffeehouses, and nightclubs throughout 2005, their repertoire expanded to include folk songs that were well known compared to the relatively obscure selections that made up the bulk of “Over a Wide and Fruitful Land (Ballad of America Volume 1).” When the musicians entered Liquid Ghost Recording Studios (Boca Raton, FL) in February 2006, their goal was to capture fresh, live performances of songs they felt should be known by every American. They wanted to keep the songs alive in the hearts, minds, and voices of everyone who has heard and sung them, introduce them to anyone who hasn’t heard and sung them, and help preserve them for future generations to hear and sing.
“America Singing (Ballad of America Volume 2)” brings those goals beautifully to fruition.
NOTE TO DOWNLOADERS: If you choose to download this album, please be sure to read the liner notes to get the background on each song: http://www.balladofamerica.com/music/indexes/albums/volume2.htm