Once upon a prairie (Winner of the MAP FUND grant for 2022-24)
ONCE UPON A PRAIRIE is a unique multimedia exploration of the loss of the American grasslands to fracking. The story is told by the musical juxtaposition of roots Americana and improvisational jazz. The siren call of the pedal steel guitar unifies this musical vision and symbolizes the beauty and the desolation of these unique lands. Just as places like North Dakota wrestle with the cost of the blighting of the land, the musical compositions of this project will seek to unify the seemingly unrelated and mostly unexplored sonic borders between country and jazz. Ultimately, this endeavor seeks to harmonize the beauty of nature and the ugliness of industrial progress in a way that supports the hopeful future and the coming together of disparate groups. The live concert will feature projected images of new photography commissioned specifically for this project by renowned photographer Jennifer Hughes. Also, a partnership with a non-profit specializing in the preservation of this landscape will be a key component to fulfilling the mission of this project. The dream is that a unique musical hybrid, aided by compelling visual imagery, can capture both the beauty and the dystopian reality of the current situation, thus making the case for change and the need for future preservation.
After spending time with each set of images or video, I compose musical works that programmatically tell the story of what the viewer is seeing. During live performance, the images are projected and, in some cases, timed with the music. Audiences have loved the pairing of the two mediums and commented frequently on the enhancement of the emotion and moods that result. Moving away from solely performing my original music into this multimedia world has been an important step in my development as an artist and a professional. I am eager to take what I have learned and apply it to this latest concept.