"Music From Home," an hour-long concert film airing on Channel 26 tonight at 9, is, unfortunately, nothing to write out of town about.
Recorded recently at Colvin Run Mill, a restored corn mill in Great Falls, the show has all the innocent charm of a living room concert, but also all of its liabilities, including a rather stiff, self-conscious audience and a minimal amount of room for camera movements. As a result, the stolid pacing of the show is the antithesis of the high-spirited good-time music being performed by the Critton Hollow String Band, Magpie and Cathy Fink.
The concert, ostensibly to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Folklore Society of Greater Washington, does suggest what makes that organization such a vital part of Washington's cultural life. The dominant motifs running through all three performances are community and commitment. The first is reflected in the exuberant old-timey music championed by Critton Hollow, the syncopated swing rhythms of Magpie and "Sail Away, Ladies," the sprightly string-band tune that brings everybody together at the finale.
Commitment, social and political, is equally evident in three moving songs: Pete Sutherland's "Shacks and Chalets" (from Critton Hollow), Phil Ochs' "When I'm Gone" (from Magpie) and Judy Small's eloquent feminist-pacifist anthem, "Mothers, Daughters, Wives," performed by Fink. Fink, a champion banjo player, also delivers a lovely rendition of Si Kahn's "Detroit December."
Several moments stand out in particular: Terry Leonino's reading of the Jack Teagarden tune, "Meet Me Where They Play the Blues," where she is echoed and inspired by Alan Sherwin's fluid soprano saxophone; and Sam Hermann's lush and liquid hammer dulcimer on an Irish/Russian medley. Set amid Colvin Run Mill's exposed wooden beams and rustic hardware, the music certainly seems at home, but the performers don't look particularly comfortable.
The show will be stereo-simulcast on WETA-FM (90.9).