appalachian 20th century series

With a goal to illuminate the Appalachian experience over the course of a hundred years, Adam's Appalachian 20th Century is a cycle of original program-length neo-traditional stories about our people and their situations. These pieces are neither personal tall tales nor retold traditional stories; they comprise a separate vein of Adam's creative output. Each piece retells two traditional stories, sets them in a different decade around actual historical events, and incorporates regional music. Each story is available for its own concert.
This list will be updated as new pieces enter Adam's repertoire.

1900s: Blind John (2019)

Blind John's reputation as a womanizer and masterful musician precedes him through the south in juke joints, prisons, and churches. There is mystery in where his musical ability came from as well as this new style of blue music he performs. Rumors swirl about an unholy pact and his legendary father. As his finishing time draws nigh, John must make a spiritual trek to the Great Bend Tunnel and face his own demons along the way: his mother, the church, the men and women he has wronged, and the man he is deceiving into taking over his deal with the Devil. Dedicated to Susan Gordon.



1920s: Ashton (2015)

Ashton Cover.jpg

Ashton's musical life in a small coal town is forever changed when record company representative Ralph Peer comes collecting mountain music in Bristol. With love for her coal-miner husband Billy at her core, Ashton hitches a train and ventures to the city with her mountain songs and hope for a better life. Hopeful, touching, and sad, this piece brings listeners to laughter and tears. Ashton is also available as a live recording. Dedicated to Elizabeth Ellis.









1970s: Maddy Sue

Coming in 2020.

1980s: Daniel The Great (2016)

Danny works as a midway fortune teller for a traveling carnival, drawing upon his experiences as a child in the Pentecostal church. When the fair makes a stop in east Kentucky, he returns home after many years to find his preacher father has died, his brother Thad has taken over their holler's spiritual life, and their church is suffering from inner turmoil that his presence has caused. As the summer rains fall around the church, so do the reins of control.