In this week's paper, Christian Schaeffer interviewed Cobden, Illinois, resident Stace England. The singer-songwriter's latest project is an album called The Amazing Oscar Micheaux. As Schaeffer says, "Micheaux was an African American filmmaker whose work was, in part, a response to D.W. Griffith's infamous 1915 film, The Birth of a Nation. Micheaux's work was mostly forgotten until recent discoveries of long-lost prints made it possible for film scholars to reassess his contributions to American film." Couple this with Greetings from Cairo, Illinois -- an album about the state, released a few years ago -- and it's safe to say that England is emerging as one of the finest modern historians/songwriters.
View England's take on that, info about his performances this weekend and snag an MP3 -- all below.
How much of your job with these past two records has been historian versus songwriter? I think it's both. I use history as a vehicle to get common stories across, so it's sort of a template or a place to start because I find that it's a way to get an argument across and also make the records more interesting. I've done a lot of records where it's just been a collection of songs and those are great, but this is a bit more of a challenge, so I like that personally. It raises the bar. But it's able to deliver on multiple levels; to people that are patient with the records and able to receive them, they're going to learn something interesting. But we also try to make the music compelling, and hopefully the songs can stand on their own.
Show info: Screening of Within Our Gates along with Stace England's live film score. 7 p.m. Friday, November 13. The Saint Louis Art Museum, 1 Fine Arts Drive in Forest Park. $10. 314-721-0072.
Multimedia performance of The Amazing Oscar Micheaux. 9 p.m. Saturday, November 14. The Halo Bar at the Pageant, 6161 Delmar Boulevard. Suggested $5 donation. 314-726-1414.
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