From 2009 until 2015, our music issue featured a different Southern state every year (raise your hand if you’ve got them all: Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Texas, and Georgia).
Last year, we departed from the series to examine “Visions of the Blues.”
In 2017, we are returning to the state series. And we are thrilled to share that it’s your turn, Kentucky.
The Commonwealth gave us musicians like Loretta Lynn and Nappy Roots, Richard Hell and Bill Monroe—just to name a very few—and beloved writers like Crystal Wilkinson, Ronni Lundy, Silas House, and our own poetry editor, Rebecca Gayle Howell. This is just a taste of Kentucky and a taste of what’s to come.
Alex Steyermark’s feature films, Prey for Rock & Roll (2003), One Last Thing…(2006), Losers Take All (2013) and documentary The 78 Project Movie (2014) have been acclaimed at dozens of U.S. and International film festivals including Sundance, Toronto, Tribeca, SXSW and BFI London, and are distributed throughout the world. He is a creator, producer and the director of the ongoing critically acclaimed music documentary web series, The 78 Project, which was an official selection at the inaugural Cannes Cross Media Corner and the British Film Institute's Power to the Pixel Cross Media Forum. He is an adjunct professor in the graduate film program at Columbia University’s School of the Arts, where he is the founder of the ASCAP/Columbia Film Scoring Workshop.
Lavinia Jones Wright is a journalist, actor, filmmaker, and musician. With director Alex Steyermark, she traveled America recording musicians on a 1930s-era 78 rpm disc-cutting machine coproducing, writing for, and appearing in The 78 Project Movie and The 78 Project web series. She currently appears on Showtime’s The Affair. A Philadelphia native, she resides in Brooklyn.
The story Bassekou Kouyaté wants to tell is simply this: it was cotton that brought the blues from Mali to America, and it was the ngoni—the West African lute that is a predecessor to the banjo—that brought the songs. Kouyaté would like to make a film about this story—one told, for a change, from an African perspective.