Randy Travis, Rodney Atkins, Ronnie Milsap, Ashton Shepherd and The Roys are among the country artists joining award-winning musician and musical director Randy Scruggs and an all-star string band to bring Charles ‘Pa’ Ingalls’ old time fiddle music to life as part of a PBS special filmed at Middle Tennessee State University, reports The Daily News Journal. Dale Cockrell, director of MTSU’s Center for Popular Music and a scholar of the early American music seen in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little house on the Prairie book series, is coordinating all aspects of the special.
Pa’s Fiddle: America’s Music, will be broadcast during the 2012 June pledge-drive season on PBS stations throughout the country. A new CD, Pa’s Fiddle: American Fiddlers, featuring a portion of the 127 songs mentioned in the Little House books, will be released June 5 but is available as a pre-release special right now at www.laura-ingalls-wilder.com.
Dale Cockrell is the founder, owner and president of Pa’s Fiddle Recordings LLC, a record label dedicated to recording the music referenced in the book series. He worked with actor Dean Butler, who played Laura’s husband, Almanzo, in the “Little House” TV series to create the Pa’s Fiddle project. “I’ve been working on the ‘Pa’s Fiddle’ project for about 12 years now and sometimes it’s felt like we’ve been pushing that boulder up that hill every day,” he said. “Now we’re finally at the top and get to share this music with everyone.”
“As exciting as it’s been for me,” added Dale, “it’s even more exciting to see these excellent musicians get so excited about playing this music,” he said. “They don’t get the opportunity to do that very much, and to see them almost melting in the studio in the presence of this great music is a wonderful opportunity.”
MTSU students have been behind the scenes of the project working on a documentary, Inside Pa’s Fiddle, which will be part of a planned DVD package that will include the PBS special. The documentary will look at the inspiration, creation and execution behind Pa’s Fiddle: America’s Music.