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5.16.2007

who is this guy anyway?


so i'm actually already about halfway done with the Stephen Foster songs. i'm really getting tired of his style, and can basically always predict how each song will go. but, there is some fun in that i think. more and more, i'm putting my own twists on his songs to make them more 8-bit friendly.

i figured it might be nice of me to tell you a little about Stephen Foster and why i'm doing this in the first place:
Foster is not someone that i admire a whole lot. in fact, i find most of his work entirely boring. i thought that i'd do 40 of his songs because i couldn't think of a more removed composer from the electronic, 8-bit sound. i also didn't want to go entirely cliche and do another version of Switched On Bach.
Foster was an early American composer in the 19th century who most famously wrote "Oh! Susanna" and "Camptown Races". he had little to no background in music, but began composing at an early age. His music is mostly a blend of civilized parlor songs and minstrel music. Foster worked most of his life as a bookkeeper for a steamship company until he joined the Christy Minstrels and began writing some of his most famous pieces. though most of his music might be considered somewhat racist today, (and hilarious to some) he really tried to get blackface performers of the day to make their audiences feel compassion towards them. also, though most of his songs are about the South, Foster only ever visited there once in his life. Foster was also one of the fist poor singer-songwriters... truly beginning an American tradition. in his later life, the quality/popularity of his songs dwindled until the beginning of the Civil War, in which demand for his songs reached an astonishing nothing. Foster died when he was 37 as a result of a fall into a washbin that shattered and gouged his head... ouch. there are many memorials today which celebrate the composer including ones in Georgia, Pennsylvania and Ohio. his brother is largely responsible for his post-humous success since she compiled most of his work after his death.

so, i'm about halfway done and still truckin'. i'm really excited for you to hear these songs. i think they hold a lot of promise.

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