“An evening with Ricky Cox and Friends: Traditions in Appalachian Music” lived up to it’s name, as English professor Ricky Cox took the stage in a performance that was as much a lecture as it was music. Presented by RU’s very own quality enhancement program, I found myself loving the music but dozing through the lecture.
The audience was composed of older folks who were there for the concert and students who were there for class or extra credit. Some listened while others just waited for him to announce that he was about to play his last song. I sat right between an older lady in Sunday clothes listening intently and a young brunette who paged through her Tumblr and left halfway through. The ones who gave it a chance, though, seemed to get into the music. I can’t say as much about the lecture portion, but really, who wants to listen to a lecture when the music is so good?
I’m not trying to say the lecture portion was altogether unpleasant. I learned how the Autoharp was introduced to Appalachia by traveling salesmen and about the different styles of music in different areas. I personally found these to be interesting, though I can’t say my interest was shared with the students under duress to enjoy the performance.
The music itself was fantastic. The feel was much more of an old-timey jam than a formal concert. At times it was apparent that the band hadn’t practiced as much as they had wanted to, but their level of skill was apparent when, on losing the beat, they could improv their way back into a song, a skill that I have always taken as a true sign of musical prowess.
I love folk music and was not disappointed. Would I pay to see them? No, but it was none-the-less a good and informative concert.