The Red Hills Music Collective
Roberta Stars In The Big Doll House
A Hollywood Story
Ironically, the first women empowerment films in US cinema started out as exploitation movies. Our studio side project, Screen Syndicate, is finally doing a proper release of our first album, Roberta Stars In The Big Doll House. The B-Movie rock opera explores the fascinating history of Roger Corman’s New World Pictures and the exploitation films produced and distributed by the company in the 1970’s.
The life of actress Roberta Collins is the vehicle used to navigate the period and also highlight a Hollywood story of unfulfilled promise. Collin’s lit up the screen in films like The Big Doll House, Women in Cages and Death Race 2000 often outshining her contemporaries including Pam Grier. Quentin Tarantino described Collins’ final shot In Women In Cages as one of "devastating despair." Read more.
The Red Hills Music Collective
Greetings From Lawrence County Illinois
It all began with a simple question. What does Lawrence County Illinois sound like? What if a group of friends and musicians tried to plug into the vibrations of this particular place in south-central Illinois on the Indiana border, and it's unique feel and rhythms? What if we listened closely to trains, pump jacks, tractors, combines, crickets, songbirds, local radio, hard rainstorms, the rushing of the Wabash and Embarras rivers, the soft, gentle quiet of countless rural locations and more. What might come out musically? Read more.
The Unknown Songs of Stephen Foster
Release Date: Delayed by Covid like everything else . . .
"He was a rockin' muthahumper, Stephen Foster." Jerry Lee Lewis
Featured prominently in the Ken Burns PBS documentary “Country Music” Stephen Foster is arguably America’s most important songwriter, his legacy virtually embedded in the cultural DNA of the country. Foster composed over two hundred songs between 1847 and 1864 yet few know more than a handful of his most enduring (Oh! Susanna, Camptown Races, Beautiful Dreamer, Jeanie With the Light Brown Hair, Old Folks At Home/Suwannee River, My Old Kentucky Home) and many are not aware Foster wrote these inexplicably familiar melodies.
Foster’s Satchel takes a deep dive into his obscure and complex legacy, mining unknown songs from his entire catalog to illuminate Foster’s life and the state of America as his writing progressed, from his optimistic and successful early years to wrestling with psychological survival at the end of his life with the country mired in civil war. The band has taken a Mermaid Avenue approach (the partnership between Wilco and Billy Bragg with Woody Guthrie’s unknown writing), focusing on his often evocative lyrics and re-arranging music for modern ears to reveal one of the most remarkable and unknown stories in American music.
Foster’s Satchel includes accomplished historical musicians Stace England and Charlie Tabing from Stace England and the Salt Kings (Greetings from Cairo, Illinois, The Amazing Oscar Micheaux), Jake and Mary Deleonardis from St. Louis based May Day Orchestra and Beth Koehler, back up singer for alt country legend Jason Ringenberg. Their show takes listeners on a journey through Foster’s unlikely triumph and ultimate heartbreak. Multimedia projections of photographs and original sheet music give audiences additional insight into Foster’s life.
Stephen Foster died in 1864 at age thirty seven with thirty eight cents in his pocket, in many ways the first person crushed by the developing music industry. His songs are all in the public domain, but if his heirs had retained publishing rights the Stephen Foster Memorial Museum values his catalog at up to one billion dollars today. His wife received slightly over four thousand dollars from his work after his death.
"Top Ten Albums of 2005"
Greil Marcus, The Village Voice Paz and Jop Poll