Stephen Wade Uncovers ‘the Beautiful Music All Around Us’

Miley Cyrus Performs at iHeartRadio Music Festival

The stories do not just shed light on the biographies of the cowboys, schoolchildren, coal miners, prisoners, housewives, and laborers who sang the songs. They also reveal the migrant nature of how songs travel. Through digging, Wade discovered that “Rock Island Line,” now entrenched in the American songbook, originated as “a booster song” for the railroad before it morphed into a song of emancipation in the civil rights era. “Back then, there was the idea that folk songs were shared. People understood that folk music belonged to the whole culture, and the importance of the individual was not understood back then,” says Stephen Winick, a writer and editor with the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress in Washington. “Stephen focused on the people because that’s the gap that exists in our knowledge of these records.” Wade’s work also provides valuable genealogical information for the musicians’ families, Penn says. Wade traces the steps “from the Lomaxes to their families and shows them as people deserving of respect,” he says. “He connected them going back several generations … illuminating who they were. RECOMMENDED: Elvis Presley: His five greatest songs “He was able to reanimate these [unknown musicians]. He brought them to life.” After spending almost two decades in their families’ homes, sharing photographs, stories, and memories, Wade remains connected to the descendents of the people he documented. Many of the people he met were not aware of their ancestors’ musical contributions. Wade says the greatest pride he has in his book is the way it reveals that connection. “I keep learning from them,” he says. “I don’t think it ends.” To read more about Wade, visit http://bit.ly/BanjoDiary.

Her four-song set opened with the anthemic “We Can’t Stop,” where people onstage were dressed in flower, mushroom and rainbow costumes. She gyrated and slapped a dwarf-sized dancer’s butt onstage. She followed the colorful performance with “Party In the USA.” But it was her emotional rendition of “Wrecking Ball” that was her set’s highlight. Cyrus’ mascara was running as she left the stage after the song and the performance comes days after she announced she was no longer engaged to actor Liam Hemsworth. She thanked the audience for helping the song top the Billboard Hot 100 chart this week. “I couldn’t have done it without all you guys,” she said. Cyrus broke a record with the debut of the song’s provocative video, which features her in the nude. It became the fastest music video to reach 100 million views on VEVO. The wild child singer said she knows “things I’m doing that’s getting me into trouble and it’s just me doing what my heart and soul is telling me what to do.” Everything she’s done is “inspired by the music,” she said. Cyrus, who will release her new album “Bangerz” next month, also sang a new song called “Look at What They’ve Done to My Song.” The guitar tune featured lyrics like “They think I’m half insane” and “I wish I could find a book to live in.” Cyrus has been added as one of the main performers for the second night at iHeartRadio’s festival at the MGM Grand Arena, joining a list that includes Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars, Paul McCartney and Drake. Elton John, Katy Perry and Chris Brown performed Friday.

Journey Caps First Day of Music Midtown in Atlanta

Associated Press The rock band Journey capped the first day of the third annual Music Midtown Festival with a set that lasted nearly two hours, performing hits such as “Don’t Stop Believin'” and “Any Way You Want It.” “This is the best time we’ve had in years,” lead singer Arnel Pineda said to a screaming and packed crowd on Friday night at the Piedmont Park in downtown Atlanta. “Thank you for everything. Thank you.” Rapper 2 Chainz was also a headline performer earlier in the day of the two-day festival. He put on an energetic set that featured his hit songs such as “Birthday Song,” ”I’m Different” and “Feds Watching.” “This is my hometown, so welcome to the Music Midtown,” the rapper said. Shortly after 2 Chainz’s performance, the crowd shifted from the Great Southeastern Music Hall to the neighboring Electric Ballroom stage to catch alternative rock group Phoenix. The four-man band from France performed a number of hits from “1901” to “Entertainment.” Pineda leaped off the stage during Journey’s performance and gave fans in the front row high 5s. Neal Schon, the guitarist of the five-man band, played the Star-Spangled Banner during his solo set as the American flag went on display behind him while the rest of his band mates looked on. North Mississippi Allstars opened the festival Friday. The Mowgli’s, Cake, Drivin N Cryin and Jane’s Addiction also performed. Thirteen more acts will perform Saturday, including Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kendrick Lamar, Imagine Dragons, Weezer, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Capital Cities.

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