Renowned photographer, filmmaker, and musicologist John Cohen will screen his latest film, Roscoe Holcomb from Daisy, Kentucky, at the Center for Documentary Studies on Wednesday, March 21. Cohen directed the documentary, which explores the life and music of the Eastern Kentucky banjo/guitar player and coal miner who became one of the iconic figures in American traditional music, revered by musicians from the Stanley Brothers to Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton.
Wednesday, March 21, 7 p.m.
Center for Documentary Studies
1317 W. Pettigrew St., Durham, North Carolina
Please join us on the front porch for pre- and post-screening refreshments.
The film incorporates outtakes from an earlier Cohen film featuring Holcomb, whose music inspired a Cohen phrase that has come to describe the traditional music of Appalachia. The High Lonesome Sound, Cohen’s landmark 1963 documentary, helped propel Holcomb away from manual labor and, for a time, into a performing career. Roscoe Holcomb, which won Best Short Documentary at the 2010 Woodstock Film Festival, presents a remarkable portrait of a man who, despite a life he described as “hard labor,” maintained a powerful, personal music and philosophy. Holcomb was 68 when he died in 1981 of complications from emphysema.
John Cohen has been one of the most important “discoverers” of traditional musicians and singers, and as a director and producer, has preserved their art in a large number of films and recordings. A musician of note himself, Cohen has been a member of the old-time string band New Lost City Ramblers for more than fifty years. He was a Lehman Brady professor at CDS in 2004, a visiting joint professorship in Documentary Studies and American Studies at Duke and UNC–Chapel Hill.
Click here to view a clip from Cohen’s 1963 classic, The High Lonesome Sound; its black-and-white images, said Rolling Stone “are stunning in their simplicity and evocative power.”