Saturday, February 23, 2013

Mountain Music of Kentucky

Roscoe Holcomb
11" x 8.5", 2013
ink, watercolor, pencil
There aren't that many pictures available of Roscoe Holcomb without a hat. In the past I've painted him many times but always with a hat. Most of these paintings were done from the jacket to the CD An Untamed Sense of Control that shows a photograph of Roscoe Holcomb playing a banjo in front of a barn. A young boy also figures in the photo. I painted him too several times. John Cohen, who recorded Holcomb in the field in Daisy, Kentucky, was responsible for that image on the jacket, as well as most all of Holcomb's pictures that you'll find in a Google image search. John Cohen, a well known photographer, musician, and musicologist, "discovered" Holcomb during one of his field trips to the mountains of Kentucky, which resulted in the highly influential album Mountain Music of Kentucky (rec. 1960). Across the Rocky Mountains, in this year's list, is just one of a score of Holcomb tracks on that record that have passed the Top 100 review in the past decade. I don't know if the photograph without hat that I used to draw this image from was also taken by Cohen. I wanted to use it because of the challenge it provided. Holcomb looks like a different person without the hat. Roscoe Holcomb (1912-1981) lived his whole life in Daisy and was a coal miner for most of it.

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