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Amram shares "Southern Stories"

United Press International Arts & Entertainment - Music of the Heartland
Friday, 20 August, 1999


David Amram has been called many names. Now historian can be added to the mix.

Respected critics from the likes of The Washington Post have hailed Amram as "one of the most versatile and skilled musicians America has ever produced." With the Aug. 24 release of his latest project, "Southern Stories" on Chrome Records, versatility abounds.

"it's deep and mysterious,'' Amram, 68, said recently from his Upstate New York home. "Every place in the South has its particular flavor and magic."

Amram, who spent much of his life in the South, captures the essence of life there with "Southern Stories." Eloquently, yet simply, he weaves story and song into a snapshot of the South. Here's a Man who understands the importance of sweet tea.

"So many times we take for granted those things close to us," Amram said. "Our heritage or heritages are a gift we were born with, but because they're free to all of us, they're not worthless, they're priceless.

One of Amram's hopes for his new project, he said, is to bring a renewed awareness to the many talents from the South, such as Thomas Wolfe, William Faulkner, Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash "...and all the wonderful young writers like Nanci Griffith and Lyle Lovett and Kris Kristofferson, who bring that wonderful Southern poetic sense into everyone's heart, not just in the U.S., but around the world."

Amram has made his own worldwide impressions.

Him official biography lists line after line of impressive career achievements, from scoring Broadway musicals and films ("Splendor In The Grass," "The Manchurian Candidate") to jazz collaborations with Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker to an unofficial role as spokesman for World Music.

in addition to performing throughout the world with his trio, he's currently working on a book titled "Collaborating with Kerouac," which details work with the famous author, Mck Kerouac.

With all of his acclaim, Amram said his children (ages 15, 16 and 20) are most impressed by the reference to their father in a song by the popular children's composer, Raffi.

The line "one for me and one for David Amram" pops up in a tune about peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Amram said.

"Raffi said he couldn't think of anything to thyme with 'jam,"' Amram said of this famous place in childrens musical history.

Yet in the agricultural community where Amram now calls home, notoriety eludes him. And though Amram has chosen to settle a long distnace from the palce where his ancestors first set dwon roots in Savannah, GA., he's found his own refuge

After an article appeared in The New York Times talking about Amram's work as a conductor, a long-time resident of his community asked him about it.

"'Dave, I hear you're a conductor,"' Amram said, retelling the conversation. "'What railroad do you work for?"'