“Slumber My Darling” Song premiere: American Originals with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra
In late January 2015, Rosanne Cash, the Comet Bluegrass All-Stars (Ed Cunningham, Jeff Roberts, Missy Werner, Harold Kennedy, John Cole, Artie Werner), Dom Flemons, Joe Henry, Aoife O’Donovan, and Over the Rhine joined forces with the Cincinnati Pop Orchestra, under the direction of John Morris Russell, for a three-night stand (January 23-25) to celebrate traditional American music. On the stage of Cincinnati’s legendary Music Hall, the Pops and the performers lend their own splendid voices to a number of Stephen Foster songs—including Joe Henry on “O! Susannah,” Rosanne Cash on “My Old Kentucky Home,” and Over the Rhine on “Hard Times Come Again No More”—and several traditional tunes, such as “Amazing Grace” and “Red River Valley.”
On September 11, the album, American Originals, containing the seventeen songs from this three-night run, will be released.
Aoife O’Donovan weaves soul vocals around her guitar and the Pops backing on Foster’s sweet lullaby, “Slumber My Darling.” O’Donovan reflects on the role Foster’s music, traditional American music, and this song played in her life: “I grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, singing a lot of folk music with my family. My dad’s from Ireland, but is a great lover of the American songbook. And one of my favorite things to do as a kid was to through the ‘Little House on the Prairie’ songbook. It was full of Stephen Foster songs. I would pretend that I lived on the prairie and I would sing ‘Polly-wolly Doodle All the Day’ and ‘O! Susannah.’ This song I don’t remember from the ‘Little House’ songbook, but it’s probably one my mother sang to me as a child.”
The beauty of her version certainly assures us that all will be well, wrapping itself around us like a warm quilt.