Now Booking

Now booking speaking engagements

for

Spring, Summer and Fall  2014.

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Noted singer and storyteller Marideth Sisco, whose music was the backbone of the Oscar-nominated film Winter’s Bone, would love to share her songs and/or stories at your event. Marideth’s down-home tales, from comic to poignant and insightful, of the Missouri Ozarks of yesterday will enchant your audience. Sisco has performed for audiences as diverse as alumni associations, historical societies, environmental organizations, libraries, museums and film and music festivals. Each presentation is tailored to the needs and interests of the individual audience. And every audience comes away inspired as well as entertained. She’ll make your day – and your event.

A special note to potential not-for-profit sponsors: Marideth Sisco has been approved for the Missouri Arts Council’s Touring Performers Roster as a master storyteller, and your non-profit may qualify for MAC funding of your event.

Booking information, contact

Sarah Denton
moonmooring@yahoo.com

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See you all there!

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Warrensburg here we come!

securedownload-1_2As you may know Blackberry Winter will be performing in Warrensburg at UCM in Hendricks Hall on April 28, 7 pm. John Hess will once again be joining us in this show with a wonderful photographic essay. See you there!

This from John Hess;

What is a biologist/photographer
doing with a music group?


I worked with the Darwin Project that premiered in the fabulous Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts when it first opened. I was a consultant and contributing photographer, and I was asked to fill the 19×25′ screen to entertain the audience during intermission.

That was my initiation into performance imagery and it was followed in 2012 by my first collaboration with Blackberry Winter — an Educational Benefit at the Folly Theater in Kansas City, we worked together again last year, that time on the UCM campus for Earth Day.

From my perspective this is a novel art form. Like haiku it is defined by its boundaries and as an accompaniment, it moves with the pace of the performers. There is no video. Instead I use stills, both realistic and abstract, merging imagery, pans, and an occasional animation, all synchronized with the performance. The band is awesome and the imagery can add powerfully to an already strong performance.

Some of the images will be pretty, some graphic, some abstract, the transitions evocative. It is unique, probably the opportunity to experience this combination of the arts will not pass this way again. It will be a memorable evening. It will be delightful. I hope you can see it.
~ John Hess

brawleycreek.com

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Kansas City Here I Come

Representing Blackberry Winter and herself – Marideth’s first venture to Folk Alliance International conference.

Marideth

Marideth

Marideth with Ensemble Iberica at FAI

Marideth with Ensemble Iberica at FAI

Legoland

Legoland

 

The waterfall level of the lobby in the Westin

The waterfall level of the lobby in the Westin

Left to right; Tom Shipley of "Brewer and Shipley", Bruce Bureman and Tim O'Rourke.

Left to right; Tom Shipley of “Brewer and Shipley”, Bruce Bureman and Tim O’Rourke.

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These Ozark Hills, February 2014; just another version

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Here’s another post, or quite possibly a rant, discussing a matter of general interest and on topic for most folks these days. If you’re a stalker, I mean lurker, I mean follower of this blog (all three are welcome, of course), you will notice that it starts out just like the last entry, but then veers off. It was actually the draft version of the radio essay at one time. But then I was reminded by my radio minder, Jennifer Davidson, that the subject into which I had veered off into, namely marijuana legalization, is quite probably going to be voted on here in Missouri this year. That makes it political, and as much as I’d love to be political, it just isn’t kosher on public radio to vent political opinions in a show ostensibly about the Ozarks. Well, I knew that, I just didn’t know it was coming up for a vote here. Marijana Legan in MO? Amazing. It, and it’s a big if, that were to happen, there are, I imagine, quite a few entrepreneurs making plans even now to make a quick, and brief, killing by harvesting and selling ditch weed hemp. Let the buyer beware. I’m more interested, at my age, in seeing a revival of industrial hemp, which has a high probability of being a second economic and environmental boon for our state and national health. Will it be a success in Missouri? Heck, it grows wild here.

This is Marideth Sisco for These Ozark Hills. By now you may have begun to notice that some of my more recent little radio essays have been sounding vaguely familiar. That’s because they were. I have been on an unintended sabbatical from this show since about September of last year. Or maybe int was August. After getting verification that I was experiencing a return of endometrial cancer in mid-July, things outside my concern for my possibly impeding mortality got a little hazy — irrelevant, one might even say. I notified the folks here at KSMU that I would be going on hiatus for an indefinite period, and instead of wishing me well and sending me on my way, they said, no, they would just save my space for me. How would they do that, I asked, and Jennifer Moore, now Davidson, just smiled and said “Reruns.” It was a huge gift, and I am more grateful than I can say.

So today’s news is, I’m back, and I’ll be back until I fall over or they throw me out for excessive doddering. The only changes of note since I’ve been away are that I’m not as strong as I was, my hands shake, I am inexplicably retaining tiny bits of implanted precious metals way deep in my innards, and I may still be somewhat radioactive. Other than that, it’s just back to business. I have noticed of late that there seem to be signs of more shifts in our American perspective on how a society works. In my more cynical moments, I have subscribed more to Murphy’s version of the Golden Rule – i.e. “Whoever has the gold makes the rules.” And it is just that principle that seems to have brought the Drug War to its knees. It wasn’t that people in Washington and Colorado suddenly became comatose or wandered the street aimlessly, eating everything in sight. It was the money. The sheer weight of it. When folks in other states began to hear of the vastness of the market, the enormity of the profits. And the taxes. My god, the revenue it was hauling into state coffers. Now everybody’s beginning to want it. Even Missouri, where marijuana seizures by law enforcement have been routinely boosted into highly inflated numbers by counting every stem of the wild hemp that has been a common roadside weed, unharvested since the 1930s when “Reefer Madness” captured the national imagination and killed the once-thriving industrial hemp industry. One year while I was still a newspaper reporter, I remember unearthing a report issued by state officials which admitted that of the several thousand plants seized that year, only 600 were believed to have been planted by anyone other than birds and the wind. I don’t think it was intended for publication, but we ran it anyway.That all seems a long time ago, but there still remain those of us old enough to remember when hemp was a cash crop that nobody smoked, but was used primarily to make rope and cloth that was virtually indestructible. The fibers are stronger by weight than steel. It is by far superior to wood pulp for the manufacture of paper. Its oils can be used in a variety of ways from paint to industrial solvents and lubricants. All that aside from the discovery or the rediscovery of its uses in medical science for the relief of intractable pain.

George Washington believed it to be the very stuff of survival. Thomas Jefferson grew and sold acres of it. But for smoking material, they both preferred tobacco. Someday when you are old and I am but a memory of an older, more primitive time, you may find yourselves telling stories of the days when people could be imprisoned for years, sometimes decades, for daring even to possess tiny amounts of the miracle drug, the healing plant, the most valuable of resources, the very foundation of industry and environmental wisdom. Those poor souls, you’ll say. I just don’t understand where they went wrong. What terrible malady possessed them that they made such terribly destructive decisions. Why on earth did they choose to suffer, when they could have been healthy, wealthy, and wise. When it comes to mortality, I’m glad I won’t be around to answer that one. This is Marideth Sisco for These Ozark Hills. Thanks for listening.

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These Ozark Hill – February 2014

IMG_1420This is Marideth Sisco for These Ozark Hills. By now you may have begun to notice that some of my more recent little radio essays have been sounding vaguely familiar. That’s because they were. I have been on an unintended sabbatical from this show since about August of last year. After discovering the return of endometrial cancer in mid-July, things outside my concern for my possible mortality got a little hazy — irrelevant, one might even say. I notified the folks here at KSMU that I would be going on hiatus for an indefinite period, and instead of wishing me well and sending me on my way, they said, no, they would just save my space for me. How would they do that, I asked, and Jennifer Moore, now Davidson, just smiled and said “Reruns.” It was a huge gift, and I am more grateful than I can say.
So today’s news is, I’m back, and I’ll be back until I fall over or they throw me out for excessive doddering. The only changes of note since I’ve been away are that I’m not as strong as I was, my hands shake, I have a tiny collection of bits of implanted precious metals way deep in my innards, and I may still be somewhat radioactive. Other than that, it’s just back to business, part of which now is keeping those inevitable doddering days at bay. I am reminded of the time, back in 1986, when I moved to West Plains to take a job at The Quill, the town’s daily newspaper. It was a splendid place to be a journalist of the old school, back when the job was a sacred trust, the only occupation actually protected by the Constitution. I was there to witness the transition from the earliest version of the desktop computer, a Tandy with a green screen and no on-board memory, to the many gigabyte miracle machines of today. No on board memory meant that you wrote the story in real-time and saved it to a disk. And if the disk was faulty, well, then, in the words of the city editor, it became one with the universe, and you wrote it again. I was also there to witness the final unplugging of the once-ubiquitous teletype machine. replaced by a computer that brought the news to us quicker and so it didn’t need to be retyped. The price was the silence. You’d think we’d be happy at the lack of noise. But it no longer sounded like a newspaper office. It it was difficult to get used to, this loss of the ticker, and felt somehow profound, as if the pulse of the very institution had somehow flatlined.
But it wasn’t just the newspaper that was making a shift into the 20th century as it was drawing to a close. Radio was becoming computerized, and cable TV was being challenged by satellite systems. More and more, people like me, in the midst of becoming old-timers, found our realities more centered in the past than in the ever-changing tomorrow.
For instance, when I arrived in West Plains, radio was still completely, sometimes painfully, live. I will never forget the morning I tuned the car radio to the local station on my way to work to find the weather report being delivered by an elderly lady with a bad cough – and the sound of a wringer washing machine quite audible in the background. And then the phone rang, the dog barked, she scolded the dog, picked up the phone, said “I can’t talk now, I’m on the radio.” She then vigorously cleared her throat and continued with the forecast. It was my first encounter with Mrs. Kreigh, who, with her husband, broadcast the local weather from their basement, relying on well-kept notebooks of local weather history and a little weather station, donated by the National Weather Service, in their back yard. They were remarkable accurate except in terms of local rainfall, which was sometimes skewed by the habit of local high school boys occasionally stopping by at night and reaching across the fence to top off the rain gauge. Being so far out in a mostly rural area, we still get reports from regional stations that are based on their reports from local people. Eventually, I expect, they’ll just send out little drones to gather their data, and we won’t get asked anything at all.
And as for that, I expect one day in the not so far future, I, too, will become obsolete, as the Ozarks becomes more homogenized into a national sameness and our unique ways and culture, not to mention our lack of an accent, go the way of the dinosaur, the teletype, and the Kreighs. But in the meantime, I’ll keep coming to visit with you on your way to work or on the way home, bringing you pictures of your past, and commentaries on the commonplace in these beautiful Ozark Hills. This is Marideth Sisco. It’s good to be back.
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Still Standing and the Beaucoup Bottom Boys’

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This article written by John Meacham recently appeared in the County Journal. It tells the tale of the Beaucoup Bottom Boys’, their song “Memories of the Ozarks” and Blackberry Winter’s rendition of it called “Ozark Mountains” – most recently recorded on Blackberry Winter’s latest album “Still Standing”.  

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Memories of the Ozarks

By John Meacham

Authorities differ as to whether the Shawnee Hills are part of the Ozark Mountains, but Marv Juhl of Du Quoin made his position clear back in 1980, when he wrote, “All across Missouri and south to Arkansas! From the hills of Oklahoma to Southern Illinois! Ozark Mountains, I hear you calling, and with you is where I long to be!”

Those lyrics are from “Memories of the Ozarks,” which Marv wrote to a tune his son, Bob, had composed on his guitar. Now, the Blackberry Winter band has recorded the song, under the title “Ozark Mountains,” on its new album, “Still Standing.”

“It only took three or four days after I played the tune until he had the words,” Bob recalled in a recent interview. “We worked on it two or three times before we decided we had it like we wanted it. When a song comes to you, it comes to you.”

Blackberry Winter was formed when West Plains, Mo., native and folk singer Marideth Sisco was asked by producer Debra Granik to assemble musicians to play the soundtrack for “Winter’s Bone.” The film, set in the Missouri Ozarks and released in 2010, went on to win critical acclaim and numerous awards.

Sisco performs the lead vocal on Blackberry Winter’s rendition of Marv and Bob’s song, and the writers are pleased with the result.

“It’s 98 percent the way we originally intended it to be,” Marv said. “We’re so glad somebody got it out there so people can hear it.”

Marv, Bob and Joe Juhl (another of Marv’s sons) and several other Du Quoin-area musicians recorded “Memories of the Ozarks” as the Beaucoup Bottom Boys, named for Beaucoup Creek in Perry County, on their 1981 LP, “Comin’ Out.” Bob sang the lead vocal on that album.

This is the photo from the back cover of the Beaucoup Bottom Boys' 1981 LP, "Comin Out." Kneeling in front are Steven "Butch" Kosma (acoustic guitar and vocals) and David Lee Halstead (acoustic guitar, mandolin and vocals). Behind them are Bob Juhl (acoustic guitar and vocals), Marv Juhl (bass), Don Willi (fiddle) and Joe Juhl (banjo). Steve Townes (not pictured) played harmonica with the band. (Photo by John Meacham)

This is the photo from the back cover of the Beaucoup Bottom Boys’ 1981 LP, “Comin Out.” Kneeling in front are Steven “Butch” Kosma (acoustic guitar and vocals) and David Lee Halstead (acoustic guitar, mandolin and vocals). Behind them are Bob Juhl (acoustic guitar and vocals), Marv Juhl (bass), Don Willi (fiddle) and Joe Juhl (banjo). Steve Townes (not pictured) played harmonica with the band. (Photo by John Meacham)

Thirty years later, Matt Meacham, Marv’s great-nephew and a Bremen native, included the song on a demo recording that he and fellow musician Travis Stimeling made.  Matt, who was then a folklorist with the West Plains Council on the Arts, gave copies of that recording to several of the members of Blackberry Winter.  “Memories of the Ozarks” caught their attention.

“We fell in love with it. It was a natural to include on this album,” Sisco said.

Marv said the beauty of such places as Giant City, Bald Knob and the Garden of the Gods was the inspiration for his words. He grew up in New Holland, near Lincoln in central Illinois, and moved south in 1962 to take a job with Associated Lumber Company in Carbondale. He later managed that company’s branch in Du Quoin for many years.

“We lived on the prairie, and when we moved down here, it put us in a different environment,” Marv said. “I was just amazed by Southern Illinois and Missouri.”

Marv brought with him an interest in country music he had developed as a young man by listening to square dance bands and radio shows such as the National Barn Dance. He had taken guitar lessons and learned at least one country standard, “Red Wing,” from his high school band director.

It wasn’t until Bob and Joe developed their interests in music that Marv really got serious about playing, though.

“I didn’t read music, and still don’t,” he said. “We always just played it by ear.”

Soundtracks from the movies “Bonnie and Clyde” and “Deliverance” influenced the Juhls’ love for bluegrass music. The three, along with friends like Pastor Bob Brown, chaplain at the Menard Correctional Center for several years, played for audiences at church picnics, campgrounds, senior citizen centers and store openings all over the region.

“Wherever we could get a free meal,” Bob joked.

One highlight of their career was the Beaucoup Bottom Boys’ appearance on WSIU-TV in 1980, just before the station broadcast the Grand Old Opry for the first time as part of its annual fundraising campaign. A highlight yet to come will be the Juhl Family and Friends Band’s performance at the Old-Time Music and Ozark Heritage Festival in West Plains June 20 and 21.

(Autographed copies of the “Still Standing” CD may be ordered directly from Blackberry Winter by emailing moonmooring@yahoo.com. The album is also available now in digital format from CD Baby, iTunes and other outlets. It will soon be available on Amazon.)

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“Still Standing”, here in time for Christmas

The final cover for Still Standing!

We are scheduled to receive this album on December 14.

Request an order form;

Sarah at moonmooring@yahoo.com or via Facebook message.

Still Standing CD BABY CoverArt

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