Hank Harris

Hank Harris presents
"Deadwood Songbook"

Popular songs from Deadwood's early days

Rapid City - South Dakota singer/songwriter Hank Harris performs the real music of Deadwood at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, April 21.

Originally commissioned to research songs for the HBO show Deadwood, Harris turned the project into one of historic preservation of Deadwood's musical past. Painstakingly researched, Hank has brought the cowboy, gospel/spiritual, Jewish, Irish and contemporary songs of the day back to life. Stellar musicians Kenny Putnam on fiddle and banjolin, (yes, it is a cross between banjo and mandolin) and Ricky Jacobsen on piano and accordion, round out the sound of these 1880s tunes.

From the dance halls and concert halls of an 1880 Deadwood, comes the music of an era. Between 1876, when Deadwood began as a raucous mining camp, and 1900 when the town had evolved into a bastion of respectability, attending a musical performance was a major social activity. On one end of Deadwood there was music played in the roughest barrooms, where performers dodged bullets, and in ornate concert halls built to show that the mining town was anything but wild. Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado, in fact, debuted in Deadwood in 1885.

Just down the street in one event, an axe was thrown at a well-known musician who then drew a pistol and shot is attacker - later ruled as self defense. Hank, Kenny and Ricky revive classic American songs like Dixie, John Henry, Yankee Doodle, Ciliate Linda and The Dreary Black Hills. In a concert setting, the songs are rendered faithfully on traditional instruments of the day. Harris tells stories throughout the evening about each of the selections.

To purchase tickets they are $7 advance or $10 the day of Show. For more information, call the Dahl Arts Center at 394-4101 ext 201.