Hangtown Dancehall Now Available From Red Beet Records: A Unique Musical Adventure Set in the California Gold Rush, Written by Eric Brace & Karl Straub.
We here at Red Beet Records are mighty pleased to announce the release of Hangtown Dancehall, a "folk opera" written by Eric Brace & Karl Straub. It's a song-cycle set in the California Gold Rush, and performed by alt-country/Americana luminaries Kelly Willis, Tim O'Brien, Darrell Scott, Jason Ringenberg, John Wesley Harding, Andrea Zonn, along with Eric and Karl.
Hangtown Dancehall is the story of two young lovers, Betsy and Ike, who leave their Missouri home for California during the Gold Rush. Eric first met the two characters in a folk song that he heard in his childhood in Placerville, California, the epicenter of the Gold Rush, known in the 1850s as Hangtown. That song, "Sweet Betsy From Pike," tells the story of Betsy and Ike's trek by wagon train across the continent. The song's final verses tell of their arrival in Hangtown but Eric decided that though that's the end of the song, it wasn't the end of the tale. With Hangtown Dancehall, Eric and Karl tell the rest of Betsy and Ike's story.
This record has been in the works for almost a decade, often on the back burner as Eric rolled along with his band Last Train Home and with his duo "Eric Brace & Peter Cooper." Over the years he's worked on Hangtown Dancehall, Eric moved to Nashville and founded Red Beet Records. Karl has been busy in Washington D.C. with his bands The Graverobbers and The Karl Straub Combo, and getting degrees in composition and music education from Howard University. But every few months they'd go on a writing spree and add another chapter to the lives of Betsy and Ike. Finally, with the help of artist Julie Sola and graphic designer Bill Thompson (who together created the 24-page booklet that accompanies the CD), Red Beet Records has released Hangtown Dancehall.
For the next six weeks, Hangtown Dancehall will be available exclusively through Red Beet Records, so click here to go straight to the store. (In January, it will become available on iTunes and other digital outlets and mail order sites). Be sure to check out the poster that's on sale for the Hangtown Dancehall premiere that took place in Nashville on Nov. 2. While you're there, consider adding something else to your order. (Hey, Christmas shopping!). You might like Eric and Peter's third duo release, The Comeback Album. Or perhaps any of the other offerings from LTH, Peter Cooper, and the rest of our catalogue.