Early in 2018, the film American Folk was released to widespread acclaim, portraying the relationship between two strangers who meet while stranded together at an airport on the morning of September 11, 2001. The film chronicles their journey across America, as they discover their mutual love for folk music, exploring their own musicianship as they make their way to NYC. The two main characters are played by real-life musicians Joe Purdy and Amber Rubarth.
We caught up with Purdy at the 2018 Folk Alliance convention, where he performed a mesmerizing rendition of the traditional folk ballad, “Down In The Valley.” The song has been recorded countless times, by musical artists ranging from Bing Crosby to Jerry Garcia to Lead Belly. Fresh off the heels of the film’s release, Purdy’s performance was heartfelt, and had an unmistakable immediacy unique to outside-the-studio environments. His adaptation of the song from a 3/4 time signature to 4/4 gave it a more somber tone, which paralleled the minimalism of the stripped down arrangement.
The moment was captured thanks to Spire Studio.