BRIM A BREW

MUSIC BY RUSSELL STEINBERG

POETRY BY RAY UNDERWOOD

These songs speak of simple things: the magic of wind whistling through empty glass bottles, an aged maid representing the harvest of a simple bountiful life, a lullaby to ward off the great darkness, and winter galloping on a stallion followed by snowy hosts. Juliana Gondek sent me home one day with an extensive folder filled to the brim with poetry of her belated friend Ray Underwood. Ray’s poems got under my skin with their simplicity, elegance, Americana quality—and beneath all that, a mighty darkness. This collection sets five of his poems in musical language that tries to tap into that sense of simple and elegant American identity, with resonances of Copland and Barber.

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