Fri, Nov 19|
LINEFORK: Film & Performance
Lee Sexton is the last living link to the distant past of regional American music in Kentucky's Appalachian Mountains. A retired coal miner with black lung, Lee and his wife, Opal, continue to farm the land where he was born. Opening performance by Carling Berkhout.
Time & Location
Nov 19, 2021, 7:30 PM – 11:00 PM
Epsilon Spires, 190 Main St, Brattleboro, VT 05301, USA
About the Event
An immersive meditation on the passage of time and the persistent resonance of place, Linefork follows the daily rituals of an elderly couple living in Kentucky's Appalachian Mountains. Now in his nineties, Lee Sexton is the last living link to the distant past of a regional American music. A retired coal miner with black lung, Lee and his wife, Opal, continue to farm the land where he was born. Together they face encroaching health concerns and stark economic realities. Recorded over three years, Linefork is an observational film documenting their marriage, their community, their resilience, and the raw yet delicate music of an unheralded banjo legend, linked to the past yet immediately present.
Lee Sexton's distinctive 2-finger banjo style pre-dates and integrates aspects of bluegrass and can be heard on the landmark 1960 Smithsonian Folkways release Mountain Music of Kentucky, as well as on two recent canonical Smithsonian Folkways compilations: Classic Banjo and Classic Old-Time Music. Lee has been playing traditional music on the banjo and fiddle for 85 years, living on the same piece of land where he was born. Roots don't get deeper than that. Read more on Lee Sexton and the 5-string banjo.
Film will be followed by a Q & A with Co-Director Vic Rawlings facilitated by Rebecca Branson Jones.
Oxford American Interview with Vic Rawlings
“The restraint of the mostly still camera combined with the deep patience of the editing makes watching Linefork a mesmerizing experience. Far from an exploitative voyage into an antiquated existence, what emerges is an empathetic step into the pace of everyday life in this corner of America, coloured by music.” --Matt Krefting, The Wire (UK)
"The story relies just as much on the sound design as the dialogue and visuals. It's a total sensory experience."
--Rebecca Branson Jones, Appalachian Journal
“This slow, meditative film presents us with such transcendent, time-stopping moments in the sludgy flow of everyday events: moments of musical transport, moments of marital love. Those little daily miracles are the film’s true subject, and they’re worth waiting for. Lee and Opal Sexton hardly seem to notice them—who does while they’re happening?—but they come at us with the force of revelation.” ---From "Life Stand Still Here" by David Gates, author of Jernigan and A Hand Reached Down to Guide Me
Carling Berkhout is a writer and musician based in Vermont. Her music is rooted in a traditional, old-timey sound that also embraces a distinctive melancholic atmosphere. She performs in folk duo Carling & Will, folk trio Surplus Daughters, and indie rock band Foster Powell.
Linefork: Film & Performance
Admission for one to LINEFORK film screening with a director Q&A and live opening performance by Carling Berkhout. Please choose your seating with respect for others and let us know if you require special arrangements. $2 from every ticket goes directly towards the historic preservation of the venue. Thank you for your support! Enjoy the program!