Folk singer Joe Jencks shared a musical experience of pure Americana last Sunday at the George Washington House.
On the eve of the United States’ July 4th Independence Day celebrations, Jencks gave the appreciative and musically knowledgeable audience an engaging history lesson on his country, using just his guitar and his rich voice.
Over the course of the evening, Jencks took the crowd from the desperation of the Dust Bowl era of the 1930s through to the Civil Rights era of the 1960s and right into the present.
He covered a range of quintessentially American musical styles, including folk, jazz, Negro spirituals and, in a tribute to his own ancestry, Irish folk.
The audience, which filled every seat under the tent on the lawns and spilled over to the lawns themselves, sang along and sometimes clapped along with classics such as the jazz standard Summertime, Woody Guthrie’s This Land Is Your Land and the civil rights anthem We Shall Overcome. Jencks also performed his own original compositions including the rousing Come With Me and a beautiful, wistful Irish-inflected ballad he wrote for his wife, On Eireann’s Shore.