Cincinnati Pops Orchestra Releases ‘American Originals’ on September 11



Rosanne Cash, Joe Henry, Dom Flemons, Aoife O’Donovan, Over The Rhine, and Comet Bluegrass All-Stars and the iconic Cincinnati Pops Orchestra have come together under the direction of Pops Conductor John Morris Russell to honor Stephen Foster, the father of American music, in a 17-track live recording, ‘American Originals,’ out Fri., Sept. 11 on the Fanfare Cincinnati label, distributed by Naxos.

In addition to a who’s-who of American Roots artists, Russell engaged arrangers and composers Chris Walden, Rob Mounsey, Rebecca Pellett, Peter Boyer and the Cincinnati Pops’ own Timothy Berens for a live, recorded three-day concert in January 2015 at Cincinnati’s historic Music Hall.

Fully orchestrated, featuring poignant moments for soloists, ‘American Originals’ marks the 94th Pops recording, yet the Orchestra’s first live recording, and celebrates the earliest chapters of the Great American Songbook — “O! Susannah,” “Amazing Grace,” and “My Old Kentucky Home” to name a few.

“These songs are ‘classic’ in every way. They have stood the test of time and are still sung in anthems, pop songs and covers across the country and around the world,” said Russell, “though often folks have no idea they were created by a man who died unrecognized and penniless at the age of 37.”

Stephen Foster (1826-1864), known as the “father of American music,” wrote the first pages of the American Songbook in his early 20’s while working in Cincinnati (1846-1850) at his brother’s steamboat shipping company in the mid-1800s.

Continuing the legacy, ‘American Originals’ will be released on Fri., Sept. 11, and is available for preorder at

‘American Originals’ tracklist:
1. O! Susannah
2. Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair
3. My Old Kentucky Home
4. Amazing Grace
5. Rolling River: Sketches on Shenandoah
6. Why. No One To Love?
7. Old Folks At Home
8. Kumbaya
9. Slumber My Darling
10. Aura Lee
11. Foster’s Folly
12. Ring, Ring The Bandjo
13. Red River Valley
14. The Battle Cry of Freedom
15. Beautiful Dreamer
16. Hard Times Come Again No More
17. Camptown Races