Shakespeare comes alive with As Y’all Like It
When it comes to Kentucky music, the state is full of talent that can overfill a cup of lyrics and songs. Louisville native, Aaron Bibelhauser, has expanded his traditional bluegrass music influence to team up with the Kentucky Shakespeare production on a new project. “As Y’all Like It: Songs from Kentucky Shakespeare” is available today and is perfect to add to your collection.
Kentucky Shakespeare is the Official Shakespeare Festival of Kentucky. One of their productions is “As You Like It” that is performed in Louisville’s Central Park. Aaron Bibelhauser was approached by Matt Wallace to help with the production of the play to add music to the story.
“It was really cool to get to work with Kentucky Shakespeare,” according to Bibelhauser. “They are one of the largest in the country beyond New York. They have had sixty years including this year of free no-ticketed Shakespeare performances that are accessible to all. They have a diverse cast and a professional theater. It’s a huge deal and a part of my upbringing as an adult to go see the shows at Central Park in Louisville. When he (Matt) asked me to write songs, I was not for sure as I didn’t consider myself a composer. As a songwriter, you do not usually jump at the idea of calling yourself a composer. Then he asked me to be the music director. I realized that if he believes in me, then I better go do it.”
“As Y’all Like It: Songs from Kentucky Shakespeare,” has five original tracks written by Aaron Bibelhauser and features guests that include well respected bluegrass musician, Michael Cleveland.
“You know they say that modern Appalachian dialect is closer to Shakespearean English than modern English,” Aaron Bibelhauser noted. “Where else do you hear someone say the word ‘yonder’ or ‘thee’? The interesting thing is that we have documents as to what Shakespeare wrote, but there is nothing out there as to how the music is supposed to sound like. All they got is the lyrics, so each year they either have to license a previous version or come up with their own.”
You can easily say that Aaron has written songs with the most prolific composer ever when it comes to music and poetry. The 5 song ep includes “Lover and His Lass,” “Under the Greenwood Tree,” “Blow Blow Thou Winter Wind,” “Marriage Hymn,” and “The Wrastler’s Defeat.” While listening to the album, you are transformed into a time period that feels more like post-Civil War in Appalachia. It fits perfectly into modern times, as well as part of a Shakespeare production set even further back in time. Each song fits Bibelhauser’s vocal capabilities, as well as his musicianship.
Aaron Bibelhauser has been noted for his song craft from having songs recorded by the likes of Del McCoury Band, Dale Ann Bradley, Balsam Ridge, The Wooks, and more. He placed first in the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at Merlefest for “Blue Collar Dreams.” The song was also one of 10 songs picked to be showcased out of 1,000 with the IBMA.
His musical influences such as Del McCoury Band, Mickey Clark, The Dillards, Osborne Brothers, and Newgrass Revival are intertwined with his music. “My inclination was always more song-driven, song delivery driven, and not much jam grass. I love that too. Being from Kentucky, I liked J.D. Crowe and the New South. I always liked the brother groups because of the close harmony and my brother performs as well. Doc Watson and Merle Haggard are more on the outside of bluegrass,” according to Bibelhauser.
Physical copies of the “As Y’all Like It” CDs are available for purchase on the Kentucky Shakespeare website at kyshakespeare.com/merch. You can also purchase digital copies online at I-tunes, Amazon, and other outlets. All sales go to support Kentucky Shakespeare, which continues to provide theatrical performances to entertain and teach others about performance art.
KET will be televising the 2019 production of “As You Like It” on September 11, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. Music fans will be able to watch the songs come to life as part of the Kentucky Shakespeare production.
Jessica Blankenship is the owner and founder of Kentucky Country Music website with over 20 years experience in music journalism, concert planning, photography, and promotion. Jessica is a Kentucky Colonel and alumni of the 2019 Leadership Kentucky BRIGHT Class and a recipient of the Laurel County’s Ten Under 40 Award. Listen to her each week on WFKY on Friday mornings for the Nashville News Roundup.