The Train Rolls On

Whenever Cousin Pearl would cut loose with a yodel on The Beverly Hillbillies and the dogs would come a-runnin', you pretty much knew where yodeling stood in pop culture: a hillbilly joke, the sound of hickdom. If you think that, then you've probably never heard Jimmie Rodgers sing "Train Whistle Blues" or "Blue Yodel No. 8, Mule Skinner Blues." Maybe you have to have a little bit of country in you to appreciate it, but coming from Rodgers, the Depression-era "Father of Country Music," a "yodel-lay-hee-hoo" had...well...soul. Seriously. No joke. Don't believe it? Then check out the Undermain Theatre's world premiere of Waiting for a Train: The Life and Songs of Jimmie Rodgers. (It was a short life. The Singing Brakeman died of tuberculosis at age 35 while recording his last sessions in New York City in 1933. Fans flocked to the tracks to watch the train that carried his body back to Mississippi pass by.) Preview performances of Waiting for a Train take place March 29 and 30 at 3200 Main St. in Deep Ellum, and the show officially opens April 1. Call 214-747-5515 or visit undermain.com.
Wednesdays, Thursdays, 7:30 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays, 8:15 p.m. Starts: March 29. Continues through May 13
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Patrick Williams is editor-in-chief of the Dallas Observer.
Contact: Patrick Williams