New Folk Opera From Rachel Grimes Tells A Story Of Rural Kentucky Women

Sep 12, 2019

Rachel Grimes will be speaking at the Witching Hour and will perform "The Way Forth" in Iowa City on November 1.
Credit JESSIE KRIECH-HIGDON / Courtesy of Rachel Grimes

What isn't being said about the lives of women in rural Kentucky?

Fueled by intuition, and inspired by time she spent filming present day life in rural Appalachia, pianist and composer Rachel Grimes set out to answer that question.

Grimes creates music for chamber ensembles, orchestras, film, and live collaborative performances.

During this Talk of Iowa interivew, host Charity Nebbe speaks with Grimes about her new project, The Way Forth. It's a folk opera that can be best described as a multimedia project comprised of performance, film and the history of Kentucky women from 1775 to today.  

“I think part of what was interesting to me was to find more information about people who are typically ignored,” Grimes said. “We’re finally, as a society, ready to start listening to the bigger story and to all the voices that may have been a part of a given moment and time, not just the people who were writing it down.”  

Grimes will be giving a lecture on creative expression and archival sources at the University of Iowa Main Library October 31st. Grimes will also perform The Way Forth at the Englert Theatre on November 1st during the Witching Hour Festival in downtown Iowa City.


Rachel Grimes, pianist and composer