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Tell Me a Story

State of the Arts


Published December 8, 2010 at 9:08 a.m.


Compact discs had not yet been invented when Tim Jennings first released his telling of “Weatherbeard” and other folk stories on cassette 25 years ago. But any recording at all is advanced technology compared with the utterly timeless tales this central Vermont storyteller spins with such ease. Jennings possesses a warm baritone that shape-shifts to the voices of every character in his fantastical stories, from a thunderous boom to a bloodcurdling growl to a squeaky scritch. His animated storytelling, captivating to listeners of all ages, has in more recent years been accompanied by the harp and voice of his wife and performance partner, Leanne Ponder. But, before they became a duo, “Weatherbeard” was one of Jennings’ signature solo tales, presented at storytelling festivals and schools around the country as well as on National Public Radio.

The Norwegian classic is “the oldest story I know,” says Jennings. The new 25th-anniversary edition on CD offers the dramatic narrative anew, along with three other stories and two musical interludes. Jennings and Ponder present these and more in three performances celebrating the CD — a stocking stuffer! — this week.