The Cruel Ship’s Captain / The Captain’s Apprentice

Introduction – “The Cruel Ship’s Captain” Today’s ballad is notable both for its brevity and for the depravity it depicts.  The brevity is mostly a product of the Anglophone seamen and laborers who worked the song over time to a fine edge like a blade on a whetstone.  The depravity derives from the combination of human … → read more

Folkfinds: John Daniel Lane’s “Walk Along John to Kansas”

Midwestern fiddler John Daniel Lane takes a panoramic high-definition view of American fiddle music and clearly enjoys experimenting with different styles. There’s a distinct and acknowledged John Hartford influence to his playing and repertoire, but he’s as likely to be playing Irish, Scandinavian, or hyperlocal Missouri styles and tributes to … → read more

Podcast: Black History in Words and Music, pt 2
Episode #16-08 | airing 2-24-16

This week we’ll conclude our two part feature celebrating Black History Month. Last week we heard some classic music from the early days of sound recording plus a set of tunes from the Civil Rights Movement. This week our program takes a sharp turn as we listen to more music … → read more

Danse Macabre (the first installment)

Danse Macabre

Murder ballads made for dancing The Corries’ performance of “The Massacre of Glencoe” on our Facebook page several days ago prompted one reader to comment that older songs like it differed with more recent “hardcore” music in that the tenderness of the music contrasted with the grimness of the story. I … → read more

Folkfinds: Mat Walklate’s “Cold In Hand”

English harmonica wiz Mat Walklate is another incredibly versatile performer on his instrument. While his focus can vary depending on which of the several bands he’s playing with, he works predominantly in Irish traditional music and blues, frequently mixing in old-time, bluegrass, ska, pop, country and whatever else catches his … → read more

Podcast: Black History in Words and Music
Episode #16-07 | airing 2-17-16

The next two programs will celebrate Black History Month. The African-American community has produced some of the strongest and most vital music in AmericanRoots Music. On this week’s program we’ll hear some classics from the early days of sound recordings as well as some music from the Civil Rights Movement. … → read more

“The Little Girl and the Dreadful Snake” – Conversations with Death – 6

Our darling wandered far away… I had an odd reaction to that recent video of the rescue of a toddler running alone down the middle of a busy Highway 101 in Oregon.  A old, favorite song popped into my head instantly – “The Little Girl and the Dreadful Snake.”  It won’t … → read more

Folkfinds: John Walkenbach & Friends’ “Opera Reel”

We didn’t realize it when we picked this week’s tune, but old-time instrumentalist John Walkenbach has been tangentially featured in Folkfinds previously; he is among the old-time mentors Mexican banjo picker Juan Cordero found in the Tucson Old-Time Music Circle. ‘Opera Reel,’ our favorite from his Soundcloud page, does present … → read more

Podcast: The Cowboy Way
Episode #16-06 | airing 2-10-16

If you grew up in the 1950s as I did you were interested in Cowboys and the Old West. There were countless movies and television shows depicting the life in the West. Roy Rogers, Gene Autry and others were a big part of your daily life as you strapped on … → read more