“Unprepared to Die”: An Interview with Paul Slade

From the time we started Murder Ballad Monday in 2012, one of our neighbors in the curious portion of the web focused on murder balladry has been Paul Slade, journalist and owner of PlanetSlade.com. While not exactly a blog, Slade’s web site provides, among other content, in-depth articles on the “true stories” behind … → read more

Never Again: Redemption, Loss, & Wrecks on the Highway (Part 1)

This is the first of a two-part look at songs (“Wreck on the Highway” and “Percy’s Song”) about road crashes and their aftermath … The meaning of life is that it stops. — Kafka Impact Shards of shattered windshield, mangled steel, the stink of burning rubber. Torn clothes drenched with … → read more

Jon Langford interview, Part Three

Lofty Deeds, Jon Langford This is the final installment of our interview with Chicago musician and artist Jon Langford. After recording three albums of murder ballads, he seemed like the ideal candidate for a Murder Ballad Monday sit-down. You can also read or re-visit Part 1 and Part 2. Today … → read more

Jon Langford interview, Part Two

Jon Langford (Photo by Barry Phipps, courtesy the artist and Bloodshot Records) Today we continue our conversation with transplanted Chicagoan and jack-of-all-trades (music, art, comic interludes, storytelling) Jon Langford. You can read Part One here; Part Three appears Friday. Today we find out why Langford wanted to record an album … → read more

Musician Jon Langford on the appeal of the murder ballad

Without A Doubt, Jon Langford (2007) Introduction When I was just a baby, my Mama told me, “Son Always be a good boy, don’t ever play with guns,” But I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die. — Johnny Cash (“Folsom Prison Blues”) Jon Langford is one … → read more

Poor boy, you’re bound to die

Neil Young This our fourth post so far on the familiar murder ballad “Tom Dooley.” –The first post discusses some of the history behind the song. –The second post discusses the history of the song itself, from regional to international popularity. –The third post picks out some performances from the … → read more