Ralph Stanley Announces Retirement

Ralph Stanley Retires

Bluegrass singer and banjo player Ralph Stanley has announced that he plans to retire in December of 2014. Now age 86, “Dr. Ralph Stanley” has had a storied career with tremendous achievements, including inventing his own banjo playing style, winning three Grammys, and being inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. … → read more

Copyright and Happy Birthday to You

MIldred and Patty Hill

Before most people blow out the candles on their birthday cake, they usually sing “Happy Birthday to You.” You know the song well. It’s sung at almost every birthday party. Variations exist in nearly every language. We’ve heard “The Happy Birthday to You” sung by all kinds of pop starts … → read more

RIP Bobby “Blue” Bland

Bobby "Blue" Bland

Robert Calvin Bland, better known as Bobby “Blue” Bland, the “Lion of the Blues,” passed away on Sunday, June 23rd, after fighting an ongoing illness. Bland was 83-years-old and leaves behind a legacy of blues, gospel and R&B that has garnered him comparisons with other vocal legends such as Sam … → read more

“The Cumberland and the Merrimac”

The Sinking of the “Cumberland” by the Ironclad “Merrimac“, off Newport News Va. March 8th 1862 – Currier and Ives, 1862 Introduction This week we return once again to the American Civil War for some music that might make the hair stand up on the back of your neck.  Any … → read more

The Ballad of Laura Foster

Not Laura Foster This is the fifth post in a series on “Tom Dooley” and related songs. The first post discusses some of the facts behind the story that inspired the song. The following three posts “Hang down your head, Tom Dooley,” “You can take down my old violin,” and … → 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

You can take down my old violin

Arthel Lane “Doc” Watson This is our third post this week on “Tom Dooley.” You can read the first here and the second here. Introduction My heart sank just a little after reading in John Edward Fletcher’s book about the Dula case that Doc Watson told a story of Grayson … → read more

Benefit Concert for NYC Folk Music Exhibit

Upcoming Folk Music Exhibit, Folk City

A benefit concert featuring Pete Seeger and other folk singers, musicians and writers will be held at the New York Academy of Medicine on Thursday, June 20th. The concert will benefit an upcoming folk music exhibit, “Folk City,” on display at the Museum of the City of New York in … → read more

Summer Folk Festivals: June Edition

View of crowd at Philadelphia Folk Festival

Sing Out! provides an international listing of folk music festivals and camps, which can be found at www.singout.org/fests.html. Our listing is currently updated to feature festivals throughout the summer. Before making summer road trips, camping excursions, etc., be sure to check if there’s a festival near you! Folk music thrives … → read more

Hang down your head, Tom Dooley

G.B. Grayson and Henry Whitter [This is the second post this week on “Tom Dooley.” The first post gives the basics of the underlying story.] Hardly a fiddler or a banjo picker in our county… “I’ll tell you all Verlee and I can remember about Tom Dula…. Laura Foster was a cousin … → read more