“Little Black Train” and facing death through song

“Prepare to take a ride …” I‘m just shy of fifty years old. My father died at ninety-one a month ago, and my older brother, tragically, three months before that. My mother passed less than two years ago, just a year or so after my parents moved in with us. … → read more

Finding A Voice

& WFDU-FM’s TRADITIONS Playlist for June 26, 2016 Justin Timberlake, who earned dubious street cred in the folk community for his role as a folksinger in the Coen Brothers film Inside Llweyn Davis, found himself in deeper hot water last weekend at the BET Awards. It started with Timberlake tweeting … → read more

ANNA & ELIZABETH: Anna and Elizabeth

Anna and Elizabeth

          ANNA & ELIZABETH Anna and Elizabeth Free Dirt Records www.freedirtrecords.com   Multi-instrumentalist and singer Anna Roberts-Gevalt and Appalachian singer Elisabeth LaPrelle have combined to produce a beautifully crafted collection of songs of sorrow, survival and redemption. “Poor Pilgrim of Sorrow” shows off their fine vocal … → read more

VARIOUS ARTISTS: Dear Jean

              Various Artists Dear Jean: Artists Celebrate Jean Ritchie Compass Records #7 4631 2 www.compassrecords.com There are two things any and every true aficionado of folk music should know full well about Jean Ritchie: First that she is one of the most important and … → read more

Pat’s Essential Eleven Traditional Murder Ballads

Introduction We here at Murder Ballad Monday are soon fixing to close our second year of writing about our topic of choice!  Don’t worry; we have a few more weeks to go before we get to our holiday hiatus, and we’re planning a Year Three.  But I’ve been reflecting on … → read more

“The baddest man in the whole damn town…”

Friends, I’ve got a confession to make.  I’m white, but I love Stagolee.  And I don’t just mean the Grateful Dead’s “Stagger Lee”, which was my gateway to the story – I love to hear them all.  I’ve been too busy this week to do this song justice with another … → read more

“Them coats that hang on the mountain…”

“Whatever happened to the good old days when kids was scared to death of their parents?” – Archie Bunker For the fourth time this week we embark on an exploration of the ballad “Young Emily” – Laws M34 or Roud #182 – and in Appalachia today we’ll finish our trek.  We introduced … → read more

LOOKING BACK AT THE 30TH ANNUAL OLD SONGS FESTIVAL

Another year has come and gone. I’m beginning to set my calendar to coincide with the Old Songs Festival. The event has become my annual booster shot that reminds of why “folk” music is so important – the festival displays the music and the artists while informing us of where … → read more