Both Sides of the Story?

Ron Olesko

& WFDU-FM’s TRADITIONS Playlist for April 10, 2016 Fair and balanced used to be a significant principle for journalists before it became a catchphrase for Fox News. Perhaps there is a bit of sarcasm involved in that network’s use of the phrase, but it does appear that current broadcasters have … → read more

Poor Ellen Smith

Neko Case Ellen Smith was shot through the heart in July of 1892. Peter DeGraff had been romantically involved with Smith. He stood trial for her murder, was convicted, and was executed for it thirteen months after Smith’s death. At least two songs about this terrible, yet all too typical … → read more

NC Artists Gather for Protests

"Moral Monday" protesters

North Carolinian recording artists are pulling together to record a compilation of protest songs in support of North Carolina’s “Moral Monday” protests, which have been held for the past 12 consecutive Mondays in Raleigh, NC. Calling themselves the North Carolina Music Love Army, the 40-plus member group intends to continue … → read more

I ain’t gonna be treated this way… “Rain and Snow,” Part 2

As we found out in the introductory post this week, “Cold Rain and Snow”, which most folks know as a staple in the Grateful Dead’s repertoire, is an American ballad written by an unknown author after a man murdered his wife in Madison County, North Carolina a decade or two … → read more

Cold Rain and Snow – Introduction

I first heard our subject ballad for the week from the same source I’m sure the majority of people who know it today did – the Grateful Dead.  It had been part of their repertoire since their start in 1965, and by the time I was going to Dead shows … → read more

A sunny dark place

Rorey Carroll “…it’s such a powerful thing to take someone’s life.  It’s one of the most powerful things, and it’s something that anyone could do.  I think people are fascinated with death and murder for the fascination with their own darkness.” Part One of Murder Ballad Monday’s interview with Rorey Carroll.   Rorey … → read more

Omie Wise

This week’s installment is a decidedly American contribution to the genre, and one not  completely shrouded in the mists of history, but only partly so. The events of “Omie Wise” can be pinned down to a known historical event—the drowning of Naomi Wise in Randolph County, North Carolina in 1808.  … → read more