“The Butcher Boy” / “The Railroad Boy”

Introduction: “It’s the butcher boy I love so well …” The title of today’s song suggests a narrative consistent with the stereotype of violent misogyny in our genre of choice.  Strictly speaking, this time that could lead to some inaccurate assumptions.  The boy in question is simply the son of … → read more

The Truth to You I’ll Tell – “Little Glass of Wine”

Introduction – “Come little girl…” A couple of years back, I blogged over two weeks about what I called my “Essential Eleven Traditional Murder Ballads” and my “Essential Eleven Non-Traditional Murder Ballads.”  I cataloged a variety of tunes and performances that I found particularly moving, only some of which we’d … → read more

In the Pines: A Guide

On this blog, we often play detective. In fact, that’s pretty much all we do, and this post is no different, but I’m going to start by turning the tables. What, if anything, do you make of these fragments?: A woman being questioned. Pine trees. A long train. A decapitated … → read more

JOHN COHEN: The High & Lonesome Sound: The Legacy of Roscoe Holcomb

        JOHN COHEN The High & Lonesome Sound: The Legacy of Roscoe Holcomb Steidl       One day in 1959 in Daisy, KY, John Cohen got lucky. Cohen – musician, documentary photographer, fledgling filmmaker, and charter member of the newly founded New Lost City Ramblers – … → read more