Hazel Dickens : It’s Hard to Tell the Singer from the Song

Hazel Jane Dickens (June 1, 1925 – April 22, 2011) was an American bluegrass singer, songwriter, double bassist and guitarist. Her music was characterized not only by her high, lonesome singing style, but also by her provocative pro-union, feminist songs. In the early 1950s she moved to Baltimore. She met Mike Seeger, younger half-brother of Pete Seeger and founding member of the New Lost […]

Frank Proffitt : Will the real Tom Dooley stand up?

Frank Noah Proffitt (June 1, 1913 – November 24, 1965) was an Appalachian old time banjoist who helped popularize the song “Tom Dooley” and was a key figure in inspiring musicians of the 1960s and 1970s to play the banjo. He was born in Laurel Bloomery, Tennessee and was raised in the Reese area of Watauga County, North Carolina where he worked in a variety […]

The high lonesome sound of Roscoe Holcomb

Roscoe Holcomb, was an American singer, banjo player, and guitarist from Daisy, Kentucky. A prominent figure in Appalachian folk music, Holcomb was the inspiration for the term “high, lonesome sound,” coined by folklorist and friend John Cohen. The “high lonesome sound” term is now used to describe bluegrass singing, although Holcomb was not, strictly speaking, a bluegrass performer. Bob Dylan once commented that Holcomb “… has […]

The Bristol Sessions : 90 Years after the Big Bang of Country Music

According to Country Music Hall Of Fame Inductee, Johnny Cash, the collective 1927 Bristol Sessions was, without a doubt, “the single most important event in the history of Country Music”. “The Victor Co. will have a recording machine in Bristol for 10 days beginning Monday to record records — inquire at our store.” That was […]