Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Acoustic Music Sourcebook


Acoustic Music Source Book is out and is available from Mel Bay and Amazon.com
(click on cover to see larger image)

All the songs have melody lines, song notes, lyrics and guitar chords. Here are the songs:

After The Ball
Ain’t Gonna Lay My Armor Down
Ain’t Gonna Study War No More (See: Down by the Riverside)
Ain’t Gonna Rain No More
Ain’t No Bugs On Me
Ain't Nobody's Business/T’Ain’t Nobody’s Buziness/Nobody’s Business
Ain't That Trouble In Mind (See: Don't Get Trouble In Your Mind)
Alabama Bound
Alabama Jubilee
Alberta (See: Corinna, Corinna)
Alexander's Ragtime Band
All My Trials Lord
All Night Long/Richmond Blues
All The Pretty Little Horses
Amazing Grace
Angel Band
Angelina Baker/Angeline, the Baker
As I Went Down to the River/Valley to Pray
At A Georgia Camp Meeting
Atlanta Blues (See: Make Me A Pallet On Your Floor)
Aunt Rhody
Baby Mine; (See: Banjo Pickin’ Girl/Going 'Round This World, Baby Mine)
Baby-O; (See: Whatcha Gonna Do With The Baby-O)
Baby, All Night Long (See: All Night Long/Richmond Blues)
Back Up and Push
Bald-Headed End of the Broom
Band Played On, The
Banjo Pickin' Girl
Banks Of The Ohio
Barbara Allen
Battle Hymn of the Republic (See: Pass Around the Bottle)
Battleship Of Maine, The
Beautiful Dreamer (Stephen Foster)
Been To The East Been To the West
Bell Cow (See: Old Bell Cow)
Bicycle Built For Two (See: Daisy Bell)
Big Ball’s In Town/Big Ball in Boston; (See: Roll on the Ground)
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Bile Dem Cabbage Down
Bill Bailey, Won't You Please Come Home?
Billy Boy
Billy Grimes The Rover
Bird in a Cage
Bird in a Gilded Cage, A
Birmingham Jail (See: Down in the Valley)
Black Dog Blues
Black Jack Davy (See: Gypsy Davy)
Blackest Crow, The (See: My Dearest Dear)
Blue-tail Fly (See: Jim Crack Corn)
Boatman Dance
Bottle Up and Go (See: Step it Up and Go)
Buck-eyed Jim
Buffalo Gals
Bugle Call Rag
Bully of the Town

CC Rider (See: Easy Rider)
Camptown Races
Can The Circle Be Unbroken (See: Will the Circle Be Unbroken)
Cannonball Blues/Solid Gone
Careless Love
Casey Jones
Cat Came Back, The
Cat's Got The Measles
Charley Is A Good Ol' Man
Chicken Reel
Chilly Winds (See: Lonesome Road Blues)
Cider/Cider Mill (See: Paddy Won’t You Drink Some)
Climbing Up The Golden Stairs
Columbus Stockade Blues
Coming Round The Mountain (See: She’ll Be Coming Round The Mountain)
Cotton Mill Blues
Cowboy’s Lament (See: Streets Of Laredo)
Cripple Creek
Crow Black Chicken

Daisy Bell (A Bicycle Built for Two)
Dance All Night With A Bottle In Your Hand
Danny Boy
Dark Hollow
Darling Nellie Gray
Days of Forty-Nine
Derby Ram (See: Didn’t He Ramble)
Devilish Mary
Diamond Joe
Didn’t He Ramble
Down in the Valley/Birmingham Jail
Down on Penny’s Farm
Down to the River/Valley to Pray (See: As I Went Down To The River To Pray)
Down Hearted Blues
Don't Get Trouble In Your Mind
Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down
Down by the Riverside
Down Yonder
Drunken Sailor
Ducks On The Mill Pond RM (Lomax bk)

Easy Rider
Erie Canal

Fall On My Knees
Fifteen Cents (See: Give Me Back My Fifteen Cents)
Fishing Blues
Fly around My Pretty Little Miss (See: Pretty Little Pink)
Footprints in the Snow
Four Nights Drunk (Our Goodman)
Four Cent Cotton
Fox, The
Frankie and Johnny
Froggie Went A-Courtin'

Gambler’s Blues (St. James Infirmary)
George Collins
Georgia Camp Meeting (See: At A Georgia Camp Meeting)
Georgia Railroad
Gettin' Upstairs- (See: Such a Getting Upstairs)
Gideon’s Band
Girl I Left in Sunny Tennessee, The
Give Me Back My Fifteen Cents
Give Me That Old Time Religion (See: Old Time Religion)
Go Tell Aunt Rhody (See: Aunt Rhody)
Going Down the Road Feeling Bad (See: Lonesome Road Blues)
Going Down To Lynchburg Town
Going 'Round This World (See: Banjo Pickin’ Girl)
Going To Raise A Ruckus Tonight (See: Raise A Ruckus Tonight)
Golden Slippers (See: Oh, Dem Golden Slippers)
Goodbye Liza Jane (See: Mountaineer's Love Song)
Grandfather's Clock
Green Pastures
Gypsy Davey

Handsome Molly
Hard Times in the Mill (See: Cotton Mill Blues)
Hesitation Blues
He's Got the Whole World in His Hand
Home on The Range
Hop Along Peter
House Of the Rising Sun
How Long, How Long Blues
How Many Biscuits Can You Eat?

I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow (See: Man of Constant Sorrow)
I Am A Pilgrim
I Don't Love Nobody
I Gave My Love a Cherry (See: Riddle Song, The)
I Got A Bulldog
I Never Will Marry
I Ride an Old Paint
I Truly Understand
I Want A Girl
I’ll Rise When the Rooster Crows
I’ll Roll In My Sweet Baby’s Arms (See: Roll in My Sweet Babies)
I'm Alabama Bound- (See: Alabama Bound)
I’m Just a Poor Wayfaring Stranger (See: Poor Wayfaring Stranger)
I'm Goin' Down the Road Feelin' Bad (See: Lonesome Road Blues)
I’m in the Jailhouse Now (See: In the Jailhouse Now)
I'm Sittin' On Top Of The World (See: Sittin' On Top Of The World)
I’ve Always Been A Rambler
I've Been Working On The Railroad
I’ve Got the Lovesick Blues (See: Lovesick Blues)
Ida Red
In the Good Old Summertime
In the Jailhouse Now
In The Pines
It Ain’t Gonna Rain No More (See: Ain’t Gonna Rain)

Jesse James
Jim Along Josey
Jimmy Sutton (See: Old Jimmy Suttton)
Joe Turner Blues
John Brown’s Dream (See: Little Rabbit)
John Hardy
John Henry
Johnny, Get Your Gun
Johnson’s Old Grey Mule (See: Thompson's Old Grey Mule)
June Apple
Just A Closer Walk With Thee

Katy Dear (See: Silver Dagger)
Kentucky Moonshiner
Keep On The Sunnyside
King Kong Kitchee
Kitty Alone

Last Payday At Coal Creek (See: Payday at Coal Creek)
Letter Edged in Black
L'il Liza Jane
Listen To The Mockingbird
Little Brown Jug
Little Maggie
Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane
Little Rabbit
Little Sadie
Liza Jane (See: Mountaineer's Love Song)
Londonderry Air (See: Danny Boy)
Lonesome Road Blues
Lost John Dean
Lovesick Blues
Lulu Walls

Make Me A Pallet On Your Floor
Mama Don’t ‘Low
Man Of Constant Sorrow
Meet Me in the Moonlight
Michael Row the Boat Ashore
Molly Hare (See: Old Molly Hare)
Moonshiner (See: Kentucky Moonshiner)
Motherless Children
Mountaineer's Love Song
My Dear Companion

New Prisoner’s Song (See: Meet Me in the Moonlight)
Nine Hundred Miles
Nine-Pound Hammer
Nobody's Business (See: Ain't Nobody's Bizness)
Nobody’s Darling on Earth

Oh Dem Golden Slippers
Oh Didn’t He Ramble (See: Didn’t He Ramble)
Oh Susanna
Old Aunt Peggy Won't You Set 'em Up Again (See: Pass Around the Bottle)
Old Bell Cow
Old Chisolm Trail
Old Dan Tucker
Old Grey Mare/Down in Alabam
Old Jimmy Sutton
Old Joe Clark
Old Molly Hare
Old Time Religion
On Top Of Old Smokey
Other Side Of Jordan, The (See: Jordan Is A Hard Road To Travel)
Our Goodman (See: Four Nights Drunk)
Out on Penny’s Farm (See: Down on Penny’s Farm)
Over the Garden Wall

Paddy Won’t You Drink Some Good Ol’ Cider
Papa's Billy Goat (See: Bill Grogan’s Goat)
Paper Of Pins
Pass Around the Bottle
Paul and Silas
Payday At Coal Creek
Peg and Awl
Penny’s Farm (See: Down on Penny’s Farm)
Peter Went Fishing (See: Georgia Railroad)
Polly Wolly Doodle
Poor Wayfaring Stranger
Prettiest Little Girl In The County-O;
Pretty Little Pink
Pretty Saro
Prisoner’s Dream (See: Logan County Jail)
Prisoner’s Song (See: Meet Me In the Moonlight)
Putting On the Style (Jerry Silverman bk)

Ragged But Right
Railroad Bill
Raise A Ruckus Tonight
Red Apple Juice
Red River Valley
Richmond Blues ( See: All Night Long)
Riddle Song, The
Rise When the Rooster Crows (See: I’ll Rise When The Rooster Crows)
Rock Island Line
Roll In My Sweet Baby’s Arms
Roll On The Ground

Saint Louis Blues
Salty Dog Blues
Scarborough Fair
She’ll Be Coming Round The Mountain
She's Only a Bird in a Gilded Cage (See: Bird in a Gilded Cage)
Shine On Harvest Moon
Shorty George
Shout Mourner (See: You Shall Be Free)
Silver Dagger
Sing Song Kitty (See: King Kong Kitchee)
Solid Gone (See: Cannonball Blues)
Spike Driver Blues
Sporting Cowboy (See: Logan County Jail)
St. James Infirmary (See: Gambler’s Blues)
Step It Up and Go
Stillhouse (See: Paddy Won’t You Drink Some)
Street’s of Laredo (Cowboy’s Lament)
Sugar Hill
Swannanoa Tunnel

T’Ain’t Nobody’s Buziness (See: Ain’t No Nobody’s Business)
Take A Drink On Me
Take Me Out To the Ballgame
Take This Hammer (See: Swannanoa Tunnel)
Tear It Down
Tell Old Bill
This Morning, This Evening, So Soon (See: Tell Old Bill)
This Train Is Bound For Glory
There Ain’t No Bugs On Me (See: Ain’t No Bugs on Me)
Thompson's Old Grey Mule
Tom Dooley
Train Forty-Five (See: Nine Hundred Miles)
Train on the Island

Uncle Bud- Version 1 (Mack McCormick)

Viola Lee Blues

Wabash Cannonball
Wade In The Water
Wagoner’s Lad
Water Is Wide, The
What Shall We Do With A Drunken Sailor (See: Drunken Sailor)
What’ll I Do With The Baby-O?
When The Saints
When The Good Lord Sets You Free (See: You Shall Be Free)
White House Blues
Whoa Mule
Who Broke The Lock?
Wild Bill Jones
Wildwood Flower
Will the Circle Be Unbroken
Willie Moore HD

Yellow Rose Of Texas
You Shall Be Free

Monday, October 25, 2010



My new company DigiMusiCam will be launching this week. We are working on the on-line lesson part of the company first. The company is dedicated to promoting the teaching of my friend and mentor Aaron Shearer. I've also started a video series, explaining and organizing most of the information from Aaron that I've used and developed.

Here's more info from the site: DigiMusiCam.com

DigiMusiCam About Us

DigiMusiCam was founded to promote music education by facilitating the teaching of music lessons worldwide over the internet using a laptop, webcam or similar device.Guitarist and educator Richard Matteson organized the company in 2010. Matteson has published over a dozen guitar and piano books with Mel Bay Publications.

His latest book, "Acoustic Music Sourcebook" available from Amazon.com or Mel Bay, reflects Matteson interest in traditonal American music. His last book, "Bluegrass Picker's Tunebook" has the history, melody and lyrics of 213 bluegrass songs. Matteson's goal is to elevate the level of teaching by promoting the concepts of his teacher and mentor, Aaron Shearer, which include ADM (Aim Directed Movement), the Four Principles of Efficient Muscle Function and Performance Development.

Matteson is hosting a video series titled, "Secrets of Learning the Guitar" which use many of Shearer's systems. The trial Digimuiscam videos are being aired on YouTube. Richard's Mel Bay book, "Right-Hand Arpeggio Studies" explores many of Shearer's concepts including alternation and sympathetic movement. This book and 'Bluegrass Piccker's Tunebook" are still availble from Mel Bay. Matteson's other books are still in print because they have been reissued by Mel Bay in digital form through Amazon.com.

I'll be doing a series of posts on DigiMusicam,


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Art Stamper


I just did an interview with Kay Stamper and will be doing an article for Old-Time Herald on Art and his father Hiram. I got a chance to meet Kay and jam with Art's grandson, who is already a good guitar picker.

Fortuately there are some folks around that knew Art well and played with him.

I'll be doing a few blogs on Art and Hiram in the next few weeks.

I'm also going to be giving you updates on my new business venture and will be providing you with some gr8 info about learning to play the guitar and other insruments.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Last Legend's Luncheon- Slim Bryant


On the Left is country guitar legend Slim Bryant who died this summer. I've got an article coming out this fall in the Old-Time Herald featuring an interview with Slim I did last Fall & Spring.

Thomas Hoyt "Slim" Bryant (December 7, 1908 – May 28, 2010) was a country music singer/songwriter and guitarist born in Atlanta, Georgia. He was the last living link to Jimmie Rodgers and also to the Skillet Lickers, a band he played with briefly in the early 1930s with Riley Puckett and Clayton McMichen.

My old-time country band Crossroads is playing Legends Luncheon on Wed. Aug 18 and from 11:00 to 1:00 Jefferson Park, Downtown Louisville [park is at the corner of Jefferson and 6th downtown]. Come on out.

I've got some new musical projects coming up soon. Look for updates,


Monday, July 5, 2010

Legends luncheon


My old-time country band Crossroads played Legends Luncheon on Wed. July 16, and we got a clip on WHAS TV. We will be playing the next show July 21 from 11:00 to 1:00 Jefferson Park, Downtown Louisville [park is at the corner of Jefferson and 6th downtown]. Come on out.

Please check out my new gospel research: http://bluegrassmessengers.com/traditional-and-public-domain-gospel-d-e.aspx

I'm 3/4 way through the D songs. Great songs!


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Gospel Song Research


Here's my new song research project: http://bluegrassmessengers.com/traditional-and-public-domain-gospel--c.aspx

Here's my C song list and I've added about ten more songs today:

Traditional and Public Domain Gospel -C

Cain and Abel- Spiritual (Different Versions)
Call Him by His Name- Spiritual- Lucille Barbee
Call on Me- Gospel song- Pilgrim Travelers 1949
Called to Foreign Fields- Sarah Gunning 1974
Calling Jesus- Christ Memorial Singers 1963
Calling The Prodigal- Charles Gabriel 1889
Calling Thee- Mr. and Mrs. Floyd Lacy 1925
Calvary- Dock Boggs 1968 Calvary- Sacred Harp (Two Versions)
Calvary- Spiritual- John Work; Modern versions
Camp A Little While in the Wilderness- Cas Wallin
Camp Meeting Jubilee- Little Wonder Records 1916
Can I Count On You?- Spiritual 1957
Can The Circle Be Unbroken? Carter Family
Can The World See Jesus in You? Leila Morris 1917
Can You Tell- Starlight Spiritual Singers 1951
Canaan- Hymn "Bound For the Land of Canaan"
Canaan Land- Spiritual- Gospel Songbirds
Canaan's Happy Shore- Revival Hymn 1860
Canaan's Land- Golden "Where The Soul Never Dies"
Canaan's Land- Shaped note "Oh for a Breeze"
Can't Cross Jordan- Brown Collection 1922
Can't Do Without the Lord- Spiritual
Can't Do Wrong and Get By- Jackson Gospel Singers
Can't Feel At Home- Carter Family 1931
Can't Feel at Home- Marie Knight 1956
Can't Hear Nobody Pray- W.P. Detherow 1952
Can't Hide Sinner- Spiritualaires of Columbia, S.C
Can't Nobody Do Me Like Jesus- Spiritual
Can't You Live Humble?- Spiritual- Work 1907
Careless Soul- James H. Stan­ley 1909
Carry Me- Spiritual- Ensley Jubilee Singers
Carry Me Down To The Burying Ground- 1952
Carry Me, Good Lord- Spiritual- Lomax
Carry Me Home- Shape Note- Jackson "Penick"
Carry Me Safely Home- Spiritual- Tartt Collection
Carry Me To The Burying Ground- Spiritual 1859
Carry Your Cross With A Smile- Ogdon 1916
Cast Thy Bread upon the Water- Red Sovine 1978
Certainly Lord- Spiritual
Changed Mah Name- Spiritual- Jennifer Bynum
Charge To Keep I Have- W.P. Detherow 1952
Chased Old Satan Through The Door
Chatter With the Angels- Spiritual- John Work
Cheer the Weary Traveler- Heavenly Gospel Singers
Cheer the Weary Traveler- Spiritual- Bryant
Cherokee Hymn- Brown Collection
Cherry Tree Carol- Traditional Folk Ballad
Child of the King- Buell & Sumner 1877
Children, Did You Hear When Jesus Rose?
Children Do Linger- Spiritual 1867
Children Go Where I Send Thee- Spiritual
Children of the Heavenly King- Wisdom Sisters 1926
Children of the Lord- Traditional Praise Song
Children Wade in the Water- Blue Jay Singers 1932
Children, We All Shall Be Free- Jubilee Singers
Children, You'll Be Called On- Jubilee Singers
Child's Desire- Bela Lam and his Singers 1927
Chillun Ob Duh Wilduhness Moan Fuh Bread
Chilly Water- Spiritual- Jubilee Singers 1883
Choose You A Seat 'N' Set Down- Spiritual
Christ Arose- Robert Lowry 1874
Christ Child's Lullaby- Ranald Rankin 1855
Christ Is Coming On The Cloud- Spiritual- Lomax
Christ Returneth- Turner 1878
Christ Was A Wayworn Traveler- Sarah Ogan Gunning
Christ Was a Weary Traveler- Brown Collection
Christ was Born in Bethlehem- Folk Hymn
Christ Was Born on Christmas Morn- Spiritual
Christian Home In Glory- W.P. Detherow 1959
Christian Band- Millennial Harp 1843
Christian Hold Out Your Light- Max Hunter Coll.
Christian Race- Revival hymn- C. G. Wells 1870
Christian Soldier- Sacred Harp
Christians Hold Out Your Light- R. E. Winsett
Christians, Hold Up your Heads- John Work 1907
Christian's Hope- Folk Hymn- William Walker
Christmas Anthem- James Denson, 1844
Christmas Holiday- Pug Allen
Christmas Is Coming- Traditional- Kingston Trio
Christmas Time Is Near- Stanley Brothers
Christmas Time Will Soon Be Over- Carson
Church Across the Way- W. B. Gray- 1894
Church At The Foot Of The Hill- Dixon Brothers
Church Bells- Spiritual- Kid Prince Moore
Church, I'm Fully Saved Today- Willie Johnson
Church in the Wildwood- Carter Family 1932
Church of God- Spiritual- Fenner 1874
Church of God is Right- Otis and Tom Mote
Circle Be Unbroken- Bluegrass Messengers -Matteson
City Called Heaven- Marian Anderson
City Called Heaven- Jessye Norman
City Four Square- Horton Barker
City of Refuge- Spiritual- Brown Collection
City of Refuge- Spiritual- Nick Cave
City of Refuge- Spiritual- Willie Johnson 1928
City of Refuge- Spiritual- Rev. C.J. Johnson
City On the Hill- Wade Mainer
Clear The Line Before You Call- Spiritual- Tartt
Clear Title to a Mansion- Mainer's Mountaineers
Climbing High Mountains- Spiritual
Climbing Jacob's Ladder- Vocal-Aires of Birmingham
Climbing Up All Day- Capitol City Four
Climbing Up the Hill O' Mt. Zion- Spiritual- Lomax
Climbing Up The Golden Stairs- Versions- 1800s
Climbing Up The Golden Stairs- Happy Four
Climbing Up The Golden Stairs- Hawker
Climbing Up The Mountain
Climbing Up To Glory- Putnam & Sawyer 1883
Climbing Up Zion's Hill- Wellborn Waters
Climbing Up Zion's Hill- Carter Family 1952
Clim'in' Up De Hills- Spiritual- Tartt Collection
Cloud and Fire- Ernest Phipps 1928
Clouds Gwine Roll Away- Jubilee Song
Coffin To Bind Me Down- Spiritual 1899
Cold Icy Hand- Spiritual- 1898
Come- Mrs. James Gibson Johnson
Come All Dear Brethren- Sacred Harp 1928
Come, All of God's Children- Jubilee Singers 1874
Come All You Friends and Neighbors- Brown
Come Along- Spiritual- Barton 1898
Come Along and Shout Along- Jackson 1933
Come Along Moses- Spiritual 1867
Come Along Sinners- M.H. Rosenfeld 1881
Come Along You Prayin' Father- Max Hunter
Come And Dine- Grandpa Jones 1975
Come and Go with Me to My Father's House
Come and Go with Me to That Land- Spiritual
Come and Jine- Also "Come and Join"
Come, Angel Band- W.P. Detherow 1952
Come By Here- Spiritual 1931 "Come By Yuh"
Come By Here- Spiritual- Blind Wonders 1953
Come, Come Ye Saints- William Clayton
Come Down- Spiritual- John Work 1907
Come Down, Angel, And Trouble The Water- Perkins
Come Down, Angels- Jubilee Singers 1874
Come Down, Sinners- Spiritual- Southern Workman
Come En Go Wid Me- Gullah Spiritual
Come Friends Go with Me- Shape Note Folk Hymn
Come Go With Me- Spiritual 1867
Come Here Jesus If You Please- Work 1940
Come Here, Lord!- Spiritual- Work- 1907
Come Home- Spiritual- John Lomax 1911
Come, Humble Sinners
Come In The Room- Hightower and Massey 1967
Come, Let Us All Go Down- Jubilee Singers 1874
Come Let Us Sing- Folk Hymn "Twelve Apostles"
Come, My Heart- Primitive Baptist hymn
Come Now My Dear Brethren I Bid You Farewell
Come On And Bow Down- James "Iron Head" Baker
Come on Board The Ship Of Glory- Clyde Maness
Come On Children, Let's Sing- Jackson 1960
Come On, Come On- Straight Street Holiness Group
Come On in This House- Spiritual- Fairfield Four
Come Out of the Wilderness- The Cathedral Quartet
Come On See About Me- Swanee Quintet
Come Over Here- Spiritual Singers for Christ 1951
Come Over Here- Mello-aires of Rochester, NY
Come Over Here- Starlight Gospel Singers 1954
Come Sinner, Come- Spiritual- Odum
Come, Sinner, Come- Witter and Palmer 1887
Come Tell Me Of Your Ship- Shape Note- Davis
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing- Brown 1924
Come to Jesus Just Now
Come Trembleing Down- Krehbiel 1914
Come Ye Sinners Poor and Needy
Come Ye That Fear the Lord- James Montgomery
Come, Ye that Love the Lord- Watts & Lowry
Come, Ye that Love the Lord- Starlight Singers
Comfort In Heaven- Spiritual- Barton 1898
Comforter Has Come- Bottome & Kirkpatrick 1890
Coming Day, The- Spiritual 1867 Higginson
Companions Draw Nigh- W.P. Detherow 1952
Companions Draw Nigh- Randolph 1921
Condescension- Southern Harmony
Constantly Abiding- Anne S. Murphy 1908
Conversation with Death- "Oh Death"
Couldn't Hear Nobody Pray- Spiritual
Count Your Blessings- Oatman and Excell 1897
Coventry Carol- Traditional Folk Carol
Cross Me Over- Odum & Johnson 1925
Crossed Old Jordan's Stream- Bird's KCC
Cry from the Cross- Stanley Brothers
Cry Holy- Spiritual- Higginson 1867
Cryin' Holy Unto My Lord- Bill Monroe 1940

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Update June


On the left (standing) is Sleepy Marlin. (Click to enlarge)
On the right stand is Merle Travis with the Brown Brothers in between. My article came out in the Old-Time Herald

It's been busy. The Sleepy Marlin concert on May 8 was a success. We made a Sleepy Marlin DVD with him playing the fiddle and I narrated it. Bod Rucker did a great job on it. There was a good crowd and good music.

Special thanks to Whistlin' Rufus, John Harrod, Jase Marlin and most of all Sleepy. Sleepy really enjoyed it even though he wasn't feeling great.

Here my band playing Louisville Two Step in honor of Sleepy

I put up several clips of our segment of the concert plus and interview with Sleepy himself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suf-9rTZd5k

I did a show with some of my students where I played everything from the White Stripes to Cage the Elephant. Here's me and Wil playing "Ain't no Rest for the Wicked."

I did several performances with my paise band, Stand on the Rock and we recorded a CD this weekend- it was a "live" CD- no overdubs.

I'll give

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Sleepy Marlin Honorary Concert May 8


On the left is a pic of me and Sleepy Marlin. We're playing a concert this Saturday in his honor and he'll be there. Come on out and meet Sleepy- one of all-time best fiddlers!


Featuring Whistlin' Rufus; Bluegrass Messengers; John Harrod; Jase Marlin and other special guests. Sleepy Marlin will be attending!

DATE: Sat. May 8, 7:00 PM

LOCATION: Highland United Methodist Church 1140 Cherokee Rd. Louisville, KY 40204

ADMISSION: Donation at the door; **part of the proceeds with go Highland Community Ministries

RECEPTION: Meet Sleepy Marlin, one of the all-time great fiddlers, at the reception following the concert.

SLEEPY MARLIN: Born in 1915, Sleepy Marlin was one of the top contest fiddlers in the United Sates and Canada from the 1930s until the 1970s. His band from the 1930s and 40s, The Drifting Pioneers featured guitarist and Country Music Hall-of-famer Merle Travis. They were featured on John Lair's Renfro Valley radio show. Around 1948 he moved to Louisville and joined the WHAS house band featuring Randy Atcher. He was featured on one of WHAS-TV's most popular shows "the Hayloft Hoedown" in the 1950s and 60s. Marlin regularly won the Kentucky State Fair contest in Louisville and began entering the Canadian National contests in the 1950s winning the top prize in the novelty division 6 years in a row. He performed and worked with some of the top old-time musicians including Clayton McMichen, John Lair, Mills Brothers, Curley Fox, Tex Atchison, Carl Cotner, Lily May Ledford and the Coon Creek Girls, Charlie Linville, Wesley Tuttle, Hank Penny, Cowboy Copas, Merle Travis, Red Foley, Slim Miller, Whitey Ford, Aunt Idy and Little Clifford; Sugh Fisher and Hugh Cross; Pa and Ma McCormick, Ranger Riders (Guy Blakeman and Roland Gaines) and toured for a year with Bradley Kincaid. In 1969 Sleepy even played with Fiddlin' Arthur Smith in what was one of Arthur's last informal performances.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Close-Ups Pretty Little Widder


Here are close-ups of Pretty Little Widder (Click to enlarge)

The first is the pretty little widow herself!

Below is Clayton McMichen who learned the song from his father in 1908.

The last pic is "Black my boots and I'm goin to git 'er!"

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Pretty Little Widder


My painting of Pretty Little Widder is done (Click to enlarge). It's a tribute to Clayton McMichen, the leader of the Skillet Lickers band. My article on Clayton will be coming out soon in The Old-Time Herald. For a few years he owned and operated the Spring St. Bar and Grill in Louisville which is less than a block from my house.

Hopefully we can get the Skillet Lickers in the Country Music Hall-of-Fame this year. We're planning a tribute May 8, to another Louisville fiddler, Sleepy Marlin, who played with Merle Travis in the Drifting Pioneers. Sleepy is another championship fiddler from this area.

More news on the concert soon- plus I'll have more pics of Pretty Little Widder!

Thanks all for now,


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

John Henry- Dying

This is a close-up (click to enlarge). This is a touching powerful final scene. John's wife cradles his head as he lays dying with an onlooker kneeling behind.

CC Spencer an eyewitness described this scene and I painted it. The tunnel with a faint light leads John to the afterlife.

John Henry Full view

Here's the full view, 26 characters, 6 scenes. (Click to enlarge)
Then there's the background with the tunnel- the steam drill on the left and John Henry on the right.
John won the contest but lost his life.

New John Henry Pics- Steam Drill


Here are the final pics of the finished painting- there's steam coming out of the steam drill now!

(Click to enlarge)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Anatomy of a Painting- John Henry: Captain Dabney


On the left is a photo of Captain Dabney, who according John Garst, helped organize the competition between John Henry and the steam drill.

The photo is taken of Dabney in 1857 almost 30 years before the contest with John Henry.

I decided to paint Dabney standing next to the steam drill operator. I used the photo as a basis for my portrait.

(click to enlarge)

John Henry; Anatomy of a Painting


On the left is a photo of the Oak Tunnel in Alabama. The arrow points to the spot where legend has it that John Henry drove a steel into the rock that still remains.

So, after consulting John Garst, John Henry expert and reading about the Alabama location, I used the Oak Moutain tunnel as the background for my painting.

Whether the tunnel was completed when John Henry died is not important but having John Henry die on these train tracks would make a powerful image. C.C. Spencer claimed to witness John Henry's death and it is his description that I used to create the death scene in my painting:

(Click photo to enlarge) This touching scene uses the triangle
of three people- if you draw a line from each head you can see the triangle.

To compliment the scene there are three workers in the background. The workers watching from a distance also add perspective.

Here are some facts about the Alabama location quoted from John Garst:

Chasing John Henry in Alabama and Mississippi: A Personal Memoir of Work in Progress
Tributaries: Journal of the Alabama Folklife Association
Issue No. 5 2002 pp 92-129 Synopsis

In my opinion, the data gathered by Guy Johnson and Louis Chappell, and published in their books of 1929 and 1933, respectively, make it very unlikely that John Henry raced a steam drill at Big Bend Tunnel. These workers made a massive effort, focused on Big Bend, and failed to find anything definitive, despite the fact that they were able to interview about a dozen men who had worked on the construction of that tunnel.

Only one of these men claimed to have seen the race and his testimony was very weak. Others testified that it could not have happened at Big Bend - they would have known about it if it had. Johnson received letters from C. C. Spencer, F. P. Barker, and Glendora Cannon Cummings, all of whom placed John Henry and his race with a steam drill in Alabama during the 1880s.

Cummings stated that John Henry beat the steam drill and died at Oak Mountain in 1887, an event that her uncle witnessed. Barker said that John Henry was at "Cursey Mountain" while he, Barker, was driving steel on Red Mountain (which lies along the southeastern edge of Birmingham, Alabama). Spencer's letter was especially rich in detail, but Johnson was frustrated by the failures of his attempts to verify some of Spencer's facts. Spencer mentioned "Cruzee" Mountain, similar to Barker's "Cursey," which Johnson could never find, in Alabama or anywhere else. Spencer also named the railroad under construction as the Alabama Great Southern, which exists but does not go over or through a mountain with a name similar to "Cruzee" or "Cursey." These failures caused Johnson to abandon Alabama, in favor of Big Bend, in his unsuccessful pursuit of John Henry.

Spencer said that he personally witnessed John Henry's death. He described how John Henry fell into a faint near the end of the all-day contest on September 20, regained consciousness, said that he was blind and dying, and asked that his wife be summoned. His wife came and cradled his head in her lap. He asked, "Have I beat that old steam drill?" Measurements gave John Henry 27 1/2 feet and the steam drill 21. Further, he said that John Henry was an ex-slave from Holly Springs, Mississippi; that he took his former master's surname, Dabner; and that he was working for contractors Shea and Dabner when he died. Cummings gave the contractors' names as Shay and Dabney, and a "Jamaica" informant, C. S. Farquharson, gave them as Shea and Dabner.

In fact, Captain Frederick Yeamans Dabney was Chief Engineer for the Columbus & Western Railway Company during the construction of their line between Goodwater, Alabama, and Birmingham in 1887-88. He was a Rensellear-educated civil engineer who made a career of railroad design and construction. Captain was his Confederate army rank. He was born in Virginia in 1834/35; raised in Raymond, Mississippi, from about age one; and settled his family in nearby Crystal Springs, Mississippi, after the Civil War. Between Raymond and Crystal Springs lay Burleigh Plantation, which was owned by Captain Dabney's uncle, Thomas Smith Gregory Dabney.

In 1860 T. S. G. Dabney owned 154 slaves, while Philip Augustine Lee Dabney, Captain Dabney's father, owned eight. (Note: Since the publication of the article I have learned that one of P. A. L. Dabney's slaves was Henry, born in 1844. If this is John Henry, he would have been 43 years old in 1887. I'm told that this is a reasonable age for a champion steel driver. - JG) About 15 miles east of Birmingham the C & W line (later Central of Georgia and now Norfolk Southern) passes through Coosa and Oak Mountain Tunnels, which are two miles apart, portal to portal.

Obviously, "Coosa" was intended by "Cruzee" and "Cursey" in Spencer's and Barker's letters. "Coosa" is locally pronounced "Koo'see" and is even spelled that way in some old documents. The discoveries that Coosa and Oak Tunnels exist, that they have railroad tunnels through them, that these were built in 1887-88, that a Dabney was the engineer in charge of construction, that he was from Mississippi, and that his family owned slaves near Crystal Springs lend credence to the testimonies of Spencer, Barker, and Cummings.

Evidently Spencer simply got his Mississippi "Springs" towns confused when he mentioned Holly Springs, which, being near Memphis, is not very close to Crystal Springs, south of Jackson. In addition, there is a strong local tradition among Central of Georgia employees and around Leeds, Alabama, that John Henry raced a steam drill and died just outside the east portal of Oak Mountain Tunnel, between Oak and Coosa Mountain Tunnels. This tradition is as old and strong as that for Big Bend.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

John Henry- Full View

On the left is a photo I took of the whole painting (Click to enlarge). The quality of the photo isn't good but you can get an idea.

There are some gr8 scenes and in order to cram all this into one painting and add the lyrics- 9 verses, well- it wasn't easy.

Did I succeed? On some levels- yes. The individual scenes are good, not sure if I should have added the scenes in the rocks although they are more of an afterthought than a focus. I'm wondering if I should have added John Henry as a baby "sittin' on his Pappy's knee" with a piece of steel in his hand.

The overall seting is good- Oak Mountain. The trees and background above the tunnel are came out well. There's some light in the tunnel- making it a bit mysterious.

I tried do do a portrait of Col. Dabney next to the steam drill operator. It was a bit too small to do details, I don't have brushes small enough for this type of miniture.

Let me know what you think- check out the close-ups following,


John Henry- Steam Drill


Here's the steam drill (click to enlarge) racing to beat John Henry. To the right of the steam drill is Captain Dabney, who organized the race- man vs. machine; John Henry vs. steam drill.

Behind them is the mechanic with a wrench who struggles to keep the steam drill going.

In the final painting you can see the steam coming out of the drill (this was taken several days ago).


John Henry Close-Up Left corner

Here is the left-corner with ther lyrics (click to enlarge).
It simply shows John Henry with his hammer and the lyrics.
More to come,

John Henry Close-Up Right side


On the left is a close-up (Click to enlarge) of my painting of John Henry. It shows John Henry with his shaker racing the steam drill (the steam drill is on the other side of the canvas).

Behind him a crowd has gathered. Several people in the background hold steels- the steel rod that John Henry is pounding into the solid rock.

The shaker turns the steel after every blow with the sledgehammer.

A family is gathered on the left side to watch.

More on John Henry to come,

John Henry: Preview


I just finished my painting of John Henry (click to enlarge). Here is a close-up of the center of the painting showing John Henry dying with a hammer in his hand. Behind him is the Oak Mountain tunnel in Alabama.

John Garst, John Henry researcher, helped me with details. John is writting a book about John Henry.

This is a large and complex painting with around 40 characters and 6 scenes- 2 of them hidden in the rock wall.

This is just one scene.
More on John Henry to come,

Monday, February 15, 2010

New Painting/Daily Country Bluegrass Trivia

On the left is my new Bluegrass Series painting (Clixck to enlarge)
Today's country/bluegrass trivia questions are about my painting-a song about a river that recorded by Bill Monroe in 1936 with his brother Charlie- it begins, "I asked my love to take a walk..."

1) What is the title of the song about a river that the Monroes sang in 1936?
2) When was the song first collected?
3) Although the song seems to be a love ballad "in our home we'll happy be.." it's really what type of ballad?
4) When did Monroe and His Bluegrass Boys re-record the song?

Later today I'll post more close-up images,
C U,

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Bluegrass Messengers Vids


My youtube video project is still going strong. Mainly I'm focused on providing new arrangements of traditional songs and my "Learning to Play" series where I show you how to play traditional songs.

I've started using Facebook to network and have around 4,000 friends. I'm doing a daily Country/Bluegrass trivia which I'll start adding here if people want to participate.

This is the latest set of videos on YouTube:

Blackberry Blosssom: Bluegrass Messengers http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZS4RxlcpJQ4

Glory To The Meeting House: Bluegrass Messengers http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lw6OwfSaEM8

Duck Chewed Tobacco: Bluegrass Messengers http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nw6x6udPZtg

Big Sandy River: Bluegrass Messengers http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5qxb2sGPWQ

These are important versions because they are lyric versions of traditonally instrumental tunes. Hopefully other people will pick-up these versions and use them,

That's all for now,


Friday, January 15, 2010

Pretty Polly

On the left is my painting of Pretty Polly (Click to enlarge). It features Pretty Polly, BF Shelton playing the banjo and one of the final scenes.

I've done a video of me playing the song; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASJjrxxCNmc

Recently got ther video of our band playing the old-time banjo version with Cari Norris:
Bluegrass Messengers Pretty Polly http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CV8fnwYm58I

They are completely different versions. Cari Norris learned her version from her grandmother Lily May Ledford of the Coon Creek Girls. My version features the lyrics found in my painting.

I want to thank Austin Wilder (who did the vid with Cari) and also Richard Blasi who has done about 20 videos for me now, for their gr8 work.

I'm planning on doing at least 50 videos and maybe more in the next few months. Mine are usually done in one take. I'm doing mostly learn to play videos now.

Hope you enjoy them,


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Yes I'm late. I've been busy on my latest project- making youtube videos. On the left you can see my painting of Bury Me Beneath the Willow (Click to enlarge).

Now I've done a video demonstrating how to play the song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tshjEAGnMWY

Plus here's a live performance of Bury Me Beneath the Willow: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAUCTLXbm5U

My goal is do a series of videos to share what I know about the guitar and music. So I'm doing educational videos along with performances. Right now I'm mostly focusing on my old-time/bluegrass painting songs. I have 19 paintings and need to finish Banks of the Ohio which I will do this week.

I'll put more of the youtube links on in the next few weeks,