Butterfly in the sky… I can go twice as high…
Let’s all read more together, how about it?! For a month now, our #longreadoftheday series has been looking back into the BGS archives for some of our favorite reporting, videos, interviews, and more — featured every day throughout each work week. You can follow along on social media [on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram] and right here, where we’ll wrap up each week’s stories in one place.
Our long reads this week are wise, comforting, thoughtful, illuminating, and more than a touch heartbreaking, as we say goodbye to one of the most poetic and cosmically poignant songwriters to ever live: John Prine.
Now nearly a decade into redefining what it means to be an all-woman band in bluegrass, Della Mae has learned a major lesson over the years: That you don’t need to care what everyone thinks about you all of the time. In fact, you don’t need to care what anyone thinks about you at all. Album after album the women behind Della Mae reinforce this message, musically, lyrically, and then some. [Read our interview]
It’s not meant to be combative, The Dead South know they push the boundaries of what traditionalists would consider bluegrass, but that’s not the point. They’re not claiming to be the best, they’re not trying to “steal” anything, they’re just trying to have fun and be part of the community. They sat down and described their music making process and mission with us last year. [Read the full conversation]
This week, it felt like we all woke up one day in a duller universe, without one of the greatest singer/songwriters to ever walk this earth: John Prine. He was our Artist of the Month in May 2018. His new album at that time, The Tree of Forgiveness — it would be his last release — wasn’t a “victory lap” for the legend. It was one of his greatest works.
So this week, we re-shared that feature in memory of and honoring a man who changed the lives and the music of each and every one of us, whether we knew it or not. [Read]
Are you familiar with the Georgia Sea Island Singers? Bessie Jones was one of the more famous singers among them. Song collector and folklorist Alan Lomax documented their slave songs, sharecropping narratives, children’s play songs, gospel tunes, and old folk dances during his time on Georgia’s St. Simons Island — first in the ’30s and again in the ’60s. It’s another example of this country’s vast and diverse musical traditions, many of which go forgotten or undervalued. [Read more about the music of the region]
To wrap up the week, we chose a long read of the day that’s more of a long listen of the day. A truly unparalleled song in western folk traditions, “Wayfaring Stranger” has been covered and recorded by so many artists. In this post from the BGS archives we collected quite a few notable versions, by many of our favorites and some of the biggest stars on the planet. Who sings your go-to rendition? Let us know in the comments. [Check out the full list]