That High Lonesome Sound (1967)

Genres - Music, Culture & Society  |   Sub-Genres - Music History, Americana, Social History, Biography, Instrumental Music, Vocal Music  |   Run Time - 70 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Andrea LeVasseur

Musician, folklorist, and filmmaker John Cohen recorded black-and-white footage in the rural Appalachians during the early '60s to make the historic music documentary That High Lonesome Sound. The first section, "That High Lonesome Sound," focuses on banjo player, guitarist, and singer Roscoe Holcomb. He plays his old-timey music right on his own back porch in Kentucky. Holcomb's music is what inspired Cohen to coin the phrase "that high lonesome sound," which has evolved as a term to describe the general Appalachian musical styles. This section also includes footage of local coal miners, riverside baptisms, and bluegrass legend Bill Monroe performing in Hazard, KY. The second section, "The End of an Old Song," introduces ballad singer Dillard Chandler at his cabin home in the mountains of Ashville, NC. He attempts singing some old ballads at a local saloon. The third section, "Sara and Maybelle," captures a reunion between two original members of the Carter Family: Sara Carter (the one-time wife of A.P. Carter) and her sister-in-law Mother Maybelle Carter. Includes performance footage of "Sweet Fern," "Solid Gone," and "Cannonball," along with a tour of A.P.'s store in Hilton, VA.




bluegrass-music, country-music, banjo, mountains, music, rurality, tradition


High Historical Importance