June 16 — Gentle and gentlemanly, with a guitar style that filled a room. Watch Mississippi John Hurt play “Spike Driver Blues,” (aka “John Henry”).

June 9 — In the echo of D-Day you can still hear the music that kept spirits afloat. Watch The Andrews Sisters sing “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.”

June 2 — Remember when you first saw Leon Redbone? Who is that guy? What a style! What a voice! Sadly, Redbone died this week. Watch him sing “Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone.”

May 19 — “You have to be a man to play baseball for a living,” Roy Campanella said. “But you have to have a lot of little boy in you.” John Fogerty caught that spirit in “Centerfield.”

May 12Dar Williams remembers what it was like when your babysitter was just so cool. Watch “The Babysitter’s Here.”

April 28 — Turned away from a Louisiana motel, Sam Cooke wrote this anthem of the Civil Rights movement. Watch father and son, Brian and Thomas Owens, own “A Change is Gonna Come.”

April 21 — Few had ever heard whales croon until Judy Collins made them her backup singers. Watch her sing (with humpbacks) “Farewell to Tarwaithe.”


April 14 John Hartford sings, fiddles, tap dances, all a once. To “The Julia Belle Swain.”

April 7 — Her classic novel Their Eyes Were Watching God” sings in prose. But Zora Neale Hurston could do some singing herself. Listen.

March 31 — Steve Goodman sings his tribute to long-suffering fans, “A Dying Cub Fan’s Last Request.”


March 24 — Train songs come and go but did any come as plaintive as Emmy Lou Harris’ “Tulsa Queen?”

March 17 — Shy and reclusive, Harry Nillson rarely performed in public. Here’s a rare video.

March 10 — Got the blues? No one had them like Bessie Smith. Here she sings “St. Louis Blues.”

March 3 — The best songwriter from Texas, Townes Van Zandt sings “Pancho and Lefty.” 

February 24 — “I’m not sure Rhiannon Giddens is actually human,” a Youtube commenter writes. “I think she must be some sort of alien or celestial being. . .” Hear her sing and fiddle “Pretty Little Girl with the Blue Dress On.”

FEBRUARY 17 — The song is Woody Guthrie’s. The slide is from the Delta. It doesn’t get any grittier, any more American. Watch Ry Cooder gently tear the blues out of “Vigilante Man.”


FEBRUARY 10 — From another dark time — the era of Vietnam and Watergate — watch Paul Simon sing “American Tune.”

MusicBruce WatsonComment