Roscoe Holcomb / Sept 5, 1912 - Feb 1, 1981

Kentucky singer and banjo/guitar player Roscoe Holcomb recorded some deeply felt, almost disturbing, "moaning" folk music. Bluegrass, old-timey, blues and spiritual songs and a variety of traditional Appalachian folk songs passed down through the generations. Some of his vocalizing comes straight from the church, and some of the songs seem to be improvised.

He lived a grueling life of pain, a farmer and coal miner, a tough motherfucker who broke his back several times, they say. He could also handle the fiddle and harmonica. He was recorded in 1958 and subsequently toured to some success during the folk revival, but pain and health problems shut him down. He made his last appearance in '78 but his music has been preserved by Folkways. They call his style "the high lonesome sound" and he was a favorite of Bob Dylan.

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