Railroad workers swinging the nine pound hammer

“Nine Pound Hammer” Lyrics and Chords

You’ll find no shortage of prison songs and railroad songs in the bluegrass canon, and sometimes you’ll find songs that cover both. “Nine Pound Hammer” is all about swinging a big hammer, and its lyrics come from the laborers and chain gangs that worked on railroads in the post-Civil War era. Fiddlin’ Charlie Bowman from … Read more

A weeping willow tree by a lake like the one in the lyrics to Bury Me Beneath the Willow

“Bury Me Beneath the Willow” Lyrics and Chords

This song about being abandoned by a lover goes way back. It was first documented in a 1909 compilation of songs by the Missouri Folklore Society, but had clearly been well established as a local favorite for years before that. The composer is unknown. In early versions the narrator is a woman, but the genders … Read more

Archive photo of James Pendleton Vandiver

“Uncle Pen” Lyrics and Chords

Bill Monroe is the Father of Bluegrass but even he had his influences, and perhaps none greater than James Pendleton Vandiver—his “Uncle Pen”.

Small town in Virginia

“Rank Stranger” Lyrics and Chords

Artists have been performing and recording “Rank Stranger” for more than 60 years, but the Stanley Brothers’ 1960 recording for Starday Records remains the definitive version.

Train passing under the New River Bridge

“New River Train” Lyrics and Chords

“New River Train” is believed to take its name from a train on the Norfolk and Western system that ran through the Blue Ridge Mountains from West Virginia to North Carolina in the 1880s.

George Clooney sings Man of Constant Sorrow

“Man of Constant Sorrow” Lyrics and Chords

“Man of Constant Sorrow” had been around for about a century before George Clooney stepped up to the microphone as lead singer for the Soggy Bottom Boys in O Brother, Where Art Thou?

The Whites perform in O Brother, Where Art Thou?

“Keep on the Sunny Side” Lyrics and Chords

“Keep On The Sunny Side,” popularized first by the Carter Family and later by O Brother, Where Art Thou?, was inspired by the songwriter’s disabled nephew who wanted to be pushed down the sunny side of the street.