The American Murder Ballad

I love American roots music. A lot of music can fall into this category – blues, bluegrass, folk, soul, jazz, and country can all qualify – but today I want to write specifically about murder ballads. Murder ballads are uniquely American. There are, of course, songs about murder in every culture, but Americans truly made […]

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An Obscure Killing, Circa 1903

The year was 1902; the place Columbia, South Carolina. Annie Laurie was fed up with a pesky suitor named Charley Hall. She didn’t care if it was Christmas Eve. She told him she didn’t want to see him anymore. Charley didn’t take it so well. He flew into a rage, storming, swearing, and threatening to kill Annie Laurie. And yet, […]

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