Folklife 2015 Slow Jam Tunes

The Slower Than Dirt jam at Folklife 2015 is on Saturday, May 23rd, from 1:30 to 2:50 in the Armory Loft music workshop space. I’m pretty sure that’s on the second floor of the Armory (the building formerly known as the Center House), a level above the food court.

We’ll be doing things a little differently than we do at the regular slow jams, in that we’ll be sticking to the key of D for the entire time, and probably playing tunes more slowly and for longer.

In no particular order, these are the tunes we’re thinking of picking from. We’ll almost certainly not get to all of them, so if you’ve got a preference, please let us know in the comments.

  • Spotted Pony
  • Mississippi Sawyer
  • Over the Waterfall
  • Needle Case
  • Angelina Baker
  • Soldier’s Joy (as a waltz)
  • Arkansas Traveler
  • Whiskey Before Breakfast
  • St Anne’s Reel
  • Liberty
  • Johnny Don’t Get Drunk
  • Old Jack Gillie
  • John Lover’s Gone
  • Western Country (aka Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss, Suzananna Gal)
  • Fortune
  • Bonaparte Crossing the Rhine
  • Shout Lulu
  • Boil ’em Cabbage Down

NB: Josh is also hosting an open old-time jam on Friday from 3-5 in the Boeing Green jam tent. The tunes listed here aren’t for that jam; they’re for the slow jam on Saturday. The Friday jam will be beginner-friendly, in that beginners are encouraged to come and play and we’ll discourage anyone who tries to speed things up when a beginner is calling a tune, but it won’t be specifically targeted to beginners otherwise.

There should be links to recordings of all of these tunes here soon, so check back in a day or two to see if that’s happened yet. Ok, recording without screwing up is hard. In lieu of that, here are a bunch of YouTube videos of other people playing the tunes. These aren’t necessarily exactly the same as the versions of the tunes we’ll be playing at the jam; there’s a lot of melodic drift in folk music. They might not even all be in the key of D, come to think of it. But these should be good for at least getting a sense of the tune if you aren’t familiar with it.

Spotted Pony:

Mississippi Sawyer:

Over the Waterfall:

Needle Case:

Angelina Baker:

Soldier’s Joy in 3/4:

Arkansas Traveler:

Whiskey Before Breakfast:

St. Anne’s Reel:


Johnny Don’t Get Drunk:

Old Jack Gillie:

John Lover’s Gone:

Western Country:


Bonaparte Crossing the Rhine:

Shout Lulu:

Boil Them Cabbage Down (Sarah Comer teaches a version of this tune with two distinct parts, which I haven’t heard anywhere else and don’t have a good recording of. It’d be in the wrong key, anyway, since it’s usually in A. So here’s this one, for fun):


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