A sketch I did in the mid-1970's for a poster to advertise a gig by a folk duo I had with Paul Kahn. The instruments shown here were all mine, as was the stool and the bottle of Bushmills Irish Whisky on itOLD-TIME MUSIC -- 


What is "Old-time"  music?  People have somewhat different ideas about that -- even different ideas about how it ought to be spelled ("Old-time" vs. "Old-timey").

There is probably a pretty general agreement that "old-time" music is played on the traditional acoustic string band "arsenal" of guitar, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, harmonica, string (or washtub) bass, etc.  

There is also probably a pretty general agreement that there is no such thing as "contemporary" "old-time" song-writing.  People add to the"old-time" repertoire  by discovery, not creation. 

However, "old-time" music is not necessarily restricted to music that has come down through generation upon generation from an indefinable origin. Plenty of music that would now be considered authentic "old-time" music is known to have been written by particular folks at a particular time.  The latter part of the 19th Century saw a great development of popular song as the sheet music publication business grew.  It is also not necessarily restricted to music that was propagated solely through the oral tradition, musician-to-musician;  plenty of music that would now be considered authentic "old-time" music was spread primarily through published sheet music or phonograph records or the radio.   The distribution of songs by way of sheet music was significant from at least the mid-19th Century on, and the phonograph and radio had an immediate impact on the propagation of popular music from the very beginning of those technologies.

LINKS  -  A non-comprehensive and highly arbitrary  listing of links to internet resources: 

The Old-time Music Home Page

"Old-timey music" - information about Original Old-time music groups and records

"Revival Old-timey music" - information about Revival Old-time music groups and records

Mike Seeger on "What is Old-time music?"

A note on semantics - "Old-timey" v. "Old-time"

The Max Hunter Collection at Southwest Missouri State University -- An excellent on-line resource for lyrics and sound recordings of folk songs of the Ozarks area

and speaking of old-timey music . . .

Some of my photos of Concrete Park  have been used as the cover art on the new CD by  Clothesline Revival,  Long Gone. It's a unique fusion of old-time and new (or post-new?) musical forms:   Clothesline Revival builds on field recordings of traditional American music of all varieties, and adds additional musical and vocal tracks, beats, and electronica. 

Please visit  my "Long Gone" page  to read (and hear!) more about Clothesline Revival and their new CD.

You can also find more about Clothesline Revival and  Long Gone at the Paleo Music website. 



"Green Fields Of Illinois" was a record of traditional folk music performed by artists from southern Illinois,  released by the Campus Folksong Club of the University of Illinois in 1963.  It was accompanied by a booklet with extensive documentation about the artists and their songs.  At this website I have reproduced much of the content of that booklet as well as some of the images and cover art.


   the old same place :


whatevergreen fields

the booklet    |    some links



the old same place

2004 David B. Nance