Rich and the Po’ Folk, Letcher County Kentucky’s best old-time string band, dig into a wide range of traditional mountain music old and new in their new recording When the Whistle Blew. The recording draws on the band members’ home territory of eastern Kentucky and southwest Virginia, hot spots for one of America’s great musical traditions.
The oldest song on the recording is “The Golden Vanity,” a Perry County, Kentucky version of a British ballad first printed in 1635. The newest is “Dying to Make a Living,” written in 2006 by the southwest Virginia group Foddershock. In between, the band draws on songs traditional songs learned from Lee Sexton, George Gibson, Bruce Greene, Henry Reed, Sarah Gunning, Virgil Anderson, and the Couch Family, as well as original songs by Jean Ritchie, Si Kahn, and Mike Paxton.