Once in a while I just get in the mood for some real, authentic, good old country music. You know the kind I mean — lots of strummin’ and pickin’ and fiddlin’, usually accompanied by a twangy-voiced singer. The kind of music that guys like Roscoe Holcomb were known for.
Holcomb (whose family name was actually Halcomb) lived most of his life in rural Kentucky, and although he was always musically inclined he spent a lot of years as a coal miner and farmer. In fact, he was into middle age and unable to work because of job-related disabilities before he began to get much notice as a musical performer. It occurred in the 1950s, when folk music was on the rise.
Holcomb’s style of music, which featured traditional songs played the old way and vocals that almost set your teeth on edge, became known as ‘high, lonesome sound’. It proved to be a solid hit with a lot of fans and Holcomb was able to record several successful albums over the next two decades, although he never really rose to mainstream stardom. By the late 1970s his health had deteriorated and he’d pretty much retired from music. He died in 1981 at age 68.