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Roscoe Holcomb

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Biography

One of the most noted Appalachian old-time musicians, banjo player and singer Roscoe Holcomb spent most of his life in the small town of Daisy, KY, and was one of the most authentic exponents of American mountain folk music. Indeed, he never had any professional ambitions but become a recording artist and participant in the folk revival circuit after being recorded for the first time in the late '50s. Holcomb's style is stark, epitomizing the keening, at times pained vocals associated with Appalachian music, with a repertoire stuffed with traditional songs that had passed among generations, as well as some songs that he likely learned from early country records. Folk musician and archivist John Cohen coined the term "high lonesome sound" to describe Holcomb's music, and the phrase has since passed into common usage to describe bluegrass and Appalachian music as a whole. He cut several albums for Folkways and made some concert appearances on the college/festival scene throughout the 1960s and 1970s, giving his last show in 1978.

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Born:

1911 in Daisy, KY

Genre
Years Active:

'50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

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Contemporaries