Song of the Day, April 30: Shady Grove by Blood Oranges

BloodOrangesToday’s song is Shady Grove. It’s an old American folk tune that dates back to the mid-18th Century. It shares key melodic elements with the British folk song Matty Groves and may have evolved from it. The song describes the singer’s complicated relationship with a woman named Shady Grove; like many folk songs, there are many versions, some of which feature dozens of verses. Anna McGarrigle also uses the familiarity of the song to help anchor the chorus of her lovely composition Goin’ Back to Harlan.

Bluegrass legend Bill Monroe adapted a version that has become the standard for most recordings since the 1950s. The Massachusetts Alt-Bluegrass quartet Blood Oranges included a fantastic rendering on their debut album, Corn River. They give it a wonderful energy, making it my favorite version of the song.

Enjoy this great folk song today.

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About Robert Hulshof-Schmidt
Freelance writer, researcher, online comic vendor, and project manager. Fan of a wide range of music -- especially folk and 80s pop -- vintage comics, British TV, and LGBT fiction.

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