Vocal Techniques for Old-Time Mountain Music

Cary Fridley
60-minute video, Includes lyrics on pdf file
With Frank Lee, Banjo
  • Code:DLFRIVC21
  • Skill Level:Novice (1)

Cary Fridley, the popular singer in the old-time string band The Freight Hoppers, has done extensive research into old-time vocal styles, and has studied the singing of Sara and Maybelle Carter, Hazel Dickens, Alice Gerrard, Dellie Norton, Dolly Greer and other singers of Appalachian Mountain ballads. She has put together a lesson that covers basics of vocal production: proper breathing and posture, projection, use of the diaphragm and how to project and hold notes with proper support.

Cary provides exercises for getting a strong, resonant sound, showing how this music should be sung with the chest voice ("your speaking voice, but with proper support") as opposed to the head voice ("your silly voice, or falsetto"). Most importantly, these songs tell a story, and Cary shows how she phrases and interprets beautiful old-time ballads such as I Am Man Of Constant Sorrow, A Roving On A Winter's Night and the a cappella lament My Love Has Brought Me To Despair. She also covers such topics as how to "fix" out of tune notes, and demonstrates duet singing with Frank Lee on the Carter Family classics Anchored In Love and Sailor On The Deep Blue Sea. As a special treat, The Freight Hoppers join in for a spirited rendition of Gid Tanner's Prettiest Little Girl In The County.


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