Free Songs

A week or so ago Cindy Rollins mentioned that she used a two-CD set of folk songs as part of her homeschool curriculum. Chris and I have often talked about recording a series of budget CDs, focusing on songs that are out of copyright (we know a LOT of such songs). I asked Cindy if such a thing would be interesting to her, but even before I heard back I realized that the better way to do it would be to just put the songs up on our website for free downloading—we have plenty of bandwidth already paid for, and it doesn’t take much effort for us to record songs we know (or to learn new ones).

It’ll be one of many low priority projects, with progress made as time and mood allow. But I wanted to get a start at it, so I went back and culled all the public domain songs we recorded for our podcast early last year. There were about eighty all told, and I’ve put them on this page. As we record more songs I’ll have to get it better organized, and eventually I want to post lyrics for every song. But it’s a start.


11 thoughts on “Free Songs

  1. Oh, what a blast! My daughter and I thank you.

    Also, check out the website for St. Paul Sunday:

    The link should take you to a performance of Anonymous 4 with Darol Anger and Scott Nygaard. They play lots of folk songs and hymns with really interesting accompaniment, including “Father Adieu,” which I recognized from our Reeltime Travelers CD. Thought you might like it.

  2. Rick, if you have enough bandwidth I can post this on the Ambleside email list. You may get deluged by hits though.
    I am blogging about it!

  3. Thanks so much for doing this, guys! What a treat, and such a valuable educational resource. Though most of the songs are new to me, I do recognize a few. I’ll Fly Away! Love singing that! Lyrics would be an excellent addition. What would be a decent source for guitar chords?

  4. Groovy. (Is it anachronistic to say “groovy” in response to out-of-copyright folk songs?)

  5. Hey, Rick…any chance you could toss those all in a zip file so they could be downloaded in one swell foop?

  6. All,

    Thanks for the kind words. We’re glad to do it.


    Thanks for the link. Darol Anger is a force of nature, and has done a lot of work to open up new vistas in bluegrass fiddle music.


    I think we have way more bandwidth available than even the most enthusiastic homeschool moms could overwhelm; that’s what they give you with a basic hosting account these days.

    Please let the Ambleside folks know that the collection of songs is not currently very representative of what we want to provide, namely a healthy selection of canonical folk songs, since they were taken from already recorded performances. We plan to make up a long list of folk songs, then start recording them in batches as we have the time.


    The plan is to have a lyric sheet with chords for each song. I have the lyrics for most of them already written out in our song notebook, but I will have to go back and add the chords.

    FYI, I will be using the number system for the chords so that the songs will be easy to transpose, e.g. for “Blue Ridge Cabin Home” I would cycle through the numbers I, IV, and V, which would be interpreted as G – C – D if you are playing in the key of G, D – G – A in the key of D, and so on.


    I’ll give it a try, and post a note somewhere when I have it done.

  7. The link to the songs in public domain at the start of this thread no longer works. Could you reinstate it please?

    Also does anyone know of a publicly available list of publicly available songs, ie those out of copyright (in terms of the music & lyrics).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s