Throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a steady stream of Scots migrated to Ulster and eventually onward across the Atlantic to resettle in the United States. Many of these Scots-Irish immigrants made their way into the mountains of the southern Appalachian region. They brought with them a wealth of traditional ballads and tunes from the British Isles and Ireland, a carrying stream that merged with sounds and songs of English, German, Welsh, African American, French, and Cherokee origin. Their enduring legacy of music flows today from Appalachia back to Ireland and Scotland and around the globe. In Wayfaring Strangers, Fiona Ritchie and Doug Orr guide readers on a musical voyage across oceans, linking people and songs through centuries of adaptation and change.
From ancient ballads at the heart of the tradition to instruments that express this dynamic music, Ritchie and Orr chronicle the details of an epic journey. Enriched by the insights of key contributors to the living tradition on both sides of the Atlantic, this abundantly illustrated volume includes includes a CD featuring 20 songs by musicians profiled in the book, including Dolly Parton, Dougie MacLean, Cara Dillon, John Doyle, Pete Seeger, Sheila Kay Adams, Jean Ritchie, Doc Watson, David Holt, Anais Mitchell, Al Petteway, and Amy White.
‘‘Exploring the historic ties between Scotland, Ireland, and Appalachia through music, Fiona Ritchie and Doug Orr weave together the story of migration through the lyrics of ballads and other music that reflects on this history. Wayfaring Strangers will touch a powerful chord in the lives of readers who appreciate the music of Scotland and Appalachia, as well as those whose families have ties to this rich historical journey.’‘ --William Ferris, author of The Storied South: Voices of Writers and Artists ‘‘The story of the Scots-@Irish 'carrying stream' of music that found its way to Appalachia is also the story of the Cash family. William Cash emigrated from Scotland in the mid-17th Century, and the next generation drifted down to Virginia. The songs that went with them were captured, in part, a couple of centuries later by my stepmother's family, The Carter Family. My own musical DNA is bound with these songs--the narrative ballads, the melancholy rhymes, the ancient stories retold in melody again and again. Except for my family, there is nothing I love more than being a part of the 'living tradition' captured in this book.’‘ --Rosanne Cash
Fiona Ritchie is the founder, producer, and host of National Public Radio's The Thistle & Shamrock®; Doug Orr is president emeritus of Warren Wilson College, where he founded the Swannanoa Gathering music workshops.