Favorite Sessions

Anais Mitchell And Jefferson Hamer: Tackling 'Tam Lin'FolkAlley

Anaïs Mitchell has a knack for mythology that flies over the heads of most modern songwriters. From her adaptation of the Orpheus myth on Hadestown — an arresting "folk opera" wherein Orpheus and Eurydice struggle through a post-apocalyptic economic depression — to the nuanced interweaving of Biblical and Greek mythology in last year's Young Man in America, she's proven adept at mingling the ancient and the contemporary.

Now she and singer-songwriter Jefferson Hamer (whose solo work leaps back and forth between the traditions of Appalachia and ancient Ireland) have recorded a seven-song disc, Child Ballads, which includes some of the most studied and recorded ballads in folk music history. "Tam Lin" is based on an old Scottish myth about a man captured by fairies, whose only hope at returning to life among humans is to have his lover hold him through a series of transformations (wolf, bear, lion, man). It's a fitting song to represent the entire collection, as Mitchell and Hamer have done just that — they've held these old songs tightly, faithfully, transforming them in such a way that you might think they fashioned the stories themselves.

Credits

(Recorded at the 2013 Folk Alliance International Conference in Toronto in February.)

[+] read more[-] less

More From Folk

Lonnie Holley performs at the 2014 Pickathon festival. David Blanchard/opbmusic hide caption

itoggle caption David Blanchard/opbmusic

Favorite Sessions

Lonnie Holley, 'Kilimanjaro Eyes'

Watch the singer perform "Kilimanjaro Eyes" on the Woods Stage at the 2014 Pickathon festival.

Joe Pug (left) and Matt Schuessler. Brian Blauser/Mountain Stage hide caption

itoggle caption Brian Blauser/Mountain Stage

Mountain Stage

Joe Pug On Mountain Stage

After a brief break from performing, the singer-songwriter returns with a new album, Windfall.

Listen Loading… 24:46
  • Playlist
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/413397113/413403419" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">

A still from Myriam Gendron's "Solace." Courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of the artist

All Songs TV

First Watch: Myriam Gendron, 'Solace'

Gendron sets Dorothy Parker poetry to little more than an acoustic guitar and a wry, wistful voice.

Tiny Desk Concert with Anna & Elizabeth. Emily Jan/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Emily Jan/NPR

Tiny Desk

Anna & Elizabeth

If you've never thought your tastes would lean to mountain music, breathe deep and soak it all in.

Back To Top