Feel The Power Of Living History With Two Gospel Quartets Watch The McCrary Sisters and The Fairfield Four, two groups united by blood, as they combine to perform "Rock My Soul" in Texas.

Field Recordings

Feel The Power Of Living History With Two Gospel Quartets

So much history is contained in the intertwined harmonies of The Fairfield Four and The McCrary Sisters. Together, these groups form a link to one of America's greatest singing traditions — that of the gospel quartet, which flourished at the center of sacred music in the early to mid-20th century and inspired early rock 'n' rollers from doo-wop groups to Elvis Presley.

The original Fairfield Four was founded nearly 95 years ago in Nashville, and has remained relevant into the present day; many current listeners know the group from its appearance in the Coen Brothers' 2000 film O, Brother, Where Art Thou? The McCrary Sisters are the daughters of the now-deceased longtime Fairfield Four lead voice, Samuel McCrary; together, they've made a major impact as that rare thing in a mostly masculine preserve, a female gospel quartet. To hear these voices perform "Rock My Soul" together is to feel the power of living history and the timelessness of family connection.

Set List

  • "Rock My Soul"

Credits

Producers: Mito Habe-Evans, Ann Powers; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Director: Morgan Walker; Videographers: Morgan Walker, Carlos Waters, Katie Hayes Luke; Executive Producer: Anya Grundman

[+] read more[-] less

More From Folk

Erin Rae and the Meanwhiles perform at Tiny Desk on June 11. Photo by Olivia Falcigno/NPR Olivia Falcigno/NPR/Olivia Falcigno/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Olivia Falcigno/NPR/Olivia Falcigno/NPR

Erin Rae

Every time she performs live, Erin Rae transforms her quiet storms into different hues of squalling introspection.

Miya Folick plays a Tiny Desk Concert on Feb. 21, 2019. Jenna Sterner/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Jenna Sterner/NPR

Miya Folick

Miya Folick was raised a Buddhist in Santa Ana, Calif., and is of Ukrainian and Japanese descent. She sings of conviction, not fiction.

Gemma Doherty (left) and Morgan MacIntyre performing as Saint Sister during their Tiny Desk Concert at NPR in Washington, D.C. Michael Zamora/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Michael Zamora/NPR

Saint Sister

The group from Ireland makes music that mixes the organic with the electronic, starting with a large, 34-string lever harp.

Tomberlin performs at a Tiny Desk Concert on April 23, 2019 (Emily Bogle/NPR) Emily Bogle/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Emily Bogle/NPR

Tomberlin

Tomberlin is the daughter of a Baptist pastor, grew up singing in the church and, since her teens, has questioned her own beliefs in God and faith. Her songs are delicate and vulnerable.

Quinn Christopherson performs a Tiny Desk Contest on May 28, 2019 (Claire Harbage/NPR). Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Quinn Christopherson

Quinn and his musical partner, guitarist and singer Nick Carpenter, arrived from the cool of Anchorage to the swelter of D.C. and performed with remarkable confidence and grace.

The Devil Makes Three plays on Mountain Stage. Brian Blauser /Mountain Stage hide caption

toggle caption Brian Blauser /Mountain Stage

The Devil Makes Three On Mountain Stage

NPR Music

The Devil Makes Three creates music that is fun to dance to, but take a closer listen for the artistry behind the group's poetic and engaging storytelling.

The Devil Makes Three On Mountain Stage

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/728586093/728680765" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Matt Nathanson Brian Blauser/Mountain Stage hide caption

toggle caption Brian Blauser/Mountain Stage

Matt Nathanson On Mountain Stage

West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Hear Matt Nathanson's three-song acoustic set. Each tune is fortified with tasty, hummable riffs that stick with you.

Matt Nathanson On Mountain Stage

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/722057187/722077638" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

The Lone Bellow Brian Blauser /Mountain Stage hide caption

toggle caption Brian Blauser /Mountain Stage

The Lone Bellow On Mountain Stage

This set is book-ended by songs spanning the entirety of The Lone Bellow's career. Hear music from the group's self-titled debut and two songs from the band's 2018 acoustic EP, The Restless.

The Lone Bellow On Mountain Stage

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/719148786/719161583" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Brian Blauser/Composite by Alexis Palmer/Mountain Stage

The Grateful Dead Tribute On Mountain Stage

In celebration of the Grateful Dead, hear these performances from Catherine Russell, Joan Osborne and Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams, live on Mountain Stage.

The Grateful Dead Tribute On Mountain Stage

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/717096109/717146401" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Back To Top