freight train

elizabeth cotten (with pete seeger as fan) – watch the whole thing:

and more songs and stories here and here. and here.

… Cotten was born in Carrboro, North Carolina to a musical family; her parents were George Nevills and Louise Price Nevills. Elizabeth was the youngest of five children. She began writing music while toying around with her older siblings’ instruments, sometimes having to sneak into her older brother’s room to lay the hidden guitar across her lap and play. After more tinkering with these instruments she began playing the guitar upside down, since she was left-handed. This position required her to play the bass lines with her fingers, and the melody with her thumb. Her signature, alternating bass style is known as “Cotten Picking”. By age 8 she was playing songs, and after scraping together some money she bought her own guitar, which she named “Stella”.

She possessed the remarkable ability to play a song exactly after hearing it only once. By her early teens she was writing her own songs, one of which, “Freight Train”, would go on to be one of her most recognized. …

thanks to catalin for the heads up