The song of the week is 'Lonesome Road Blues' (a.k.a. 'I'm Goin' Down The Road Feelin' Bad) in the key of G.
Here is one of the first sung bluegrass versions of Lonesome Road Blues I remember hearing. It is a live recording of the Stanley Brothers, and it is played at quite a fast tempo:
The Stanley Brothers - key of G
The Stanley Brothers - Lonesome Road Blues (live) (aka Going Down The Road Feeling Bad) - 1957 - YouTube
Here is what is probably the most well-known instrumental bluegrass version of Lonesome Road Blues, played as a banjo-feature tune on the Flatt and Scruggs' album 'Foggy Mountain Banjo', and at a slower tempo than the Stanley Brothers' live version:
Flatt and Scruggs - key of G
Here is a sung version by Bill Monroe, the father of bluegrass music
Bill Monroe - key of C
Jason Homey & The Snake River Boys - key of G
Lonesome Road Blues -Jason Homey and the Snake River Boys - YouTube
Here are three youtube jam videos I have made for Lonesome Road Blues. In the one listed first, I am on guitar.
Jason’s YouTube Links – Alphabetical Listing – Parisology (cyberplasm.com)
The chord progression used in the versions of Lonesome Road Blues on the recordings given here is the same one that I use when leading the song:
(Prog. W4 on the Basic Chord Progressions handout)
...though, I have heard it played at some jams with the last line played as 1511 (Prog. V4 on the Basic Chord Progressions handout), and/or with the third line played as 4416m.
Notice the Bb note in measure 2 of lines 2, 3, and 4 on the melody sheets in the files section at the bottom of this write-up. Relative to the key of G, the Bb note is the b3 (flatted third scale degree). Together with the b7 (for the key of G, an F note), making good use of this note will often add a 'bluesy' characteristic to your playing.
Lonesome Road Blues is one of those small handful of songs that at a typical bluegrass jam it would not be out of the ordinary for it to be played either with or without singing.
Lonesome Road Blues is also one of those songs that may be sung either with or without a chorus. Other songs that have been played at the jam that are also like this include: Down The Road, Amazing Grace, This Little Light Of Mine, When The Saints Go Marching In, and Little Birdie. When sung without a chorus, the set of lyrics that make up the chorus in the versions of Lonesome Road Blues that use a chorus will usually be sung as one of the verses in the song - usually as the first or as the last verse, or as both.
For most of the songs that may be sung either with or without a chorus, I tend to choose to sing them without a chorus when I lead them at a jam, and this is how I sing Lonesome Road Blues. This arrangement allows more time for a greater number of breaks to be played without making the song unusually long.
17 songs were played at last night's jam: 12 from the main list, 3 from the additional songs list, and 2 that are on neither list:
Before I Met You - C
Blue Ridge Cabin Home - A
Cluck Old Hen - A
Forked Deer - D
In The Pines - C
Liberty - D
Lonesome Road Blues - G
Long Journey Home - A
Mountain Dew - A
New River Train - F
Old Joe Clark - A
Will You Be Loving Another Man - A
Cryin' Holy - G
I'll Fly Away - D
Soldier's Joy - D
In The Sweet By And By - G
Tear My Stillhouse Down - C
Lonesome Road Blues - melody in G
Lonesome Road Blues - banjo tab
Lonesome Road Blues - guitar tab
Lonesome Road Blues - mandolin tab