The song of the week is the old bluegrass classic 'Long Journey Home' (a.k.a. 'Two Dollar Bill' or 'Lost All My Money').
The chord progression is:
When I lead the song at the beginner jam for the next two jams, we will play it in the key of A. However, it is also a good idea to be prepared for the future to play it in G and in B, since these are the keys that others have chosen to sing it in at the jam in past.
(In the key of A: 1=A; 4=D; 5=E. In the key of G: 1=G; 4=C; 5=D. In the key of B: 1=B; 4=E; 5=F#.)
The melody for 'Long Journey Home' has many points of similarity with the melody for the previous song of the week 'This Little Light Of Mine', which was played in B last night and the week before, but will likely be played in A at some point again in the near future at the jam. So, for those playing non-capoed instruments (fiddle, mandolin): if you come up with a melody-based break for Long Journey Home in A, this should help you to come up with a break for This Little Light Of Mine in A, and, in turn, your key of B break for This Little Light Of Mine should help you come up with a break for Long Journey Home in B - you can recycle at least two-thirds of the measures of your break for This Little Light in playing a break for Long Journey Home, and vice versa.
Keep in mind when working up this song, either to kick it off at the jam, lead the singing on it, or to just play along, that Long Journey Home is often played at a fast tempo (see the Jim and Jesse version below for a typical example of this): while there is no need to play it that fast at the jam in order for it to sound right, of the songs on the lists we use at the jam, it should stand out as one of the faster songs played at the jam. In the two other versions given here, the song is played at tempos that I think would make for good points of reference for playing the song at the jam.
Flatt & Scruggs - key of A (song starts at 2:05)
Bill Monroe & Doc Watson - key of G
Jim and Jesse (key of A)
For reasons of historical interest, I include the following version of 'Long Journey Home' by the Monroe Brothers (Bill Monroe and his older brother Charlie). From 1936, this was one of the first songs that Bill Monroe recorded, and it is played wickedly fast:
One of the things that makes 'Long Journey Home' a jam friendly song is the repetitive nature of the lyrics. So there is not much that needs to be memorized in order to be able to sing harmony on the choruses, and the last line of the chorus is identical to the last line of each verse:
Lost all my money but a two dollar bill,
Two dollar bill, boys, two dollar bill.
Lost all my money but a two dollar bill:
I'm on my long journey home.
The repetitive nature of the lyrics also makes Long Journey Home a good song choice for those who wish to lead a song at the jam, but do not have much experience yet singing at a jam, or who have difficulty memorizing lyrics.