Self Portrait in an Outlaw Amish Barn
"Lonesome Liz is more than just Outalw Country, she's the female Robert Johnson." - Hank Hart, Southern Fried Magazine



video and song adaptation by Lonesome Liz

live in Richmond, video by Ron Thomas Smith

The Seeger Series

Songs inspired by my interview with Mike Seeger, which turned out to be his last... Read it at Part I and Part II 

Rye Whiskey

Traditional lyrics arranged by Lonesome Liz

John Hardy's Hangin' Ground

John Hardy was hung for killing a man afer he'd bet his last dollar and lost in an illegal gambling game held in a mine near Hinton, WVA. Witnesses said he sang a beautiful, haunting song just before he died.

See more songs about  John Hardy, including versions by Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead here.
Earl Scruggs and Doc Watson play John Hardy.

I'm on my hanging ground.
I'm on my hanging ground.
I've travelled this wide world 'round.
Now I guess I'm going to hang around.

There's a girl glad to see me go.
There's a girl glad to see me go.
There's another says she loves me so she'll follow.
But I don't know where I'll go
from my hanging ground.

Was my last dollar I'd played.
I pulled my gun when he pulled a straight.
I laid him in his lonley grave.
I laid him in his cold, cold grave.

Guns they don't tell no lies.
No, guns they don't tell no lies.
And I can't help but cry
'cause I'm bound to die.
I'm on my hanging ground.

I almost got away.
I hopeed on a west bound train
to where noone knew my name.
Sheriff got me anyway.

Now I'm on my hanging ground.
I'm on my hanging ground.
I've travelled this wide world 'round.
Now I guess I'll just hang around.

Stagger Lee.

Over 200 versions of this song exist. Read more about the characters in history here.
Lonesome Liz, Stagger Lee. Grateful Dead, Stagger Lee.

A lot of people told you about Stagger Lee,
I think it's time you heard it from me.
He was mean and he was hard.
He met the Devil in a Voodoo graveyard.

Devil sold him a banjo. Devil sold him a hat.
He said even  I can't get you if you're wearin' that.
Oh he was bad, he'd do you wrong.
You know he shot his own wife for cookin' eggs too long.

He had him a woman so fine just lookin' made you holler,
best gambler in town, they called her Stack O' Dollars.
They never lost a game in that underground mine
run by that fool boy Billy de Lyons.

'Till they started losin one cold stormy night,
Stag and Billy, Lord they had a fight!
Billy shot a seven. Stack O' Dollars said she'd pass.
Stag said to him, "You done shot your last."

They each had 'em a .44.
Stack O' Dollars was lookin' at the door.
She said, "What would you do if that Devil walked in here?"
De Lyons tried to act like he won't scared.

Then boom! Boom! Boom! Went a .44
then De Lyon's lyin' dyin' on the floor.

The Sheriff was there gamblin'. The Deputy was too.
Billy said to them in the last breath he blew,
"Deputy, Sheriff, why it be
you arrest everybody but old Stagger Lee?"

They took their badges and laid them on a shelf.
They said, "If you want to get him, go get him yourself.
Or go wait for him in hell. He ain't gonna stay in jail.
The Devil's posted Stagger Lee's everlasting bail.

Billy had a pretty widow. Once he was in the ground
it won't too long before old Stag came around.
He took off his black boots, he took off his black tie.
He wouldn't take off that black hat 'cause he won't about to die.

But that De Lyon's woman knocked that hat right off his head.
She snuggled up with a Gatlin gun and shot him dead.

He went down to the Devil and the Devil he smiled.
He said, "Boy, you lost your hat. You're gonna fry a while.
And stuck to you like a shadow, mornin', noon and night
is gonna be De Lyon's cryin', 'Took my life. Won't take my wife.

And, in the same spirit, Cold Rain and Snow, adapted by Jack Montgomery. 

video by Wayne Titsworth and Cathy Pippen

More Songs from the Seeger Series Coming Soon:

Ramblin, Gamblin Willie, (performed by Bob Dylan)
The Dreadful Wind and Rain, (performed by the Grateful Dead)
In the Pines, (Leadbelly & others)
Peggy-O, (performed by the Grateful Dead, Simon & Garfunkel)
O Death, (performed by Bill Monroe and others)
Po' Lazarus, ('O Brother, Where Art Thou' Soundtrack, Chain Gang song)
John Henry, (performed by Johnny Cash and others)
Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burnin, (performed by the Levon Helm Band)
Get Up John, (Bill Monroe)
Everything I Got is Done in Pawn, (performed by Bob Dylan)

live with the Goddamn Gallows, video by Ron Thomas Smith

with Jesco the Dancing Outlaw, video by Ron Thomas Smith

with the Richmond Blues Society, video by Ron Thomas Smith