Elizabeth Cotten Page on Smithsonian Folkways

I was messing around today on the Smithsonian Folkways website.  They have a really nice page on Elizabeth Cotten, including photos, sound clips, and video.

From the Folkways website:

Elizabeth “Libba” Cotten (1895-1987), best known for her timeless song “Freight Train,” built her musical legacy on a firm foundation of late 19th- and early 20th-century African-American instrumental traditions. Through her songwriting, her quietly commanding personality, and her unique left-handed guitar and banjo styles, she inspired and influenced generations of younger artists.


Elizabeth Cotten


2 Comments to “Elizabeth Cotten Page on Smithsonian Folkways”

  1. Whoa this makes me want to try playing my guitar up-side down to see if I can make anything happen. I’m a lefty but do a lot of things right-handed including playing guitar. Sometimes when I’m holding a guitar pick (which I’m trying to start using instead of fingerpicking), I feel very awkward like I am trying to hold a pencil with the wrong hand. Also… nice site, thanks!

    • Thank you for the compliment. Tell your friends about the site!

      I know what you mean about being inspired to play upside down. Watching Cotten play is a little mind-blowing. I think it really shows how versatile guitars are — no matter how you hold it, there’s a way to play.

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