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Episode 25: The Portrait (8.28.2015)

Posted on Aug 27, 2015 by in Uncategorized |


More than eighty years ago, a North Carolina family of nine posed for a Christmas portrait. Two weeks later, all but one of them had been shot dead.

lawson portrait

The Lawson Family, December 1929


Thanks to Elephant Micah for collaborating with us this month. Download their version of “Lawson Family” on iTunes or Bandcamp, and see them perform it live (along with their arrangement of “Pearl Bryan“) when they go on tour this September.

And thank you to Sarah Bryan for working with us on our August “murder ballad” shows. She is a folklorist, old-time fiddler, and 78 rpm record collector. Specializing in the cultural heritage of the American South, she has conducted documentary work for a variety of organizations including NC Folk, the North Carolina Arts Council, South Carolina Arts Commission, and Levine Museum of the New South. She’s the editor of the music magazine The Old Time Herald.

Learn more about Trudy Smith’s books White Christmas, Bloody Christmas and The Meaning of Our Tears here.

Criminal is putting on live shows this fall in Durham, Seattle, LA, and San Francisco. Tickets on sale now. We also have new shirts & mugs! Thanks for listening and supporting the show.

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Episode 26: Angie (9.11.2015)
Episode 24: Pearl Bryan (8.7.2015)