Folksinger Arlo Guthrie, son of the legendary Woody Guthrie, coined the term “Folkslinger”. Being a folkslinger is being part-folksinger, part-gunslinger… you always keep your trusty guitar by your side, ready to whip out a folksong at a moment’s notice. A Folkslinger is both an artist and a connoisseur of folk music – and to a folkslinger, it’s ALL folk music!
Folkslinger Song Profiles are created to help you quickly learn a new tune. Fabulous Folksongs Every Girl Should Know songbooks contain 40 song profiles each which are designed to guide you through the chords of a song while you memorize the lyrics and try out strumming patterns.
This efficient method is aimed at make it easier for you to concentrate on learning to play the guitar while singing — and show you how to play some pretty famous songs to boot. With that in mind, our song profiles include all the ingredients you’ll need to cook up some great music:
- Lyrics and song origins have been researched for accuracy
Folkslingers attempts to use a song’s original lyrics. However, the older a song is the more likely it is that its verses have morphed as it moved from community to community and from singer to singer. Folkslingers’ author Susie Coleman has tried to determine which version still makes good musical sense to today’s singer and/or which set of verses tell the story in the cleanest manner. The oldest songs can contain twenty or thirty verses or more, or use archaic language. In cases like these, we attempt to draw out the best story while still keeping to a reasonable number of traditional verses. However, more obscure lyrics may be available elsewhere online for some of the really old songs.
- Chord shape diagrams are included for all chords that will be used in that song
When you wish to learn a new tune, you can be faced with using a chord or two that you’re not very familiar with. To that end, each song profile contains an easy-to-see panel of Chord Shape Diagrams including all the chords you’ll need to know to get through that song. A simple but useful reference.
- Chord names are written above the lyrics through the whole song
Some lyric sheets just give you chord changes for the first verse and chorus. Folkslinger song profiles provide the chord changes for an entire song. No more looking back and forth, trying to keep your place. Chord names appear in the precise spot that the chord should change throughout the entire set of lyrics.
- Lyrics and chords are printed in large high-contrast typefaces
Easy to read from a music stand, table top or on the floor at your feet, we’ve tried to make sure our song profiles are clear and concise. Our digital editions are meant to be printed out on your end; three-hole punch your favorites and keep them in a binder. Or just use your mobile device’s .pdf reader.
- Each song is written in a suggested key for the female moderate range voice
Generally, a capo can be used to raise or lower the key a step or two.
- If there’s room, we’ve included a simple accompanist number chart.
- If there’s room, we’ve included a little song history.
Buy any digital edition and print out the songs you like, three-hole punch them and keep them in a binder.
- $25 coil bound book | $15 digital edition
- Buy two, save 10% | Buy three or more, save 20%
All book sales made in Tennessee are subject to 9.25% sales tax. Shipping and handling will be added for coil bound books: $3.50 for one book, $4.25 for two books, $5.00 for three books. Delivery USPS Media Mail 3-10 days. For international purchasing, please contact us directly.
Not everyone harbors a dream to hit the big time. Most of us just want to be able to sing to our family, maybe join in at church, or hold our own at a jam around a campfire. However, when we play infrequently, we lose mental access to lyrics we may have once memorized or we become distracted inside our head trying to remember this or that chord change. It can mean teeth-grinding embarrassment and ultimately anti-motivation.
Don’t be afraid to bring along your Folkslingers songbook and lay it at your feet. You’ll have the words, chord diagrams and chords changes – to songs other players will likely be familiar with – right there in large type to help you recall the details. People will forgive you for not being Taylor Swift…
The songs in our collection are not all native to American soil, of course; some surely arrived before the Mayflower with many more to follow from England, Ireland, Scotland and France. Some songs go way back, as far as the 16th century. Tunes written by early settlers and pioneers make a showing in our books as do songs from the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. Their lyrics reflect on long journeys, separated lovers and final good-byes. Folkslingers’ collections includes material from West Virginia, Kentucky, the Appalachian Mountains and the Deep South which would turn up later in Blues, Country Music, Western Swing, Gospel Music, Bluegrass and Americana performances. Folk Music — with a focus more on singing and a storyline than instrumentation — surged in popularity during the 1950’s and 60’s, then nearly disappeared altogether until the internet gave it new life some 40 years later.
All songs in our collection have been extensively researched and are believed to reside in the Public Domain.
Folkslingers arrangements of popular songs in keys meant for a woman’s mid-range voice. Of course, it’s impossible to gauge where every female can sing but we’ll show you how to use the capo — changing keys can often be as simple as sliding a capo up or down the neck one or two frets. When you have the right key, singing is easier and more robust.
If you’re new to memorizing songs, here’s a process that will give you good results.
- Buy a book from Folkslingers (of course!). Newbies should invest in the Family Favorites book. It’s full of easy songs to practice with that you’ll remember from your childhood.
- Browse the songs on our Song List page until you find one you think you recognize or that you’d like to learn.
- Look up the song in your book. Study the lyrics first. READ THEM ALL THE WAY THROUGH to understand their meaning. What do you make of the story? What kind of person would sing this song? Is the story a sad tale or perhaps one with a moral? These considerations might change the way you deliver a line or thought. Try to envision a music video that would accompany this story.
- Play that imaginary music video in your head as you sing along. This imagery will help you remember the order of what happens in the story you’re telling; the lyrics will come to you more easily if you memorize the order of events you are singing about.
- Watch the song profile videos on our website over and over and over, singing along using the lyrics in your Fabulous Folksongs Every Girl Should Know songbook (they won’t always match but you can use whichever version you wish). Tap your foot or heel on the downbeat as you sing the words. You want to specifically capture the MELODY. Don’t attempt to accompany yourself on the guitar until you can sing the entire song without messing up your phrasing. Allow your natural phrasing and breathing to dictate your personal arrangement. Don’t be in a hurry; this is your opportunity to develop your own natural style and get a firm handle on the timing. You should be in the process of memorizing your words and figuring out where to take breaths. So sing along, tapping your foot, while visualizing your own imaginary music video! Don’t laugh, it works!! You’ll go for the guitar part next.
- The goal is to play behind your singing, not sing behind your playing. So study the singing part well (and the timing part) before you pick up your instrument.
- After you have memorized the melody, get your guitar. Start by working with your songbook, making the chords in time without fully strumming. Sing and concentrate on the layout and placement of the chords. Watch for repeating patterns. Memorize the chord pattern.
- Once you’ve got the chord progression down, stop listening to the resource videos altogether. By this time, the singing melody should be embedded into your brain; your lyrics and chords are written out for you in your songbook so you don’t have to think about the details as you simply practice over and over and over. Here is where you will weave together the parts you studied into a personal music expression. By the time you’ve practiced the tune over several days, your style and arrangement will surface.