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FEATURED PERFORMERS: Click on the names below for film clips and bonus material.

Mother Fleeta Mitchell

97-year old blind gospel singer Fleeta Mitchell still sings old spirituals and gospel songs and plays piano vigorously; and she recounts vivid memories of her late husband, whom she met at the Georgia School for the Blind. In home and at church Mother Mitchell is joined by other singers including her close friend, Rev. Willie Mae Eberhart of Athens.

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Rev. Willie Mae Eberhart

Rev. Willie Mae Eberhart of Athens, is a powerful singer and eloquent speaker on faith, and on the overcoming of oppression.

Precious Bryant

South Georgia country blues singer and guitarist, Precious Bryant, shares old and original songs that speak to a hard life and enduring spirit.

Maybel Cawthorn

The film also includes archival footage of Maybel Cawthorn, a banjo picker who served hard time in her 80s for selling marijuana.

Mary Lomax

Mary Lomax, an octogenarian of Habersham County, is arguably the finest traditional unaccompanied American ballad singer to emerge in the 21st century, having learned her songs and ballads, some 300 years old, from her father as a child.

Bonnie Loggins

Bonnie Loggins, is not only a singer but a maker of songs and poems, and a fine and idiosyncratic self-taught painter.

Myers Family and Friends

The Myers Family and Friends, a Blue Ridge Mountain group that has continued a tradition of family and neighborhood music-making.

Ed Teague

Ed Teague currently plays with The Myers Family and Friends and shares his perspective on the role of women in preserving traditional music.

Eller Family

The film includes archival footage and photographs from a visit to the Blue Ridge Mountain farm of the musical Eller family.

Doc & Lucy Barnes

The film includes archival recordings and photographs of Doc and Lucy Barnes.

Sing My Troubles By

Visits with Georgia Women Carrying Their Musical Traditions into the 21st Century

A film by Neil Rosenbaum


Free Screening

Friday, January 24, 2014 at 7:30pm
Woodruff Arts Center, Rich Theatre
1280 Peachtree Street, NE
Atlanta, GA 30309

Event Information

This feature-length documentary honors older Georgia women who treasure and continue to perform the gospel, blues, mountain music, and ballad traditions they grew up with.

Folklorist and artist Art Rosenbaum visits the women (and some men!) in the homes and churches where their music lives on. These visits reveal not only the music, but also the memories and life experiences of these grass-roots singers and musicians.

The four main segments of the film feature Blue Ridge Mountain ballad singers, sisters Mary Lomax and Bonnie Loggins; early African American spirituals and gospel performed by Rev. Willie Mae Eberhart and nonagenarian blind piano player and singer, Mother Fleeta Mitchell; a mountain string band and harmony singing group, the Myers family and their friends; and the acoustic guitar and singing of south Georgia country blueswoman Precious Bryant.

Most of the performers in the film can be heard on Dust-to-Digital’s box set “Art of Field Recording, Vol. I, Fifty Years of Traditional American Music Documented by Art Rosenbaum,” which won the 2007 Grammy for Best Historical Recording, and its companion compilation, “Art of Field Recording, Vol. II.”

On seeing the film–in which he appears–traditional north Georgia banjo picker Ed Teague said, “Some people like to ‘jelly it up’, this [film] is more natural, this is what it ought to be…it’s telling the story…If there was something that was wrong, I’d tell you right straight out.”

This final version was shown at Ciné in Athens, Georgia in December 2010, and many of the singers and musicians featured were in attendance. Earlier cuts of “Sing My Troubles By” have been shown at venues including the Albright-Knox Gallery in Buffalo, New York and the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, as well as Emory University. After the latter showing, Professor Daniel Barber commented: “The film casts a subtle and complex light upon people and ways of living too often generalized about and fuels a strange kind of love of life and art.”

“The mere idea of drifting into a tiny dot on a map and capturing raw talent and passionate wisdom on tape is an enchanting romance.” -M. Wehunt, Flagpole Magazine
Art Rosenbaum discusses his documentary, “Sing My Troubles By,” in this segment of his weekly radio program, “Backroads and Banjos” on AM 1690 (Atlanta).
“Rosenbaum’s field collection habit is an avocation, existing somewhere between hobby and profession.”
-Heather Vogell, Access Atlanta

© 2011 Sing My Troubles By