I first heard Dan Tyminski sing this song in concert with Alison Krauss and Union Station, the fabulous bluegrass band for which he is a guitarist and singer. Their version is exceptional, but this video of Tyminsky playing with a different assortment of bluegrass musicians features some excellent Irish flute playing that isn’t found in the version he recorded with Alison Krauss. It’s fascinating to hear the way Celtic music and bluegrass stylings complement each other. This beautiful musical marriage makes good sense, since the roots of bluegrass include Scottish, Irish, English and Welsh music as well as the later influences of African-American musicians and even touches of jazz, all of which did so much create the musical and linguistic richness of the American South.
This song is based on a traditional American tune believed to go back to the mid-19th century. It goes by several different names, including “A Lazy Farmer Boy,” “Harm Link” and “The Young Man Who Wouldn’t Hoe Corn” (which was recorded by Pete Seeger for Smithsonian Folkways)