top of page
  • Writer's picturemillspringsstudio

Roscoe Holcomb

Roscoe Holcomb (born Roscoe Halcomb; September 5, 1912 – February 1, 1981) was an American singer, banjo player, and guitarist from Daisy, Kentucky. A prominent figure in Appalachian folk music, Holcomb was the inspiration for the term "high, lonesome sound", coined by folklorist and friend John Cohen.

Holcomb's repertoire included old-time music, hymns, traditional music and blues ballads. In addition to playing the banjo and guitar, he was a competent harmonica and fiddle player, and sang many of his most memorable songs a cappella. Holcomb stated: "Up till then the blues were only inside me; Blind Lemon was the first to 'let out' the blues."

A coal miner, construction laborer and farmer for much of his life, Holcomb was not recorded until 1958, after which his career as a professional musician was bolstered by the folk revival in the 1960s. Holcomb gave his last live performance in 1978. Due to what he described as injuries he sustained during his long career as a laborer, Holcomb was eventually unable to work for more than short periods, and his later income came primarily from his music. Suffering from asthma and emphysema as a result of working in coal mines, he died in a nursing home in 1981, at the age of 68.

Daisy is an unincorporated town in Perry County, Kentucky. The population was 1758 as of the 2000 United States Census, with a population density of 32 per square mile. The area is known historically for its coal mining.

Roscoe Holcomb track to check out: Moonshiner, Black Eye Susie and Knife Guitar


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page