Monday, May 23, 2022

The Early Mays - "The Ballad of Johnny Fall"

Photo by Kristi Jan Hoover

The Early Mays have released a new single that you will swear is a traditional, classic Appalachian murder ballad, but it's an original written by Ellen Gozion. "The Ballad of Johnny Fall" is just Gozion and Emily Pinkerton providing vocals with banjo and cello. It doesn't sound anything like 2022. This is just pure classic folk. Haunting gets thrown around a lot with songs like this, but The Early Mays truly pull off haunting on this one. The Pittsburgh duo have delivered a folk classic with "The Ballad of Johnny Fall."

Ellen Gozion told Folk Radio UK about the band's new song:

A woman falls deeply in love when she is young, with a man whose eyes are the ‘prettiest blue.'" As the years wear on, he is consumed by alcohol; their love frays under his abuse. She resolves to escape her suffering by shooting her husband. But the very night she sits on the porch with her gun, he does not come home. Fate had intervened. He was taken down by a train as he walked along the railroad tracks, You feel the tragedy of abuse, of death, and of a love–once beautiful and bright– that was extinguished by addiction.”

You can listen to "The Ballad of Johnny Fall" below. Prettiest Blue is due out July 1. For more on The Early Mays, check out the artist's website.

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