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Mon, Mar 22


In-Person at the Catonsville Clubhouse

American Folk Roots

A 6-session exploration on the folk roots of American song with Tim McCusker and Rick Sambuco.

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American Folk Roots
American Folk Roots

Time & Location

Mar 22, 2021, 7:15 PM EDT – Apr 26, 2021, 8:15 PM EDT

In-Person at the Catonsville Clubhouse, 10 St Timothys Ln, Catonsville, MD 21228, USA


About the Event

Musicians Tim McCusker and Rick Sambuco are our guides for this six-session exploration on the folk roots of American song. Discover the diverse origins of performers, geographic regions, and song content throughout the evolution of the genre from the historic to the contemporary. Thanks to the generous support from the Citizens of Baltimore County and the Baltimore County Arts Guild, tuition for this class is significantly reduced. Registrants need only pay once to register for this six class series. 


Sessions include: 

  1. British Isles - ballads, love songs, rounds, maritime vocal styles. Recorded examples of each form presented for discussion, with background both historical and geographical. 
  2. African sources in the South. Songs from Slavery, the Blues, Spirituals, Dance. Earliest public celebrations in Congo Square, New Orleans. Cultural expropriation in minstrelsy. African source of the banjo. Earliest development of Jazz.
  3. The Southern Mountains - Appalachian pioneers bring the Scots-Irish traditions. Murder ballads, moonshiners, Gospel songs, Shape-Note singing. Primary instrumentation of fiddle and banjo. Solo ballad narratives. 
  4. The Expanding American West - Songs move to the Frontier, the Cowboys, Railroads, post Civil War migration in song, the Mississippi River in song and folklore. 
  5. The beginnings of Academic collectors - the importance of Cecil Sharp, Francis James Child, John and Alan Lomax, and others to the discovery and preservation of sources. Library of Congress assistance. 
  6. 20th Century Revivals - Depression Era social themes, folk revival, songs on current events, original song writing on current topics. 

About the Instructors:

Tim McCusker is a Baltimore County resident who has worked as a faculty member at CCBC Essex and in secondary education, after a career in professional theatre and music. He previously organized a play reading circle for BCAG in the Fall of 2020. Rick Sambuco, director of the BCAG Open Mic series, will be co-teaching the course. 

Rick Sambuco, a Baltimore County resident, has been hosting open mics at a number of local venues for the past ten years. He plays guitar and banjo. He has been a student of American and British folk music for many years, collecting instruments and folk music documentation.

Covid-19 Protocols:  Limited class size of 15. Social distancing and masks required. Indoors in a 168 person capacity Hall. No singing or live music allowed at this time. Both instructors have been vaccinated. Windows and doors will be open during temperate weather. 


  • 1 hour 15 minutes

    Session II

    Clubhouse Main Hall

  • 1 hour 15 minutes

    Session III

    Clubhouse Main Hall
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