Songs of the Session

In an effort to recreate and honor a tradition that was begun back in 1957, when Frank Hamilton would teach the same song to different levels of players, we proudly present The Songs of The Session.

Each session two songs are chosen, one from the songbook and one from the general repertoire. All classes are encouraged to learn these tunes and apply the skills they are working on at their individual levels.

As we are in the middle of the second decade of the century, our songs of this session exhibit the diversity that is so much a part of the Old Town School experience. These songs are rich in tradition and there is simply no reason why they can't be approached by any of the instruments we teach here at The Old Town School.

August - October 2016

It's back to school and election countdown. We celebrate the historical first presidential candidacy of a woman by singing out these powerful tunes.

"Good News"

This Southern Gospel song has been in our Songbook since the beginning of the Old Town School back in 1957. It has taken many forms over the years including an adaptation during the Civil War when it was sung along with "Follow The Drinking Gourd" as an anthem for the underground railroad. In the tradition of many field hollers the tune can have a call and response approach. It was a staple of the Fisk Jubilee Singers formed in 1871 with college students who were former slaves. The rendition in our Songbook is somewhat truncated from the original but easy (two chords) and fun to play.

Do yourself a favor and seek out Mahalia Jackson's killer version.

Chart for "Good News"


A multi-platinum international hit for Katy Perry from 2013. It's an anthem of self-empowerment that we suggest all students learn how to play. Five basic chords will do it. Pick your key, get out your capo, and let it rip! Even stripped down from the massive production of the recording the song, it holds its own. Make it your own add it to your repertoire and share it with others inviting them to sing along &emdash; that's folk music!

Chart for "Roar"

The Old Town School of Folk Music, Inc.
4544 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago IL 60625  •  773.728.6000