I first heard Crooked Still a few years ago at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival and was immediately impressed with their original sound and interesting take on old American folk and blues standards. Here they are singing ‘Ain’t No Grave’ in 2009 at the Greenhoe Theatre in Putney, Vermont:
‘Ain’t No Grave’ is an example of a song which has become a ‘traditional’ song, even though we know who the author was (and it wasn’t written that long ago!). It was penned by ‘Brother’ Claude Ely, a Pentecostal Holiness preacher who was born in 1922 and died in 1978. However, so many musicians have recorded versions of the song that it has truly taken on a life of its own; it was recently, and famously, recorded by Johnny Cash on an album of the same title released after Cash’s death. Mudcat Café has a discussion of the song here.
Crooked Still are: Tristan Clarridge (cello), Brittany Haas (fiddle), Aoife O’Donovan (vocals), Greg Liszt (banjo), and Corey DiMario (bass). You can find out more about them at their website here.