Key: C major
Parts: SATB (there is some divisi in the Sops but you could ignore it if you want!)
Time Sig: mostly 3/4 but I advocate keeping it loose
Complexity: moderately simple. Great for building confidence in harmony singing
This is one of my favourite songs to sing. We learnt it from Kate and Alison - who are quite stunning in the way they sing Appalachian folk songs with all their hearts and voices. They are called Sonsy and I recommend them, if you get the chance to hear them at a folk festival some time.
Alison taught me how Appalachian harmony is created. The tune is set and the harmony parts simply take the next note up in the chord, or the next note down in the chord. And this relationship to the tune stays constant in each part through the song. If you've listened to harmony singing from that part of the world, you may have noticed this.
When I've been in workshops with Bluegrass harmony singers, I've noticed that because each part's role stays the same throughout the song it become easy to feel and get that sense of where you belong.
So this is not only a joy to sing, but a good way for your choristers to build up feeling themselves singing into chords.
When you sing it, you'll feel how how it wants to be sung without sheet music, and allowed to breathe.
I couldn't find a recording of Sonsy online - but here's Emlyn and I doing a slightly different arrangement - we've put it in 4 and just do our own thing harmony wise - but it will allow you to get a feel for the song.