Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

When I Wake Up to Freedom

This post is for two reasons. The primary one is to simply leave this Ralph Stanley song here. I was turned on to it recently. I think everyone’s day is made better by hearing it. Tellin’ the story…

The second reason is to compare the song form with the Billy Strings video for Freedom that follows it. I hear parallels with how the two songs are constructed. The most notable similarity being how each song slows to a stop after the verse and then takes off again with either a voice or instrumental kick-off. Are both Ralph and Billy plugging into a common bluegrass gospel archetype that appears in countless songs or are they swimming in more rare waters? Listening to either song, the form doesn’t sound unfamiliar, but it is also not one where I can ramble off numerous similar songs.

Anyway, enjoy the tunes. They are both a good ride.


There are a lot of similar songs.

it’s a fairly common style, and one of my personal favorites.

Here’s one off the top of my head that I’d throw in the same “category”


I sure did not expect to hear that sound come out of that young mans gullet with Billy! Was wonderful to hear some of the old sound through a new voice!

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Thanks for the song suggestion @Fiddle_wood. The Bluegrass Album Band is amazing. I can see similarities between the BAB song and the others. It is in the ballpark. But I don’t know if it is sitting in the same bleachers. :slight_smile: I think I would need to hear the stop and start aspect of the other two.

Billy is one to watch @Peg_E. He is an amazing picker. He pushes the boundaries of bluegrass but also has a firm footing in its past. Below is a video of him with Molly Tuttle (also one to watch) paying respect to The Stanley Brothers. I think Dr. Stanley would have approved.

“I saw rock and roll’s future and its name is Bruce Springsteen”. - Jon Landau, 1974

“I saw bluegrass’s future and its names are Billy Strings and Molly Tuttle”. - Me, just now.


I would venture that most bluegrass songs can be sung in that style, and would sound perfectly at home doing so


There are many, many simply chorded call & answer gospel songs…some have stops some don’t.

Billy’s a fine young guy. He grew up near me. He and I played a few shows together with his Dad & Uncle who I was friends with, before he got popular & hit the road. They also had a family=owned campground by a river we used to pick, and hangout at in the Summer. He’s done a wonderful job of climbing in the music business, since he sobered up, through hard work, good guitar picking, crossing genres, great showmanship, and very active pro-marijuana spokesmanship.