Shady Grove (song)

"Shady Grove" is a traditional Appalachian folk song,[1] common in the repertoire of bluegrass and old-time musicians of the Cumberlands.[2] Sung by both traditional folk musicians and folk revival musicians, it is sometimes identified as a courting song.[3] The song describes "the true love of a young man's life and his hope they will wed."[4]

Many variants of "Shady Grove" exist (up to 300 stanzas by the early 21st century).[4] It has been recorded by numerous artists, including Jean Ritchie, the Kingston Trio, Jerry Garcia and David Grisman, Mudcrutch, Bill Monroe, Crooked Still, Taj Mahal, Doc Watson and Clarence Ashley, Blood Oranges, Quicksilver Messenger Service, The Chieftains, Jayke Orvis, and Camper Van Beethoven.[4][5][6][7][8][9][10]

The tune of "Shady Grove" was re-used by the group Fairport Convention in 1969 to accompany the traditional British ballad "Matty Groves", on their seminal 1969 folk-rock album Liege and Lief; apart from this usage, the two songs are unrelated.


One score is as follows:[11][5]


  1. Folk Songs of the Southern Appalachians as Sung by Jean Ritchie (University Press of Kentucky, 2d ed. 1997), p. 34.
  2. Jean Ritchie, Jean Ritchie's Swapping Song Book (University Press of Kentucky (1999), pp. 34-37 & Charles Wolfe forward.
  3. Ray Allen, Gone to the Country: The New Lost City Ramblers and the Folk Music Revival (University of Illinois Press, 2010), p. 34.
  4. Fiona Ritchie & Doug Orr (2014). Wayfaring Strangers: The Musical Voyage from Scotland and Ulster to Appalachia. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. pp. xv, 183, 358. ISBN 978-1-4696-1822-7.
  5. George Vincent. "Shady Grove Chords". Folk & Bluegrass Chord Book. Retrieved 8 October 2017.
  6. "Shady Grove". Die Augenweide: The Byrds Lyrics Page. Retrieved 7 October 2017.
  7. "Shady Grove: Quicksilver Messenger Service". Genius. Retrieved 7 October 2017.
  8. Original Folkways Recordings of Doc Watson and Clarence Ashley, 1960-1962, Smithsonian Folkways.
  9. Michael Erlewine (1997). All Music Guide to Country: The Experts' Guide to the Best Recordings in Country Music. Hal Leonard.
  10. Lindsay Planer. "Quicksilver Messenger Service: Shady Grove". Allmusic. Retrieved 8 October 2017.
  11. "Shady Grove". Mudcat Café. Retrieved 8 October 2017.
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