Celebrate the Heart of Country, Americana, and Roots Music!

Drop Us A Line, Y'all

Y'all interested in advertising, partnering up, contributing stories, joining our team, or just got a question? Well, don't be shy, drop us a line!

Follow Us

Flashback to “Man of Constant Sorrow” by the Fictional Band Soggy Bottom Boys

Man Of Constant Sorrow by The Soggy Bottom Boys

“Man of Constant Sorrow” is, without a doubt, the most unexpected hit of the 21st century. Thanks to The Soggy Bottom Boys, who gave this gift to country fans and country radio. But did you know that The Soggy Bottom Boys are a fictional band?

The band was so fictional that the faces on the screen didn’t even make the music. It was actually American bluegrass vocalist Dan Tyminski who sang actor George Clooney’s vocals. Tyminski and his Nashville bluegrass pals delivered the instrumental picking too. 

The band was created for a movie, “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” in which they perform the iconic song, “Man of Constant Sorrow” twice, including the film’s dramatic, comedic finale that you really have to re-watch if it’s been a few years.

The Soggy Bottom Boys’ version of the song peaked at No. 35 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart and was able to sell over a million copies in the United States by November 2016. 

Not only that, “Man of Constant Sorrow” received a CMA Award for “Single of the Year” in 2001, and a year later, it earned a Grammy for “Best Country Collaboration with Vocals” in 2002. It was also named Song of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association in 2001. 

The Song Has Been Around For Over a Century

Country artist Joe Nichols recalls the 2001 hit as a song “released in the middle of a very non-bluegrass part of country music, era of country music, and it cut right through like a knife.” He said, “It sounded old, but it sounded new, and I think it just grabbed everybody.”

But what most people don’t know is that “Man of Constant Sorrow,” also known as “I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow,” has been around for over a century. The traditional American folk song was first published by Dick Burnett, a partially blind fiddler from Kentucky. The song was originally titled “Farewell Song” in Burnett’s songbook dated to around 1913. Emry Arthur recorded the early version in 1928, which gave the song its current titles.

However, there exists some uncertainty as to whether Dick Burnett is the original writer. In an interview he had toward the end of his life, he said he couldn’t remember whether he had written the tune. “No, I think I got that ballad from somebody. I dunno. It may be my song,” Burnett said.

But the original lyrics of the song, in the second verse, mentions that the singer has been blind for six years: “Oh, six long years I’ve been blind, friends” – this held true with the year Burnett was blinded, which is in 1907. According to the Country Music Annual, Burnett “probably tailored a pre-existing song to fit his blindness” and may have adapted a hymn. Charles Wolfe suggested that “Burnett probably based his melody on an old Baptist hymn called “Wandering Boy.”

The song was later popularized by The Stanley Brothers, who recorded the song in the 1950s, and several other singers recorded versions in the 1960s, the most notable one was by Bob Dylan. Variations of the song have also been recorded under the titles of “Maid of Constant Sorrow” by Judy Collins, “Girl of Constant Sorrow” by Joan Baez, and “Sorrow” by Peter, Paul and Mary.

Decades Later, The Public Interest In The Song Was Renewed

The song became popular for at least the third time after the film O Brother, Where Art Thou? In 2000, where it played a central role in the plot. The original plan was for the song to be sung by the film’s lead actor, George Clooney; however, it was found out that his recording was not up to the required standard. Clooney only had two or three weeks to work with, which was not enough time to prepare him to record a credible hit country record.

So it was later decided for the song to be recorded by Dan Tyminski along with Pat Enright and Harley Allen, based on The Stanley Brothers’ version. Tyminski also wrote, changed, and played the guitar part of the arrangement.

Tune in below for The Soggy Bottom Boys’ iconic performance of “Man of Constant Sorrow.” 


Latest Stories

The Country Fest 2024

The Country Fest 2024: What You Need to Know

Festival Title:The Country Fest 2024Festival Duration:June 12-15, 2024Venue:Clay’s Resort Jellystone Park in North Lawrence, OhioPerformers Include:Chris Janson, Lainey Wilson, Cody Johnson, Thomas Rhett, and moreTicket Information:Get Your Tickets Here On ...

Laurel Cove Music Festival 2024

Laurel Cove Music Festival 2024

Festival Title:Laurel Cove Music Festival 2024Festival Duration:June 7-8, 2024Venue:Laurel Cove Amphitheater, Pine Mountain State Resort Park in Bell County, Pineville, KentuckyPerformers Include:The Red Clay Strays, Wyatt Flores, and moreTicket Information:SOLD ...

Bonnaroo Music Festival 2024

Bonnaroo Music Festival 2024

Festival Title:Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival 2024Festival Duration:June 13-16, 2024Venue:The Bonnaroo Farm in Manchester, TennesseePerformers Include:Post Malone, Pretty Lights, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Fisher, Fred Again, and moreTicket Information:Get Your ...

Reba McEntire Reveals She'll 'Definitely' Sing the Theme Song for New Sitcom Happy's Place

Reba McEntire Confirms She’ll Be Singing The Theme Song For New Sitcom Happy’s Place

Country star Reba McEntire is set to come back on network comedy after her iconic Primetime Emmy-nominated and People’s Choice winner TV sitcom Reba. And it’s an all-new comedy series ...

Kelly Clarkson Delivers Beautiful Rendition of Lainey Wilsons Two Story House

Kellyoke Strikes Again! Kelly Clarkson Covers Lainey Wilson’s “Two Story House” And It Was Captivating

The Kelly Clarkson Show always opens with “Kellyoke,” where she does a musical performance of fan-requested song covers. And she has since done hundreds. On May 8, 2024, she covered ...

Kick'n Up Kountry 2024

Kick’n Up Kountry 2024

Festival Title:Kick’n Up Kountry 2024Festival Duration:June 12-15, 2024Venue:Wagon Wheel Ridge in Karlstad, MinnesotaPerformers Include:Lady A, Parmalee, Warrant, and moreTicket Information:Get Your Tickets Here Get ready to Kick’n Up Kountry (KUK) ...

Post Malone Graduates From Country Covers To Country Single With The Help Of Morgan Wallen

Two genre-crossing artists and Republic labelmates—Grammy-nominated singer-rapper Post Malone and chart-dominating country singer Morgan Wallen—dropped their collaborative single “I Had Some Help” last May 10. This is Malone’s third joint ...

CMA Fest 2024

CMA Fest 2024: What You Need to Know

Festival Title:CMA Fest 2024Festival Duration:June 6-9, 2024Venue:Nashville, TennesseePerformers Include:Kelsea Ballerini, Brothers Osborne, Luke Bryan, Jordan Davis, HARDY, Jelly Roll, Cody Johnson, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Ashley McBryde, Parker McCollum, Jon Pardi, Carly ...

LeAnn Rimes + How Do I Live

How “How Do I Live” Skyrocketed the Career of 15-Year-Old LeAnn Rimes

“How Do I Live” was written by Diane Warren in 1997 and was first performed by LeAnn Rimes for her album “You Light Up My Life: Inspirational Songs.” Another version ...

Waylon Jennings + Luckenbach, Texas

Waylon Jennings’ “Luckenbach, Texas” Highlights Honest Living

“Luckenbach, Texas” is a song co-written by Chips Moman and Bobby Emmons, both prominent producers and songwriters in the country music scene. To get Waylon Jennings interested in a song, ...

Leave a Comment

For security, use of Google's reCAPTCHA service is required which is subject to the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.