Ed Sweeney – “Bury Me Not On The Lone Prairie”
Americana Highways is hosting this video premiere of Ed Sweeney’s version of the traditional song “Bury Me Not On The Lone Prairie” from his forthcoming album Sunday Drive, due to be released this fall. This video will be available on August 1st.
“Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie” is an American cowboy song circa the 1800s. The song’s first recorded iteration was in 1926 by Carl T. Sprague.
On this song, Ed Sweeney is playing on a fretless banjo rebuilt with pieces of other banjos from 1890 – 1910. Cathy-Clasper-Torch is playing an Chinese traditional instrument called “Erhu.” Daryl Black Eagle Jamieson (Eastern Medicine Singers) is playing an Algonquin Indian drum and rattle. These instruments represent human beings who were buried in unmarked graves while the railroads and settlements were built across America and as cattle were driven over the plains pushing back the indigenous people who lived there.
The video was directed, filmed and edited by Christian de Rezendes of Breaking Branches Pictures. Christian is an Emmy and Telly Award winning director from Slatersville, Rhode Island. Additional camera work was by Joe Morel and John Dolber; Hannah D’Amore was the production assistant; and audio recording and mixing was courtesy of David Correia of Celebration Sound.
This song is intrinsically and instantly old time from the first note, you can hear that its essence is truly much older than anyone nowadays can compose. But Ed Sweeney (with Cathy Clasper-Torch and Daryl Jamieson) do the entire thing perfect justice with the instrument choice, playing style and vocal delivery. It sounds like just a man on his banjo and a lonesome distant plucking sound with a rattle and drum, like it would sound if you were alone on the prairie playing around the fire at night all alone with some accompaniment in your mind. Listen and see.
“Bury Me Not On The Lone Prairie” is a song of loneliness felt as you are dying. Our video tries to capture the size and starkness of the American Prairie. We tried to capture what was the reality for many, your body and the memory of you is left behind at death. We used a traditional American instrument (Fretless Banjo), a traditional Chinese instrument (Erhu) and an American Indian Drum & rattle to try and honor the history and cultures of the unmarked graves of the prairie. — Ed Sweeney