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Hard Times Come Again No More

Cary Allen Fields (Fields of Bluegrass, Redbud Radio) from right here in Indy called this Stephen Foster song “arguably one of the best songs ever written.” I’d have to agree. It certainly is one of the stickiest.

I first heard the song from John Paul Walters well over 30 years ago, and it stayed with me, always tucked away in the back of my mind somewhere. It would pop to the forefront at some of the least expected times and with some of the softest nudges. It’s only been recently that I added the song to my performance repertoire, and I’ve been planning to put it on an upcoming CD.

The song was published in 1854, but it still resonates today. A hauntingly beautiful melody echoes lyrics that call us to consider the plight of those who struggle through life.

While we seek mirth and beauty and music bright and gay,
There are frail forms fainting at the door;
Though their voices are silent, their pleading looks still say,
Oh, hard times come again no more.

Last Saturday night, we performed Hard Times Come Again No More as part of the debut show of The Champions, and I was hooked. It was one of those magical moments. I’ve included a video of that performance here, and I hope you enjoy it.