America Over the Water

Listen to a sample

What to expect

‘Shirley is a time traveller, a conduit for essential human aches, one of the greatest artists who ever lived’ Stewart Lee

‘Without doubt one of England’s greatest cultural treasures’ Billy Bragg

In America Over the Water, celebrated English folksinger Shirley Collins offers an affecting account of her year-long stint as assistant to legendary musical historian and folklorist Alan Lomax. Together, they travelled to Virginia, Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas and Georgia, discovering Mississippi Fred McDowell and many others, in their tireless work to uncover the traditional music of America’s heartland.

Blending the personal story of Shirley Collins’ relationship with Lomax and offering a unique first-hand account of a country on the brink of the civil rights era, America Over the Water cuts right to the heart of the blues in a fascinating account of Collins’ and Lomax’s ground-breaking journey across the southern states of the USA to record the music that started it all.

Originally published over fifteen years ago, this definitive edition includes a new introduction by Shirley Collins.

Critics Review

  • Shirley is a time traveller, a conduit for essential human aches, one of the greatest artists who ever lived, and yet utterly humble

    Stewart Lee
  • Without doubt one of England’s greatest cultural treasures

    Billy Bragg

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up to get tailored content recommendations, product updates and info on new releases. Your data is your own: we commit to protect your data and respect your privacy.