Ballad of America is a series of recordings, live performances, writings, and resources that tells the story of the United States through a deep wellspring of American music. It offers a unique and fascinating way to explore the story of the United States.
Music, instruments, and songs tell the story of the ordinary and extraordinary people who have populated this country and propelled it into the twenty-first century: colonists, pioneers, sailors, lumberjacks, immigrants, '49ers, farmers, mountaineers, slaves, soldiers, cowboys, railroaders, factory workers, activists, and others. Not only do the lyrics directly reflect the hopes, fears, struggles, sorrows, triumphs, and humanity of the real people who lived history, but to follow the path taken by the music itself is to understand the great cultural stew that is the United States of America.
Since before the country declared independence, songs and musical styles were brought to the New World by British colonists, African slaves, and immigrants from different parts of the world. New songs and styles grew out of encounters between these diverse people as well as the unique American experience itself. As America changed, grew, and pushed its boundaries, so did the music.
Each album in the Ballad of America catalogue has a different theme. They are available on CD, digital download, and streaming on most music websites and stores. There also also songs on this site that are available as streaming videos, audio, and for digital download that are not on the albums.
The Music section of this website offers a variety of ways to find and enjoy songs and to learn more about them and the people behind them.
See Music for more information.
Infotainment or just for fun!
Live performances can truly be enjoyed by audiences of all ages, offering an overview of the story of the United States through music and narrative. Special Programs that highlight specific themes and stories from America's past are also available. All performances can be tailored for any age group and are a fun and engaging way to better understand specific historical and musical topics, or the history of the United States in general.
If you're looking for great, lively American heritage music for an event in an environment where you don't want much talk (festivals, corporate events, weddings, etc.), Matthew Sabatella and the Rambling String Band are happy to provide just that.
See Performance and Booking Information for more.
Our United States History through Music resources are for anyone who wants to get more out of the music: students, teachers, homeschoolers, history buffs and the historically challenged.
Caroline Kennedy writes in A Patriot’s Handbook:
…children have an immense capacity for faith and for patriotism. If their introduction to the story of our country is captivating, they can develop a lifelong interest in history and a willingness to engage in civic life.
Ballad of America is just such an introduction.
Furthermore, a two-year study by Dr. Marilyn Ward at the University of Florida released findings showing American children are no longer learning the songs of their own heritage. Research in the field has shown that children need and use these songs to help them understand the world and complex interrelationships that defy logic and a child's capacity to make sense of things. The songs help kids better learn history and important events, empathize with the plight of others, step into another's shoes, and experience the perspectives, hardships, and joys of their grandparents and ancestors. These folk songs help children form connections and bonds with their communities and our American society at large.