Lots of murder ballads lurk in the mountains of Appalachia, but the centuries-old “Greenwood Sidey” must rank near the top for creepiness.
Long story short: A woman kills her two newborns in a wood, only to have them return to haunt and condemn her to hell. This dark-as-night ditty was recorded in the Child Ballads collection, a 19th-century book of folk tunes from England and Scotland.
Anna Roberts-Gevalt and Elizabeth LaPrelle, a pair of performers from the mountains of Vermont and Virginia, respectively, learned the song from Addie Graham, a ballad singer from eastern Kentucky. Their version is fragmented and sparse on details, leaving out many of the verses sung in European versions. Now, the duo have returned with an animated video for the tune that’ll make your blood run cold.