Gallery Index

Roscoe Holcomb

The highly acclaimed and much beloved Appalachian folk musician Roscoe Holcomb was a working man of the same generation as Ervin Brindowski and like Ervin he also suffered from respiratory illness. A coal miner and farmer for most of his life, Holcomb first started recording music in 1958 and gave his last live performance in 1978. He died in 1981.

Filmed here at his home in East Kentucky in 1962 at the age of 51 by his friend filmmaker and folklorist John Cohen, this short cinematic biography documents Holcomb's world first in pale muted colors, then inky black and white, with just a few bright spots of pink and red and blue popping out in its final few frames.

16 MM, Color & BW Film, John Cohen

John Cohen is currently finishing a full-length feature documentary of Holcomb. He is also the author of There is No Eye: John Cohen Photographs and The Young Bob Dylan, a music producer and one of the founders of folk group The New City Ramblers.