Grammy-nominated folk album includes song inspired by summer camp

A song written by the grandson of 80-year-old folk artist Alice Gerrard that appears on her Grammy-nominated album Follow the Music was inspired by summer camp.

The song, the last on the record, is called “Goodbyes” and according to a recent interview with Gerrard was about her grandson’s last summer at a music camp where she teaches.

I teach often in the summer at music camps. There’s one down in Swannanoa and in Ashoka, New York. He started going with me when he was 7, 8 years old. He was playing the fiddle, and I was trying to convert him over into old-time fiddle.

At both camps, there are usually a gang of kids that come with their parents. These same kids, they’d meet up every summer. They were really close. He wrote that song the last summer he went, and it was the year that everybody was then going to disperse and go off to college in different places. Lives were going to change.

The camps she’s referring to are the Ashokan Music and Dance Camps and The Swannanoan Gathering.

Below is a video of her performing the song with Phil Cook.

Matt Ralph

Matt Ralph

I'm the editor of Summer Camp Culture and also blog at and I live in the Philadelphia area and went to camps and camp meetings growing up in Ohio, Maryland and New Jersey.

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