What about me!

photo; S. Denton, moonmooring

About me: My official bio says I’m a veteran journalist, teacher, author, musician, student of folklore, and creator of Elder Mountain Press, a venue for publishing stories relevant to Ozarks culture and history. It makes no mention of my absence of mind or my widely known penchant for confounding myself and others, and collecting scraps of mostly useless knowledge. I could create a paper mache Volkswagen with the paper this generates.

People who don’t know me believe I’m a storyteller. People who do say I’m just windy. But both kinds will stop for a moment to listen to my little essays on public radio, either because they’re interesting, or because they’re short. You can too, at ksmu.org, if you click on the sidebar where it says “These Ozarks Hills”

In 1986, 25 years after I started college, I received a BFA degree from Missouri State University in graphic arts and photography, with which I became a journalist (!?!) In 1995 I received an MA from Antioch University in creative writing, which enabled me to go back to my journalism job and teach English at night school, the income from which has not yet enabled me to pay off my student loans. At this rate I may make my last payment when I’m 112. On the good side, I did reap the benefits of a $5,000 grant from the International Press Institute enabling me to spend six weeks in Central America doing stories on Costa Rica and Panama and their records of natural resource management. You can find photos and story excerpts elsewhere on this site.

Right now I’m up to my ears in the fallout from the movie Winter’s Bone, in which I’m the featured singer and music consultant. Somehow it didn’t occur to me that people would a) watch the movie closely enough to notice me, b) recognize me on the street, or c) insist on knowing where they could find the music from the movie, or more just like it. Ok, I’ll confess. I made the movie without one thought that I might want to make a CD as well – and soon. Who knew? I didn’t feel so bad about my lack of preparedness after Winter’s Bone producer Jonathan Scheuer heaved a sigh over the same subject and said “We really didn’t expect this.”

The “this” he’s referring to is “Winter’s Bone,” winning best picture and best screenplay at Sundance, more honors in Berlin, and hefty distribution deals with Roadside Attractions (North American rights) and Fortissimo (overseas). Suddenly this little low-budget tale shot in the Ozarks is getting some impressive international buzz. And much to my surprise, so am I.

Now here we are as another year begins, and so much has happened it would be impossible to tell it all at once. Instead, I’ve told it in fits and starts throughout this blog, which was begun in May of 2010 and which to date has received more than 33,000 hits from folks like you, who were moved by the movie and mused by the music, and came calling, some just to drop in for a minute, others to sit a spell and visit, as we say in the Ozarks. It’s been wonderful to meet you, even if briefly, and I hope you’ll stop by again soon. In the meantime, I’m about to begin another semester teaching English, while arranging songs for another album and doing research on a story that might be a movie someday. Oh, and coming up with “big windies” for telling on my little radio show.

Life is full of wonder and surprises. Some of them way more satisfying than  one might expect. The lives of us hillbillies is generally slower than this, and this hillbilly is having a time getting used to it. That will happen all in good time, I expect. In the meantime, drop me a note or send me a song if you’re so inclined. Happy Trails, you’uns. Come back when you can stay longer.

This is a not-very-well preserved photo from about 1951 in Wichita, Kansas. I'm the weasely ruffian on the right.

Next to me is, I think, Teresa Schuster and her sister, whose name I can’t recall. We were living in what had been officers’ quarters in a suburb called Plainview, that has since been absorbed into the fabric of greater Wichita. It was my first and only glimpse of early 20th century urban life, as our apartment was outfitted with a coal furnace that my dad loaded from a coal chute in the basement, an icebox  filled by the iceman twice a week and milk, butter, cottage cheese, etc., delivered daily very early in the morning. I include it because of the memories, the age of the cars in the background, and our stances. At eight years old, we were already who we would be, already up to sumthin’.

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144 Responses to What about me!

  1. Birch Land says:

    YIPPEE!!!!!!! iTUNES!! CD!! SOUNDTRACK!! I am sooooo thrilled for you, my friend. Couldn’t happen to a better person, I say. Congratulations and go get ‘em!! Love ya, Birch

  2. Karin says:

    I just saw Winter’s Bone here in Minneapolis, and your voice colored the whole thing for me. “Missouri Waltz” was a particularly wonderful rendition, and the picking session was a treat – it was great to watch you sing. I’ll be getting the soundtrack and keeping an ear out for your upcoming work. Thank you, from a fan up the river a ways :)

  3. Patrick Johnson says:

    Hi, Marideth, remember me? I was Janet Hatch’s inattentive boyfriend when we met in Hollywood in 1969 and tried to get you booked at the Troubador, Pasadena Ice House, etc. I now live in Chicago (pretty much since then). I’ve been married and divorced (a Belizean woman) and have a teenage stepdaughter who lives with me.

    I ran across your blog while searching for a theater at which to see Winter’s Bone – before I realized your music is in it. Now I’m even more impatient to see it, but can’t find it yet in this clueless town. Guess I’ll just have to wait.

    Hope you’re happy – you’re obviously still interesting. Drop me a line when you can…

    Pat Johnson

    • yarnspinnerpress says:

      Patrick! What a sweet surprise. Of course I remember you. I have often wondered what became of you and wished you well. Life is being extremely hectic for me right now, and am hoping it will even out soon. I came back to the Ozarks in 1976 to visit for a few weeks, and never left. Went back to school, became a journalist and retired with a heart thing about five years ago. It turned out that the adrenaline I had grown to love was trying to kill me. Now I practice inattentiveness and it’s all better. Go figure. If I get to Chicago to promote the film, I’ll give you a holler.
      Much affection remains for old times and good friends,

    • yarnspinnerpress says:

      I was afraid I’d posted this reply in the wrong place (not very blog-savvy, I’m afraid) so I decided to repost here, just in case. SOOOOO good to hear from you, my friend. Here’s the earlier post:
      Patrick! What a sweet surprise. Of course I remember you. I have often wondered what became of you and wished you well. Life is being extremely hectic for me right now, and am hoping it will even out soon. I came back to the Ozarks in 1976 to visit for a few weeks, and never left. Went back to school, became a journalist and retired with a heart thing about five years ago. It turned out that the adrenaline I had grown to love was trying to kill me. Now I practice inattentiveness and it’s all better. Go figure. If I get to Chicago to promote the film, I’ll give you a holler.
      Much affection remains for old times and good friends,

  4. Mark says:

    I just saw the your film at the Angelic and you. Thank you so much for a beautiful film and music and commentary. It made it all that better for me.

  5. Gail Simon says:

    Listening to your voice and hearing the Missouri Waltz while watching “Winter’s Bone” made me well up with tears at not only the soulfullness of your voice…but at the thought of how much my grandma would love it if she were here. She came from Harlan County in Kentucky…and grew up in quite rough circumstances..She was the sweetest woman but had the fire and temperment of her the surroundings she grew up with…
    Your voice is tinged with love, heartache, pain and a life truly lived.
    People need to appreciate how good they have it….and also that there is a richness to be had that needs no material goods or money.
    Thank you for echoing that message in your voice.
    I can’t wait til your music is available on Itunes/CD.

    Thank you once again!
    Gail Simon
    NY NY

    • yarnspinnerpress says:

      Thanks so much for your kind words. The music of the hills speaks to something in all of us, I think. It was a great honor for me to work on this film.
      All best to you.

  6. We loved Winters Bone, but your music absolutely blew me away and for me was the film’s highlight. How many fascinating, gifted people there are about whom we never hear unless by some odd occurrence we come across them – and thereby our lives are further enriched . . .! It has been fun to learn more about you since the movie-

  7. Kaye Robbins says:

    Dear Marideth,
    I saw the movie in an “upscale” area art theater in St. Louis. The seats were filled with primarily “upscale” urban people. The most amazing thing that happened was at the end of the movie when the gospel song “Farther Along” began, I rose and started to leave my 3rd row from the front seat. The sincerity of your voice caused me to set back down and listen. When I rose to leave, because 1 tear was about to escape from my left eye, I was amazed that 500 people behind me were also still in their seats and were transfixed, either by your voice, or the credits in white letters running down the black screen. I think it was your voice. I grew up down there and have heard that song sung a hundred times on the radio or in a Baptist church so I have credability. You sang it “real good”.
    I also liked the film “real good”.
    Kaye Robbins

  8. Patrick DeOssie says:

    We saw the movie upper at lincoln Plaza, Upper West Side of Manhattan (We’re from Queens NYC). Same as Kaye, witnessed the same situation. Hope your CD is out soon and you play Brooklyn or Manhattan some time soon.

    • yarnspinnerpress says:

      We’d love to come back to NY. The CD is taking longer than we’d hoped, but I think it will be a good listen.

  9. marilyn wolff says:

    My husband & I just came from the movie & just had to find you,, the music was fantastic.. I have to get your cd… when & how? I want my son & sisters to hear you..Sadly I just lost my other son on May 22,so have been down ,but your music left me with a sense of peace. We donated his organs so four people have extended life..Praise God…I would like your music for my son;s memorial actuallly this celebration of life Sept,25th hope I can get by then . what talent!
    ! Sincerely, Dr.& Mrs Lippman Wolf

    • yarnspinnerpress says:

      Mrs. Wolf. I am so sorry for your loss. I believe there is no grief worse than losing a child, because it betrays the future hoped for. Please accept condolences from all the Winter’s Bone company. I hope you don’t mind my forwarding your letter to WB Exec Producer Jonathan Scheuer. He sends word that if you’ll give us some contact info, we’ll see that you receive a copy of the CD the minute we have them. And thanks for your kind words.

  10. Carolyn Campbell says:

    I’ve loved your program on KSMU, These Ozark Hills, every since I first heard it, so I was pretty excited that you would be performing in the movie. But still I was floored by your incredibly beautiful singing of these old songs. It was especially moving to me, since your musings on the Ozarks usually highlight what is so good about living here (Homes for Potatoes is a favorite). That you didn’t shy from being involved with a movie showing the darker side of things meant a lot to me, and made the movie even more poignant. I can’t wait for the CD. And I can’t stop humming the Missouri Waltz (just ask my family). I hope you are well, and have some to time to recover from all the hoopla and enjoy the summer.

    • yarnspinnerpress says:

      Thanks for your kind words. These Ozarks Hills is one of the highlights of my month, because it gets me to thinking about how deep the culture of these hills goes. As for the movie, I’m so proud to have been a part of it, because it expresses so many true things about that culture, whether we like them or not.
      My summer continues to be very busy, but I’m getting a kick our of it most of the time. Finally got a day off today, so I can answer some of these comments.

  11. Donna says:

    Wow! What a great story! Thanks for writing this blog!

    I saw the movie last weekend. Your voice is amazing. I can’t wait to hear Fair And Tender Ladies when it’s released. I’m listening to Peter Paul and Mary til then.

    Enjoy the whirlwind!!

    • yarnspinnerpress says:

      Thanks so much. Fair and Tender Ladies will be up soon. Look for more through the summer as we add to our on-line collection. And I love PP&M too, and I grieved at Mary’s passing. Talk about a voice!

      • Margaret Underwood says:

        I love PP&M and got to hear them live. Their outdoor concert at Wake Forest U. back in the early 60s was a thriller. I too grieved over the loss of Mary also Karen Carpenter.

  12. aaron Lodge says:

    ditto everyone else. We saw the movie out in California where we live near San Francisco. Loved the scenes where you play some music. As we walked out, we all agreed we had to get the soundtrack, which we cannot find. So, I found you website. I will be watching itunes for some of you songs. Get them up there while you have got the world as a captive audience. Looking forward to it!!!! Aaron

    • yarnspinnerpress says:

      Amen to that! We’re such hillbillies we got behind on the recording end because for some reason we thought nobody would be listening to us. The soundtrack is finished and being deplicated right now, and should be available very soon. We’re in the studio again as of next week to put together some more tunes to go up on iTunes. Stay tuned.

  13. Heidi Sullivan says:

    I think it is funny (and sweet) that you didn’t realize people would want to know more about the music from the film and where they could get it! How could they not?! From the music at the opening of the film I LOVED it and it did a wonderful job setting the mood for what was to come. My favorite part of the entire movie was the picking session – it almost gave me goose bumps I loved it so much! I kept hoping there’d be another. At the end of the movie of course we all stayed to hear the last song… and I waited to find out WHO you were! I got a piece of scrap paper out of my purse and wrote your name down and then spent an hour on the internet trying to find out more info about you and your music and Ozark music in general. Now you’ve got me all interested in bluegrass music, the Carter family and the Ozarks. The story in the movie did not create this interest in me, your singing did. And so now I need to run out and get some of this music, and wait another couple of months for the soundtrack to come out! Anyway, thank you thank you for sharing your talent and voice through this movie and bringing this music to so many people who have never heard it before. I hope you come sing in Kansas City sometime! I’d love to see you!

    Heidi in KCMO

    • yarnspinnerpress says:

      If you could suggest a couple of possible places to play, we’d be happy to contact them and see if we could get a gig going. We’d rather play than eat.

  14. Paul depke says:

    great music sound track

  15. matt bless says:

    Just saw the movie last night — fantastic film, wonderful music! Can’t wait to hear the CD when it comes out. Thank you!

  16. Evelyn says:

    Just wanted to let you know that I saw Winter’s Bone last night, and right from the opening credits, I was struck by the sound of your voice. It was a joy to hear you sing, and I can’t wait to hear what came out of your studio sessions!

    • yarnspinnerpress says:

      We’re still trying to get all our ducks in a row. Latest word is the tunes will be up for downloading on Aug. 15, and the CD on Aug. 30.

  17. Mike Schilling says:

    Long time no see, Marideth. I was very impressed with your smooth and melodious musical work in the film. A fine complementary, authentic touch to Woodrell’s book. Also, my supervisor at OTC told me she enjoyed your Women’s History Month presentation at the school in March. Keep up the good work and make the best of the opportunities in the limelight.

    Mike Schilling

    • yarnspinnerpress says:

      Hi, Mike. I’ve missed you since you got back into private life. Hope you’re enjoying the career change.Always appreciate your good thoughts. You got me started in journalism, and it turned out exactly right. More than learning about the limelight, I learned to behave. So this is being easier and more fun than it could have been. I owe you, my friend.

  18. michael burns says:


    Damn, girl, you’re famous! I’ve landed here in Louisville, KY, and I haven’t seen the movie yet, so I was delighted when a friend started to tell me about some wonderful woman who sang, and then said your name. A long way from the old TYPE magazine and the halls of Pummill. I’m very, very happy for you, and plan to get out to see the movie this weekend. I got to know Daniel a little when we got him to come to campus,
    my last year there. And my dad’s people are from Ash Flat (I won’t mention why I know more than most about the meth culture).

    Write me if you get a chance in your hectic schedule. I’ll look for the CD, too.


    • yarnspinnerpress says:

      Hey, Michael. Long time, yes. Actually, this is all pretty far removed from most everything I’ve been doing. But it sure is fun, especially when old friends pop up unexpectedly. Good to hear from you.

  19. Carlos G Dominguez says:

    Just watched Winter’s Bone today & was absolutely taken by your music, Ms Sisco. Can’t find the soundtrack or any of your songs though in iTunes. Please e-mail me when it’s released.

  20. Charlie Colpitts says:

    Thanks, Marideth and congratulations!

    The movie made me homesick for Northwest Arkansas.

    Ever catch the Pickin Post on KUAF?


  21. Sharon Potts says:


    I have to disagree with the writer who was not taken so much with the film, Winter’s Bone, but with your wonderful music. My motivation in seeing the movie was the story and the location (we have family in Forsyth.) I was certainly not disappointed in any way. The film is topknotch. But, you and your voice, plus the soundtrack in general, were a perfect complement to this touching and multi-layered story. You gave such authenticity to the setting, and reminded the viewer of the humanity of the characters involved. In fact, it’s hard to think of the movie without your voice as part of it. Thank you, and thank God, for your beautiful voice. (“Further Along” is the song that’s stuck in my brain!) I’ll be looking for the soundtrack also! Best wishes to you.

    • yarnspinnerpress says:

      Thanks for your kind words. I don’t mind terribly what people say — it’s just very exciting to see it’s kicking up so many comments in so many directions. The film, and the story, are very layered, and it takes more than one viewing to see it all, I think. Of course, when I get to Memphis this weekend, I’ll be seeing it for the 18th time———and I still like it!

  22. Sarah Birch Land says:

    Winter’s Bone comes to Cleveland for a week’s run on Friday. I’ll see it and talk all my friends into seeing too. Hope to see you in August!

  23. Brad Melton says:

    I finally saw the movie last night and when Marideth appeared, I jumped out of my seat and exclaimed, “That’s Marideth Sisco!” Its been 30 years; I was News Director at the NPR affiliate at C of O and Marideth was singing with a blues band in Springfield called Od Bodkin. And they were damn good! I think I still have a reel to reel tape of that time when Marideth did a rendition of “Desperado” and the band gave a haunting performance of Alan Bell’s “Windmills.” Thanks for the memories Marideth and can’t wait until your CD is out. -Brad

    • yarnspinnerpress says:

      Wow. Talk about taking me back. FYi, Bo Brown, who was also in Od Bodkin, is part of the Winter’s Bone soundtrack and plays in the band that formed from that, Blackberry Winter. Such a pleasure to be playing with him again. And so good to hear from you. Keep in touch.

      • Doug Sheridan says:

        whoa, Od Bodkin. That takes me way back, I’d forgotten all about that band. When did it become a blues band?

  24. Jane Wilcox says:

    I just saw the movie and like everyone else was so impressed with the music. I am sorry I won’t be at the Ridgeway Four to meet you tonight. Had I known the movie would be so good, I would have waited. Best of luck in this new adventure of yours. I can’t wait for the music to be available at iTunes.

    • yarnspinnerpress says:

      Sorry to have missed you, but glad to hear you liked it. We’re very proud of this movie. Look for it on iTunes Aug. 15, and CDs in stores or available here by end of August.

  25. Absolutely loved the music and the movie.
    Was extremely impressed by John Hawkes as Teardrop, and, for what it’s worth…

    “John Hawkes – Man of Steel”
    -Not so much a movie review (“Winter’s Bone”), but an Actor review.

  26. At the suggestion of Sarah ( http://moonmooring.wordpress.com ), I am here repeating a comment I made in reply to her’s at my blog. I also put it on hers.

    I have one concern about “Winter’s Bone”, and as you seem to have contact with some of those involved, maybe you can pass it along.

    Because of my “less-than-perfect” hearing, I’m hoping for closed captioning or subtitles on the eventual DVD.

    If those are on the “to-do” list, my concern is past experience with some truly awful captioning on some releases that are sometimes not even close to what was actually said. I hope to God that whoever does this one has access to the script to get it right.

    As Daniel Woodrell’s prose is an integral part of the story, I suggest that he be in attendance, perhaps with a 2×4.

    Of, course, with lead times involved, I suspect that the DVD preparations may have already been made and I’ll just have to hope for the best. Regardless, I’ll snap it up the first time I come across it.

    She made the following reply there, and gave me permission to copy it to my blog.
    I hope she forgives me for repeating it, yet again, here…

    Sarah says:
    July 18, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    Paul, I’m not sure of the status of the DVD or closed captioning (Winter’s Bone). What I do know is this, the speaking style of the particular people portrayed in the movie, the vernacular, hesitation, low volume, the blunt to the point and short phrases are quite specific and correct. This does make it difficult to watch/hear. I found myself almost straining to make out some of it, but it portrays the reality of this small segment of the populations’ speach patterns. I hope you bear through the movie a second time and are able to pick up some of the subleties of the movie and the words. It is profound in in its simplicity. Something the general movie goer (I believe) is unused to (too often simplicity surrounded by garrishness and noise fill the screen and our minds with faux greatness).

    Thanx for your reply and interest in the movie. I hope you have visited Marideths blog as well and posted there. If not, I will convey your words toward her.

    I’ve repeated her reply here because what she said about the speaking style of the people there causes me to rethink my “not very good” sound quality remark in my post. As I don’t recall having any trouble with hearing the music and singing, I have to face the possibility that I was dead wrong with that remark.

    • I was getting a bit wishy-washy on this problem.

      Well, no more.

      I’ve just seen it again, tonight, and the sound quality is definitely poor as far as the dialog is concerned.

      There were far too many instances where I understood what was said, only because I had read the book and knew what it had to be.

      Other people in the audience had problems with that as well.

      So, I’m definitely hoping for close-captioning or subtitle capability for the DVD.

      • yarnspinnerpress says:

        Re: John Hawks …very true, although in real life he’s a sweetheart.

        About the sound problem, I’m advised by the director that similar problems have occurred when the theater playing the film fails to notice the attached tag that says the movie is to be played at Dolby sound level 7.5 — Most films being shown these days are so full of explosions and very loud special effects that if played at 7.5 it would blow their speakers, so they play the audio set at Dolby 5. At that level the WB sound is very muddy. Ask the theater how they have it set, or alternatively, tell me the theater name and I’ll pass it on to Roadside Attractions, the distributor, who will investigate the problem. We’ll do our best to get you some clear audio one way or another.

  27. Thank you, yarnspinnerpress:

    The theater where I saw it (three times, so far) was the River Oaks theater in Houston, Texas. Once part of the Interstate Theater chain in pre-historic times, they are now part of the Landmark chain, specializing in independent and foreign films.

    I’ll see if I can get a chance to pass this on to the manager there, but I like your alternative better, as they could probably wield a bigger 2×4 than I could, and more effectively.

    So, please do pass it on.

    Thank you. :-)

    • I emailed your info to the customer service departments of the Landmark theater chain (which runs the theater I went to) and Roadshow Attractions (distributor of Winter’s Bone).

      The latter replied, thanking me for the heads up, and promised to get with the theater to see what was going on.

      Apparently, they did. Tonight’s showing was much better as far as audio goes; while I i>still had to strain in a few places to catch some of the dialog, it was infinitely better than before. The remaining part of my problems can probably be attributed to hearing I have already described as a bit “less than perfect”. Because of that last caveat, I still hope for captioning on the DVD.

      But, in the meantime, there is at least one theater in this area that is now playing it the way it was meant to. So, I feel I have managed to accomplish something worthwhile. :-)

  28. MJ Crites says:

    So, you really are you. Winter’s Bone was fantastic. I thought that might have been Ginny Hawker doing the singing. Can’t wait to get ahold of the films soundtrack.

  29. Penn Clark says:

    Saw WB last night at Angelika in NYC. Can’t wait to get hold of your music!

    • yarnspinnerpress says:

      It’s coming soon to an iTunes near you. I’ve been told its Aug. 15 for download, and Aug. 30 for hard copy.

  30. Sean says:

    Hi Marideth,
    I just saw WB for the second time in Asheville, NC. I really love this movie and the music is beautiful. Although I live in the Smoky Mountains, it was all very familiar.
    Oh, and I understood every word.
    Thanks so much. I’m really looking forward to the album.


  31. Chris Hansen-Nelson, NYC says:

    I loved Winter’s Bones and and the music and will be buying the songs off iTunes. Thanks.

  32. Oh Marideth,
    I was fortunate enough to be one of your photography teachers at SMSU in the 80s.
    At that time, I recall you were billed as the “ruby-throated nightingale” or thereabouts.
    And I have a vivid image of your description of when the motion pictures came to your town with a kerosene powered projector/light on the back of a pickup and the sheet hung outside so everyone could watch…it was a fascinating picture of your childhood and of the area. Imagine my surprise when I went to see “Winter’s Bone” tonight and there was this vaguely familiar face singing a ballad on the screen. I just knew it was you, and the credits confirmed it. I am so proud and happy for you! The film is incredible, great dialogue and sense of place, but the music just blew me away. Thank you for making the experience so real for me again, many years later than the scene you described to me so long ago, but still so connected to the past and so fitting to the story being told. It must feel strange and wonderful to reconnect so powerfully with people who have known you in the past, and suddenly there you are, right there on the screen in front of us! All the best, hope your garden is still doing well.
    Judith Eastburn

    • Margaret Underwood says:

      Loved reading this from your photography teacher, Judith Eastburn, and the story about the kerosene powered projector, etc. Makes me think of the magical days when kerosene lanterns lit up our log cabins at camp.


  33. Paula Estey says:

    Miz Marideth, Absolutely loved the musik and movie that my husband took me to so we could enjoy air conditioning for a couple of hours during a recent heat spell. You and I ain’t close relations xactly, but seeing as how my man and me are from the midwest, we must be at least cousins twice removed. : )

    Loved your music. Please include the “Little Sparrow” in your CD!

    Thank you for the movie, much enjoyed by me and mine.

  34. Mitzi Austin says:

    This will be repetitive of the comments above, but my husband and I just saw Winter’s Bone and loved it. We especially enjoyed the music. We saw it at the Hippodrome in Gainesville Florida, a small sort of art house theater. Before the showing for which we had tickets we could hear Farther Along playing. My husband, raised a Baptist, was singing along. All of the music was wonderful.

    • yarnspinnerpress says:

      Thank you so much. I’m delighted you liked the movie (and the music, of course). I do the same thing. When the credits come up and I’m waiting to do the Q&A, I can’t help singing harmony with myself.

  35. Just wanted to say Hi. I knew Olla Belle Reed a little. Enough to say hi and play fiddle with her at Sunset Park a couple 4th of July’s and at our Philadelphia Folk Festival. She was a very nice friendly lady and so was her Husband. Not sure I spelled her Name right… I’ve tried to sing High on a Mountain, but it’s a little out of my range. I was also good friends with John Hartford for many years and after teaching myself to play the fiddle, I ended up in Opryland USA in Nashville and Branson in show called Opryland On The Road way back in 1981 before Branson was really Branson. I’m the projectionist now in the Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, Pa and we’re showing Winters Bone tonight. I can’t hear the dialog well enough to really watch the film here in the booth. I’ll have to rent it later, but I was surfing the internet and not paying close attention and jumped up when I heard you singing and hay! It saved the day because the reel was shorter than usual and about to run out! So I caught it with your help! I’m sure the Audience would thank you if they knew. You sound good in the film. Keep up the good work, etc. Hope we meet and pick a little some day.

    • yarnspinnerpress says:

      Hey, Ted. I hope so, too. I never met Mrs. Reed, but her husband was very sweet about giving us permission to use the song in the film. As a projectionist, you’re one of our favorite people, because the film, as you noticed, has no explosions or other hugely noisy special effects, so you can play it iat the normal Dolby 7.5 instead of turning it down so it won’t break your speakers!
      A note to others who think the volume in the theater was too low. Tell the projectionist or the manager what I said above and get them to turn it up.

  36. Linda Park-Fuller says:

    Marideth, it was such a delight to see and hear you in Winter’s Bone. I had read the book this summer after hearing a wonderful segment with author & director on NPR, and was ready to enjoy the film, and was enjoying it, but when I saw you, I thought oh, these film-makers really CARE about the Ozarks. I will never forget your incomparable contributions to Sunday morning services at Unity. No one can sing “Amazing Grace” like you. Will you include it on the CD?

    What a tremendous gift you are to the world! And now, it all comes back. Shine on, Marideth, shine on!

    • yarnspinnerpress says:

      Linda! What a sweet surprise to hear from you. Actually, I was looking for another gospel piece to add to this new project. I’ll throw it in the pot and see what the producers think. Certainly worth doing again. Yes, the filmmakers do care, and worked hard to get it right. It has been an honor to work with them.

  37. Ed Rock says:

    Looking for something else and found this, about you.

    Folks, if she’d never done the movie or sang in the venues you’ve mentioned in these comments she still would have brought more joy, good singin’ and general excellent service to humanity to the mix than anyone is required to and it is so much fun to see her praised here.

    Keep it up because I bet she likes it.

    • yarnspinnerpress says:

      Hey, Ed. Good to hear from you, but your fine praise is contributing to an embarrassment of riches. However, I have to say it’s true. I like it. It’s been a long time coming, as you know. Life is being very, very good to me right now, and my next task is to find some ways to pass it on. All blessings to you and everyone who’s sending me such lovely energy. You know what they say in the Ozarks?
      Raht Back Atcha!

  38. Pat says:

    A big hello from Ireland.

    I love folk music and ballads from every country but have a special liking for American old time music. I guess the USA is where music from a lot of countries came together.

    I just watched The Winters Bone and looked up your name in the credits. I loved your singing, especially the sparrow song (not sure of the correct title).

    I look forward to hearing some more of your songs.

    Kind regards,

  39. Margaret Underwood says:

    Am sorry you had a “heart thing,” Marideth, and that you are well now.

    Did you, by any chance, receive my photo of the “tomato sculpture?” A friend told me that now you would think I was crazy…whatever…at least I am happy and know you are. Just thought you would get a laugh. Love the photos of you at Citizen Jane. Please stay healthy. I just had cataract surgery and feel cross eyed.


    • yarnspinnerpress says:

      Margaret, It’s me Sarah here… Marideth is out of pocket a couple days. I’m sure she will get back with you.


      • Margaret Underwood says:

        Thanks so much, Sarah. I know Marideth has so very much on her plate so don’t worry. I am sure there are many of us who would love to have a personal note from her every day..ha, ha! I hope to meet you both one of these days before I croak….think we could have some good conversations and laughs. Sure like your picture on Facebook. I need to change mine! Take care, Margaret

  40. Joseph Dee says:

    Hello Marideth,

    I watched Winters Bone tonight, and I just wanted to say thank you for making my soul buzz with the sound of your voice. It’s a feeling I get when I feel at one with everything… and the beauty that exuded from you… took me there.

    More so, reading your response to the comments here just show what a precious spirit you are.

    Bless you,

    • yarnspinnerpress says:

      Thanks, Joe. All blessings accepted. And I’m so glad you got so in tune with the music I’ve sung all my life. I get the same soul buzz when I’m doing it, because of its beauty and message, and also because of the rich heritage from which it comes. I’m a true hillbilly.

  41. Iris Horne says:

    I was shocked when I saw you and heard you sing in the movie Winter’s Bone tonight. You look like my grandmother and sing like her too. She played and sang by ear, the same kind of music. My grandmother was Dora Scrivner Parham 1905-1997. Her family names were Scrivner, Gideon/Giddens, Henson, Taylor, and Reames. I do not know how you could look and sound so much like her and not be kin. She was raised on Short Mountain, back in the woods in Logan County, Arkansas. And oh, the stories she told us. It was a joy to see and hear you. Like seeing her again. I guess it is your time to shine now and good for you!

  42. John Watkinson says:

    Hiya Marideth, your voice finally arrived in South West England this last week !! Like many others,I just had to “google” you. Just wanted to say thanks for the beautiful songs and for having the opportunity to own a bit of you ha ha. Spent a lovely week in North Carolina a good few years ago and always planned to revisit the US………the movie has relit my fire. Best Wishes

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  46. Georgiana Weathers says:

    Outstanding movie and outstanding music!! Bought the soundtrack on itunes and am listening at this moment. I live in El Paso, Texas, and yes the music speaks to something in all of us. Thank you so much for this lovely, wonderful music.

  47. berry taylor says:

    Outstanding film with a wonderful score. The music was terrific.

    Easily the best film of 2010.

  48. Rebecca says:

    Just want to drop a note of appreciation for your beautiful voice. It reminds me of my Grandmother and of home. I just had a baby & have been trying to remember the old timey lullabies she sang, and the music in the movie struck a chord. My family’s from Perry County MO.I can’t wait to get your cd. Thank you!

  49. Krister Lindstedt says:

    Just came home from the movie Winter’s bone and wanted to hear you singing again. It touched my heart. In Stockholm, Sweden.

  50. Diane Myers says:

    I have so enjoyed reflecting on the movie and the music. You are someone I aspire to be like, an artist, an original and yet surprised by the depth of your own talent. So happy to make your acquaintance. Carry on. Please.

  51. Shirlee says:

    Marideth Sisco
    All I can say is WOW! I, like many more, went straight to my computer, when I finished watching “Winter’s Bones”, to look u up. The movie was great and u were wonderful, I, also, will be buying the soundtrack. KUDDOS!!

  52. marcus says:

    hello marideth!
    i’m a born & bred ozarkian…transplanted to italy! ;) i just saw the movie here at our local theater, luckily the songs weren’t dubbed, just the dialogue. seeing the movie made me homesick! especially the music…because it took me back to the days when i was just a little kid, sitting around my grandparents’ wood stove, listening to my cousins pick & grin…just like in the movie! some of the same songs even! i so glad to find the soundtrack on itunes.
    blessings to you in this new “chapter” in your life! so glad the movie is doing well and our neck of the woods is getting some INTERNATIONAL attention! ;)

    • yarnspinnerpress says:

      Thanks for your kind words. Where in Italy do you live? I was in Torino at end of November for the film festival there. Beautiful country. Incredible food.

  53. David Pinson says:

    Really enjoyed the movie and the music. I couldn’t help myself but to sing along with Farther Along as the movie ended. Yours is a wonderful version. I hope you can share more of this wonderful sound and music with us in the future. Coming from the southern Appalachians in NW Georgia, the folks and feel of the movie rang very true. That’s about as good a compliment as should be given. Take care.

    • yarnspinnerpress says:

      Thanks for your kind words. And I’m glad you couldn’t help singing along. That’s what was supposed to happen.

  54. Mindy says:

    Did I see somewhere that, besides being a wonderful singer, you were also a bookbinder? I love BOTH your singing and bookbinding. I live in Springfield, MO and am sorry I missed you at the Moxie. Hope you come back there.

    • yarnspinnerpress says:

      Hi, Mindy. We’ll be in Springfield next month to do some recording at Nick Sibley’s place.

  55. Hi there!

    …just saw Winter’s Bone and was searching around online, reading cast bios. I LOVED that movie, and I do love your music. You have a beautiful voice. I bet all the attention from the movie is exciting! And maybe a bit overwhelming? It’s a very moving film and I’m not surprised it has effected so many people. Just great work all around.

    Take care.

  56. Georg says:

    Dear Marideth Sisco,
    It’s 11 p.m. and I’m just home from cinema, having watched Winter’s Bone, one of the most impressing movies I’ve seen in years. I rarely saw a movie with a soundtrack that expresses its mood so directly. Therefore I just wanted to thank you.
    Best wishes from Germany


    • yarnspinnerpress says:

      Thanks, Georg. I’m so happy you liked the music. It’s available on iTunes and Amazon. And thanks as well for your good words about the film. We’re pretty proud of it.

  57. Pablo Valdivielso says:

    Dear Marideth,

    My name is Pablo (the spanish for ‘Paul’). It’s 4:00 AM in Santander -northern Spain- where I’m writing from. Two hours ago I finally saw Winter’s bone and since then I’ve been searching for your music. Both film and soundtrack are really awesome. I just wanted to say that you have such a beautiful voice. I used to like bluegrass music but I think I’ll really love it from now on.

    Thank you so much, and thanks to all the film’s crew and cast, of course.

    Finally… I’d want to apologize because of my poor english :(

    Best whishes.

  58. Ja Bencko says:

    Marideth, you are very interresting person. Love your music. If you want I can help you update your website in terms of design etc. If you want just get back to me and i can do it for you in my free time just as a hobby for free. info@janbencko.com

  59. yarnspinnerpress says:

    Ja, you’ll put my assistant our of work!

  60. Sam Dulmage says:

    Just saw your show at the Waldorf here in Vancouver – I saw “Winter’s Bone” and when I heard you were playing here I grabbed four tickets for myself and family and friends. Lovely, honest work.

  61. Kathy from Austin says:

    You are such an amazing woman! We live in Austin and as a family watched “Winter’s Bone” tonight (for the second time for my son and me). Couldn’t believe your voice. My husband was convinced your character was an actress but we googled you and found this blog. Yes, you MUST cut a CD. We will buy it for sure and know that you have fans from the ages of 14 through 52 here in Austin. You go, girl!

  62. Sherilyn Dean says:

    Hi Marideth,

    My husband and I watched Winters Bone last night and were blown away by your voice. Even sat through the credits just to keep listening to you. The movie was very good but your singing was the highlight for us. I am going to search down your music here in Australia now, can’t wait to tell all our friends about your voice and how mesmerising it is. We love to show our kids music styles from all over the world and this will be another wonderful addition to our collection for them. Thankyou.

  63. nick says:

    Hi Marideth,

    Saw you play at Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles, and I have to say it was probably the best show I’ve seen in this town. I grew up in the country in upstate New York and we have many of the same issues you sing about. Thanks for the good work,

    Los Angeles

  64. Mj Potter says:

    I just watched Winter’s Bone on DVD, and loved it although it was a little difficult to follow at times. When I saw Ree go up to the house, knock on the door, there were pickers, and a fiddle player, and then this lady began to sing. Then I found you, and am so glad I did. I am from Barton County Missouri, mostly flat lands, but hilly over towards Milford. I am, for all intents and purposes from the Ozarks, well, the edge of the Ozarks, some of the most beautiful land in God’s Country.
    Thank you for all you do to inspire people of all ages to want to learn more. I am 67, retired, widowed, living life for me now instead of for others.

    Thank you Miss Marideth,

  65. Mj Potter says:

    Miss Marideth,

    I would love for you to be able to come to Lamar, Missouri, we have a really nice Auditorium, our Barton County Free Fair in scheduled for the third week of August I believe. So many of us grew up on the music you perform, it means a lot to me to learn of the Winter’s Bone Soundtrack.

    Best Wishes,
    Mj Potter

  66. I just saw the movie on Netflix and it was wonderful and sad tearjerker at times I am going to get the book this weekend cant wait to read …love your voice .. what caught my eye is they said it was flimed around the ozarks I am from Hurley Mo
    Cant wait to hear more from you…

  67. Kathy says:

    I just watched Winter’s Bone. I can’t believe I hadn’t heard of the movie earlier. It’s very touching, very real. I really sat up and took notice during the scene you were singing in. Your voice is so beautiful. It led me to look up more information about you on the internet and well, here I am. I very rarely leave comments but I just had to let you know how much I enjoy your singing and will be buying the movie sound track.


  68. Connie Neilson says:

    Good morning to you Marideth!
    After seeing “Winter’s Bone” a few months ago, I ordered the cd; your voice puts me back in my Mother’s arms, being rocked and patted, and also makes me cry deeply. The other songs on the cd also bring me a lot of self-indulgent nostaligia and a mixed bag of memories from my 63 yrs. of living a full life. Big country music halls, living rooms out in the country in Paris, Tennessee, gatherings in Pasco County, Florida, Saturday nights in at the VFW in Muskogee, Oklahoma, voices and instruments from many places coming to one place in my heart. But you singing the Missouri Waltz is the one that stops me, sits me down , and brings me back to wanting my Momma, gone now for 16 years. I was her “C-section” baby, born 1948 in Southeast Missouri Hospital, in Cape Girardeau, Missouri; she was born 1912,at home, in Imboden ,Arkansas, so we are of the Ozarks. She played stride piano, by ear, and had perfect pitch. She also knew all the old songs and I grew up with all kinds of music, from opera to gut-bucket blues, to shape note church music. Your voice is similar to my Mother’s and I love hearing you. One of my favorite sayings is: “For heights and depths no words can reach, music is the soul’s own speech.” (anon) Thank you for sharing your music and your soul and for touching my heart. I am so grateful that you are on this earth and keeping the Ozark spirit going strong.


    • Miro says:

      i ve just read your words in the comment, unfortunately english is not my mother tongue but i ve tried to express the same as you felt, such a lovely words you ve beaded :)))

  69. Matt says:

    London calling! Matt here .. friday night after the working week and just watched w bone…fantastic movie a wonderful music from yourself. Later gator!

  70. Matt says:

    Hi! Just saw and herd you so marvelous in the film Winters bone on TV in Sweden. A great film and GREAT singing from you that realy made the film something to remember. Matt

    • yarnspinnerpress says:

      Thanks, Matt. It was an honor for us to be in such a wonderful film. Watch for our new album, “In These Ozarks Hills.”

  71. Bee says:

    Hi Marideth

    We’re listening to your singing in north wales, united kingdom.


  72. Miro says:

    Hi Marideth,
    Hello from Bulgaria, a tiny country in EU. I watched Winter’s Bone and i was fascinated, as i ve always been, by the impression the low budget american movies could make. Because of Hollywood these movies don’t have many fans around, but they are the genuine worth of film making. For me Your songs in the movie are like its script – a plain, nice, touchy, truly told story for us, them ordinary people- the hidden heroes of reality- who are the salt of the Earth as we say. Your songs have made it even more authentic and gave me the thought to look for you and to thank you- for your voice’s opened my heart for your local folklore and poetry.Even now i dont remember the details about the script but i cant forget your voice making me to muse over something and the weirdest wish to listen to you over and over again while driving. It tells me the time has come to change my car “A Love song for Bobby Long” CD OST with yours. :))) Songs sung by you have given me the sense of my mom singing the auld songs just for me- whispering some words of wisdom and consolation about the things around.
    Thank You, hope to have all your CDs one day.

    The Town of Gabrovo

  73. Jim Arnold says:

    Hello from Switzerland – I just saw Winter’s Bone and was blown away by it! I’m originally from Missouri, and some of my extended family are originally from your neck of the woods. Your music reminded me of them….wondered how someone could get it so “right”. I Googled you and voila! Your addition to the movie was really excellent, and i’m looking forward to getting the CD on iTunes. And having just quickly scanned your blog, i’ll be here regularly too…now if only I could get real bacon here to make those greens i saw on one of your posts. Thanks for adding a touch of home to my Sunday afternoon here!

  74. Shawna Common says:

    Dearest Ms. Sisco:
    I have finally seen “Winter’s Bone”, and the scene with you sitting and singing with the folks playing music brought a tear to my eye and an ache to my heart. I am from Saskatchewan, Canada.
    I remember well sitting on the floor at Grandma and Grandpa’s house with family members (mostly Grandpa and Grandma’s brothers) playing music, and Grandpa singing. Sometimes Grandma would chime in, but it was usually Grandpa singing with his brothers. Grandpa loved his banjo, and played it often. I remember sitting on the floor at his feet, looking up at him as he sang silly songs to make me laugh, a well as his old favorites.
    Have you ever heard of the singer Yanke Yankivick (sp?)? He was one of Grandpa’s favorites. They had his record, but since Grandpa passed away, it has been misplaced. I would live to have a copy of his album, as it is hilarious.
    I’m sorry for rambling on, I just really miss those days as a kid. My heart aches for my niece and nephew, who will never be able to understand how truly magical Grandpa and Grandma’s house could be!
    Take care!

  75. slayve2luv says:

    I just watched “Winter’s Bone” and I thought your music was amazing!


    Chris Pike

  76. Eivind Kvist says:

    Hi. Just watched the movie on tv. Loved the movie, but the music and your voice was amazing, never heard anything like it. Hope you have plans for a concert here in Norway. Best regards Eivind

    • yarnspinnerpress says:

      Thank you so much Eivand. We have had a lot of good input from the Scandinavian countries. Stay posted here for all teh latest information. You can also see the band’s site here, blackberrywinterband.com

      Thanks so much!

  77. rebecca valverde says:

    I’m Rebecca, from Italy. I’m 22. My passions have always been movies and music. Yesterday I watched for the first time “winter’s bone” dvd. I found the movie was wonderful, but most of all, I loved your songs =D so I immediately turned on my pc and start to search more information.. and today I found your blog!
    I just want to say that you’re amazing and that i really really love your music. It’s magic, for me. You’re definitely one of mi favorite artists!
    thank you for your music,

  78. jesus says:

    Hello my name is Jesus I write from Patagonia Argentina. Since I saw the movie in winter’s bone (though they were only a few seconds) I would say that his music and his beautiful voice excited me, reminded me of the mountains where I was born and while the time eh visit.De not try to know a little more of you and your music. Sorry if my message is not clear but the management and translate English with difficulty … Thanks Marideth Sisco hope to get some of his music and to hear about you.
    Espero que sea feliz y le valla muy bien!
    Adios y un fuerte abrazo su admirador a la distancia.

  79. Esther says:

    I own “Winter’s Bone” on BluRay and have watched it numerous times. I had never heard “Fair and Tender Ladies” before i watched this movie. I’ve listened to other renditions since watching the movie.. but i have to say, your version is my favorite. It’s hauntingly beautiful and i find myself humming the melody while your version plays in my head. I just wanted to write to say, “Thank you “. :)

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  81. marypie says:

    Oh my gosh. I just now found this blog, which makes me sad. But I’m glad I found it, because I kind of think I want to be like you when I grow up. (I’m 30).

  82. Shari Lyn Sisco says:

    First of all your amazing, secondly, You looked so much like family? my great grandfather was Brownie Sisco, they were from Scottshill TN and then Arkansas…do you know much about the SISCO’s I have not had much luck and everyone is passing away? I’m 47 if you have any info on your family history of SISCO and have time to pass along would really be appreciated bless you and your music

    • yarnspinnerpress says:

      Shari, this is Sarah posting for Marideth while she is away. I’ll make sure she sees this message and hopefully she can get back with you in a timely time!

  83. Hello Marideth,
    My name’s Cathy and I’m from Derbyshire, England.
    Have just watched ‘Winter’s Bone’ and gone on to search for you on Google. Obviously, I’ve found your blog. I like what you sing and I like what you write and your philosophy on commercialism.
    I shall find your music next and share it with my banjo, guitar and dobro-playing partner, John, who is out making music with http://www.corndodgers.co.uk (The Corndodgers) who are just a group of old friends making CDs together.
    Thank you for your music. I spotted your huge talent and amazing voice when I saw you in the film.
    I was very pleased to see the final frame in the film, where Ashlee picked up the banjo. Another May Bell?

  84. William says:

    Dear Marideth,
    I just watched “Winter’s Bone” on Blu-ray Disc and in my Facebook post I noted the qualities of the film, which include “…a wonderful soundtrack. I could listen to the songs performed by Marideth Sisco over and over.”
    Thank you for sharing your musical gifts and your lovely heart and spirit with the world. I am so glad to have learned about you!

    • yarnspinnerpress says:

      Thank you so much. You can keep up with the band’s doin’s at Blackberrywinterband.com or find us on Facebook.

  85. Pingback: Marideth Sisco: High on a mountain : Spellbindingmusic.com

  86. Betty Powell Renfroe says:

    Marideth, I was born in raised in Carroll County, AR and genealogy is my passion. Did you know that Helen Gurley Brown was your dear cousin!
    Granville Sisco married Mary Wilson–
    two of their sons were Alfred Burr (1856) and Henry Booker 1870
    Alfred was the father of Cleo Sisco who married Ira Gurley and Helen Gurley was their daughter!
    Henry Booker had Erton Ray who was the father of Paul Sisco and I think you know his daughter.
    I have watched Winter’s Bone and enjoyed some of your books! Just thought it was ironic that the
    Sisco’s produced two journalist!

    Betty Powell Renfroe

    • yarnspinnerpress says:

      Yep, I know those folks, all right. I believe Helen and I broke away in rather different styles, but with the same Ozarks/Sisco gumption. She’s buried now down at Osage, Ark., in the Sisco cemetery, along with Granville and Booker and their wives. Sweet little place, and just about full. Thanks for the memories.

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