Tonight was the first time I heard the tune, Nellie Kane. I was playing a show at the Rock Inn in Estes Park, CO with the band “Rich with Friends.” I was really hoping that we would do a tune that I could use for Fiddle Tune a Day. We played Wayfaring Stranger, which is a great tune, but I recorded it a couple of weeks ago.
And, when we played Nellie Kane, I thought “This one could work.” So, when we finished the show, we came together to replay Nellie Cane for the remaining audience, and for day 216 of Fiddle Tune a Day.
It looks to me that Nellie Cane was written by Gillian Welch with lyrics by Caleb Meyer. If you have more info on this, please fill me in.
Upon further research, Nellie Kane was published by Tim O’Brien, and was on the 1979 Hot Rize Album. Gillian Welch published a tune called Caleb Meyer where Nellie Kane kills Caleb Meyer with a broken bottle. Bluegrass music is just so HAPPY!
Nellie Cane Lyrics
As a young man I went ridin
Out on the western plains
In the state of North Dakota
I met my Nellie Cane, met my Nellie Cane
She was livin in a lonely cabin
Had a son by another man
Five years she had waited for him
As long as a woman can, as long as a woman can
I don’t know what changed my mind
Till then I was the ramblin kind
The kind of love I can’t explain
That I had for Nellie Cane
She took me on to work that day
To help her till the land
In the afternoon we planted seeds, in the evening we held hands
In the evening we held hands
Her blue eyes told me everything a man would want to know
It was then I realized I would never go,
I would never go
Chorus: I don’t know…
Well many years have gone by
And the son has grown up tall
I became a father to him
She became my all, She became my all
Chorus: I don’t know… end