Hear Rosanne Cash's Poignant Rendition of 'The Parting Glass'

Version appears on 'Big Bend Killing: The Appalachian Ballad Tradition,' compilation benefiting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Rosanne Cash sings "The Parting Glass" on the new compilation 'Big Bend Killing: The Appalachian Ballad Tradition.' Credit: Douglas Mason/Getty Images

Rosanne Cash is among the artists featured on a new two-disc set, Big Bend Killing: The Appalachian Ballad Tradition, contributing a pair of centuries-old folk ballads, including the previously released "Barbara Allen" and a new recording of "The Parting Glass." The 32 tracks on the album celebrate Appalachia's rich legacy of story songs and beautifully trace that tradition to its roots in the British Isles. Proceeds from the sale of the collection will support Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Listen to Cash's version of "The Parting Glass" below.

Although New Year's Eve revelers know "Auld Lang Syne" as the song that bids goodbye to the old year and ushers in what is yet to come, another popular tune from the British Isles preceded it in widespread use. "The Parting Glass" first appeared in a 1770s Scottish broadside – one of the earliest methods for distributing printed material such as the lyrics of poplar ballads – and as the title suggests, the words offer a toast to parting friends at the close of a gathering. Adding yet another dimension to the song is its significance to those who left Scotland, Ireland and England to emigrate to America – and the poignant reminder of the past to those they left behind. Melding the lyrics to a Scottish fiddle tune, "The Peacock," a decade later, "The Parting Glass" would find a whole new audience during the urban folk music revival of the 1950s and early Sixties, when the Irish group Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem popularized it. Bob Dylan would rework the tune in 1964 as "Restless Farewell," featuring it on his The Times They Are a-Changin' LP.

Following an a cappella first verse, Cash is joined on guitar, mandolin and harmonium by her husband John Leventhal and sings of a "fair maid in this town that surely has my heart beguiled." In the song's final verse, however, the song's true poignancy is revealed as she sings, "But since it fell unto my lot that I should rise and you should not, I gently rise and softly call, goodnight and joy be with you all."

Other artists featured on the new collection include Doyle Lawson, Alice Gerrard, David Holt, Archie Fisher, Martin Simpson, Sheila Kay Adams, Carol Elizabeth Jones, John Lilly, Elizabeth LaPrelle, Amythyst Kiah, Corbin Hayslett, Laura Boosinger with The Kruger Brothers, and Bill and the Belles. Big Bend Killing: The Appalachian Ballad Tradition is now available to order in both digital and physical formats. 

Here is the complete track and artist list:

Disc One:

"Barbry Allen" (Carol Elizabeth Jones)
"Thomas the Rhymer" (Archie Fisher)
"Tam Lin" (Archie Fisher)
"Lord Thomas and Fair Ellender" (Sheila Kay Adams)
"Mathy Groves" (Donna Ray Norton)
"Eggs And Marrowbone" (Jody Stecher and Kate Brislin)
"The Sheffield Apprentice" (Martin Simpson, Andy Cutting, and Nancy Kerr)
"Willie Taylor" (Martin Simpson, Andy Cutting, and Nancy Kerr)
"The Bold Lieutenant" (Alice Gerrard)
"Lord Bateman" (Carol Elizabeth Jones)
"The Farmer’s Curst Wife" (Donna Ray Norton)
"Mr. Frog Went a-Courtin'" (Bill and the Belles)
"Barbara Allen" (Rosanne Cash) 

Disc Two:

"Wild Hog in the Woods" (Alice Gerrard)
"The Battle Song of the Great Kanawha" (Trevor McKenzie)
"Doleful Warning" (Bruce Greene and Loy McWhirter)
"Omie Wise" (Hasee Ciaccio, with Kalia Yeagle)
"Banks of the Ohio" (Doyle Lawson)
"Knoxville Girl" (Kristi Hedtke and Corbin Hayslett)
"Pretty Polly" (Amythyst Kiah, with Roy Andrade)
"Tom Dula" (Laura Boosinger, with The Kruger Brothers)
"Hiram Hubbard" (Corbin Hayslett)
"Big Bend Killing" (Alice Gerrard)
"Old Joe Dawson" (Bobby McMillon)
"Otto Wood the Bandit" (David Holt)
"John Henry" (Amythyst Kiah, with Roy Andrade)
"Wreck of the Old 97" (Corbin Hayslett)
"Explosion in the Fairmount Mines" (John Lilly)
"West Virginia Mine Disaster" (Elizabeth LaPrelle)
"The Cyclone of Rye Cove" (Dale Jett and Hello Stranger)
"I've Always Been a Rambler" (John Lilly)
"The Parting Glass" (Rosanne Cash)