a great song

Have you heard the story of Tom Dula?

It was 1866, and in a town in North Carolina, a man was about to be hanged.

The man was called Tom Dula and his crime – taking the life of an innocent woman.


Tom Dula loved two women – Laura Foster and Ann Melton.

…But it was the life of Laura Foster he was guilty of taking.

She was sadly found in a shallow grave, and Dula confessed to killing her.

That was the end for him, and he was hanged.


…But many years later, there was a shocking twist.

The other woman, Ann Melton, lay on her deathbed and…

…She confessed it was her all along that was guilty of murdering Laura Foster.

This is one heck of a powerful story, and one that sent chills down my spine the first time I heard it.

Sad, powerful, and emotive – like so much music out there.


I guess that was why this story was turned into a powerful guitar song and covered by great artists such as:

The Kingston Trio, Neil Young, Doc Watson, Bing Crosby, Lonnie Donegan, The Grateful Dead, and even actor Harry Dean Stanton.

The song is “Tom Dooley” (the name Dula was changed slightly for some reason), and it is one of the most powerful traditional folk tales in my opinion.

It also makes for a wonderful fingerpicking song you can learn in a variety of ways.


I teach it in my course where you get detailed video instruction on how to Travis pick the song.

The course includes how to play it as a wonderful solo fingerstyle arrangement, how to sing and strum it, and a fingerpicking sing-along version.

In this course, we go back in time and play it in the vintage Travis picking and acoustic styles that made the guitar so wonderful in the first place, in my opinion.

If focusing on one classic song and going “deep” on it appeals to you, then you may want to check it out below.

Listen to and find out more about the Tom Dooley Mini Masterclass


Enjoy your day of practice!

Dan Thorpe

Guitar Domination


P.S. This post was originally taken from Dan Thorpe’s private email list. To get blog posts like this sent to you which are full of great tips to make fingerpicking, strumming, and learning guitar more enjoyable (especially if you are over 40) join Dan’s list. It’s 100% free, HERE.

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