You Gave Me a Song: The Life and Music of Alice Gerrard


This film beautifully portrays a virtuoso of American vernacular culture. Multi-instrumentalist and singer Alice Gerrard’s life story and contributions to bluegrass and old-time music are relayed through an unusual visual approach based on a wealth of black-and-white photographs. These photos resonantly echo two precursors of paradigmatic Americana: Great Depression documentary photography and John Cohen’s mountain music films. The pictures in You Gave Me a Song serve as evocative and emphatically nondigital parallels to the analog and noncommercialized music Alice has championed. In the film, Alice recounts the reversals and unexpected byways of a passionate life, including her unconventional parenting (wryly corroborated by her adult children), her musical partnership with Hazel Dickens, and her devotion to learning from the in situ exemplars of old-time music. A wide circle of commentators celebrate Alice’s ongoing creativity, her musicianship, and her dedication to teaching and preservation.  NK

Filmmaker Q&A following screening


Kenny Dalsheimer


Kenny Dalsheimer, Ashley Melzer


Kelly Creedon


Kenny Dalsheimer, Warren Gentry

Release Year


Festival Year



United States

Run Time

80 minutes


World Premiere