Huddie Ledbetter was easily one of the most influential American musicians of all time, yet today he has become one of the most historically overlooked. Musical artists like Elvis Presley, Kurt Cobain, the White Stripes, and countless others have been covering Huddie’s songs for almost a century, however, most listeners have never heard his name. The life of Ledbetter, more widely known as Leadbelly, was fraught with complications, repressed by a world policed with Jim Crow laws, and often filled with violence.

Leadbelly was viewed by audiences as a murderer and criminal, but also as a poet gifted with an incredible musical talent. Separating and understanding the real man from the legend is a difficult task. His life was as epic as his music, and we’re going to explore all of it, starting with this first episode on the life of the legendary Leadbelly, King of the Twelve String Guitar.

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