Johnny Kee, Storyteller

I got my start playing guitar and singing during the so-called folk music revival of the late ’50s into the ’60s. In early ’62, I joined with a friend from our church youth group to form the Bayou Brothers folk group, later expanded to a trio. In our year and a half performing together, I was exposed to a wide variety of folk songs, from old traditional songs, including hymns, spirituals, and gospel songs, along with new “folk” songs from contemporary writers.

At that time, and ever since, I have been especially drawn to songs that tell a story. For my second CD, I chose to gather a dozen of my favorite “story” folk songs. I first heard many of these songs back in the ’60s, but they were disjoint verses compacted to fit the pop music standard 3 minutes. I have located more complete historical versions, rewrote some verses and added new verses, and organized the verses for many of them to fit my vision of a story.

By the way, all of these songs include at least one Native Flute solo and/or duet.

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Over 2 1/2 years in the works, Johnny Kee’s first commercial CD was formally released on October 1, 2018.  Historically, the first book published in the Cherokee syllabary (written language) was the Cherokee Hymn Book, published in 1829. This book was available for nearly a decade when the U.S. Army forced the Cherokee people out of their homes in 1838-1839 in accordance with an illegal treaty between the U.S. Government and a group of former tribal leaders with no authority to speak for the Cherokee tribal council or people. By the time of the “removal”, many Cherokee had converted to Christianity. I have heard that songs from the Hymn Book, especially Hymn 87 to the tune of Amazing Grace, were heard many times along the trail where an estimated 4000 Cherokee, or about 1/4 of the Cherokee Nation’s citizens, died of disease, exposure, or starvation, giving this historic tragedy the name we know it by, the Trail of Tears.

This CD is Johnny Kee’s interpretations of a dozen songs from the Cherokee Hymn Book presented in remembrance to the suffering on the Trail of Tears

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Ordering Johnny Kee CDs Directly

Johnny Kee CDs sell for $15 per copy, with a 10% discount for quantities of 3 or more (including mixed titles). Shipping is $5.00 for one or two, and $8.00 for any number three or greater. If I ship to a site within Florida, please also add 7% state/local sales tax. Although this is likely to change following a recent Supreme Court ruling, I am not currently collecting sales taxes for deliveries outside Florida. If you are uncertain about the amount, you can contact me at for a full quote.

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Cost: $15.00 each (with 10% discount [$13.50 each] on 3 or more)
Shipping: $5.00 for 1 or 2, $8.00 for 3 or more
Sales Tax: Add 7% for orders shipped within Florida

Echoes From the Trail CD

Johnny Kee, Storyteller CD