Drifting Cowboy: Hank Williams
Hank would never make it to the concert. There were too many problems. It was icy cold outside. He sat under a cover in the back of his light blue Cadillac car. He was heading to the city of Canton, Ohio, to give a big concert on New Year’s... Read more
The Blues: Music of Survival
Four men were walking across a field. They were carrying a body wrapped up in white cloth. Their strong, black hands and arms supported the body as they walked on. Other men, women, and children walked behind. And the tall green trees listened. They listened to the cries of... Read more
The Treasure of the Blues
ReadOasis Step 5 Blues Legend Robert Johnson The blues is a great treasure of American musical culture. It stands as the foundation for practically every form of American music in the 20th century, including gospel, jazz, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, and hip hop. Blues music has its... Read more
The Goodbye Bacon Blues
ReadOasis Step 3 With apologies to all my pig farming and hog farming friends, I wrote this song, a blues song about bacon. Today I read the news. They say that bacon is bad for you. For effect, it’s like a cigarette. If you eat a lot, you’ll be... Read more
Johnny Cash: The Man in Black (Step 2)
ReadOasis Step 2 Johnny started singing, but he looked uncomfortable. The audition was not going well. Sam Phillips, the producer, listened politely. But he didn’t smile. Johnny kept singing, but with no confidence. Then Mr. Phillips said, “Hold up!” Johnny and his friends stopped playing. Phillips said, “I hate... Read more
The Artful Geisha (Step 3)
ReadOasis Step 3 Geisha are traditional female entertainers from Japan. They are skilled at various Japanese arts, such as classical music, dancing, and poetry. The word "geisha" comes from (GEI) meaning "art" and (SHA) meaning "person." Thus, in a literal sense, a geisha is an artist. In the modern... Read more
The First Lady of Song
ReadOasis Step 3 After her mother died, Ella had a lot of trouble. Her grades dropped at school. She couldn't find a good place to live. She became an orphan, a child whose parents are dead and gone. Eventually, she was sent to the New York Training School for... Read more
The Wind
By Robert Louis Stevenson ReadOasis Step 2 I saw you toss the kites on high And blow the birds about the sky; And all around I heard you pass, Like ladies' skirts across the grass-- O wind, a-blowing all day long, O wind, that sings so loud a song!... Read more
A Story of Robin Hood
ReadOasis Step 3 (Part 1) In the rough and hard days of King Richard and King John, there were many great woods in the land of England. The most famous of these was Sherwood Forest. It is the place where the king often went to hunt deer and other... Read more
The Moon
By Robert Louis Stevenson ReadOasis Step 4 The moon has a face like the clock in the hall; She shines on thieves on the garden wall, On streets and fields and harbour *quays, And birdies asleep in the forks of the trees. The squealing cat and the squeaking mouse,... Read more
Are You Sleeping?
ReadOasis Step 2 The bells are ringing, but John is sleeping. It's time to wake up! This is the basic setting for the song "Are You Sleeping." In the English speaking world, many people know this song, and they can also sing the first lines in French. Frère Jacques,... Read more
Statesboro Blues
By Blind Willie McTell (1927) ReadOasis Step 4 Blind Willie McTell put his guitar case on the ground next to an old brick building. In the late afternoon, the gentle light made the brick walls turn bright red. McTell looked up and stretched his arms up in the air.... Read more
The Best Guitarist: Jimi Hendrix
ReadOasis Step 2 It was the summer of 1967. About 200,000 people came to the small town of Monterey, California. It was time for the Monterey Pop Festival. Over 30 artists were playing 3 days of music. But today, people remember the last night of the show. It was... Read more
The Old Woman and the Doctor
ReadOasis Step 2 An old woman was nearly blind from a disease of her eyes. She consulted a doctor and made an agreement with him. She would pay him a high fee if he cured her. But if she did not get better, he would receive nothing. The doctor... Read more
On the Road Again (Step 2)
ReadOasis Step 2 Willie Nelson's Guitar "Trigger" Little Willie was born into hard times. On October 29, 1929, the American economy crashed. It was called Black Tuesday. Many people lost all their money. By Willie’s day of birth in 1933, around 25% of Americans had lost their jobs. People... Read more
Songs of Survival
ReadOasis Step 3 It was my twentieth birthday. I was sitting in the family piano room when my father opened the door. He had a big smile on his face, and he said, "Happy Birthday!" Then he handed me a big box. Inside was a new guitar. It was... Read more
Get a Feel for English!
ReadOasis Step 2 There are many ways to learn English. But language study is often hard, and most people don’t enjoy it. After all, grammar books and language drills are not meant to be fun. Is there a fun way to learn English? The answer is a big “YES!”... Read more
The Guitar Hero
ReadOasis Step 2 Humans have played instruments like guitars for 5,000 years. The English word "guitar" originally may come from the Indian word, "sitar." Today guitars play a main part in jazz, blues, country, rock, and pop music. They are also used for solo classical music. In popular culture,... Read more
The Life of Vincent van Gogh
ReadOasis Step 2 Every Sunday morning, Vincent would put on his best clothes. When he was ready, he would walk to the small, red brick church where his father was the pastor. On the way, he would pass a burial ground, and he would see stones and grave markers.... Read more
The Biggest Band (Step 3)
ReadOasis Step 3 It was a hot August night in New York City, 1965. Two thousand policemen in charge of security watched anxiously as 55,000 fans filled Shea Stadium. But this was not for a baseball game; it was for the first ever stadium concert in the history of... Read more