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Billy in the Lowground

“Billy in the Lowground” is a traditional American fiddle tune that dates back to the early 19th century. It became popular in the early 1900s among Kentucky musicians and it is one of today’s favorite flatpicking pieces for guitarists at bluegrass jams. Some believe the song refers to William the Conqueror in The Battle of Hastings 1066 as he was being buried in the swampy low ground. Others believe it refers to the protestant William of Orange defeating the Irish Catholic forces in a low river bottom at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.

This song is usually played in the key of C. You may hear different variations of this song at a bluegrass jam. Below, we’ll tab out one of the more popular versions of the rhythm guitar chord progression.


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