Her voice breaks. She clears her throat after a once-through of the instrumental, before singing the first verse. This isn't a professional musician; this is someone's mother, someone's grandmother, and someone's maid. Elizabeth Cotten taught herself to play guitar left-handed on a right-handed guitar that wasn't even strung for her. She gave up playing to rear a family, and only began to pick it up again in the '50s, when she began working as a maid for the musical Seeger family. Thank God. We can lament the time we lost of her playing in the '20's through the early '50's, or we can appreciate how that time put character in her voice and into her remarkable fingerpicking. Her song "Freight Train" is a classic that belongs in any library, and is as soulful now as it was when she wrote it 100 years ago. I'm saddened that my life is half over before I discovered her, but delighted that I get to listen to so much of her music for the first time, yet.