A Clandestine Tōrō Nagashi in Tennessee


Dad was cremated last Tuesday, August 16, 2016. The process began shortly before I made the first post here, and ended just before sundown that day. Since we don’t have a traditional memorial planned, the four folks who were closest to Dad these past six months (Adam, Donna, Julie and my husband Robert) came together to celebrate his memory.

We ate cheeseburgers, told Yarbs stories and laughed till dusk. It was a beautiful night. When the sun set, we snuck off under cover of darkness to trespass down to the banks of the beautiful Harpeth River. The Harpeth flows into the Cumberland,  then the Ohio, and finally the Mississippi where its waters reach the sea.

Viking funereal dreams notwithstanding, Dad’s constitution leaned a lot more Buddhist than Viking, so I thought it fitting to float lanterns lighting the way as his spirit returned to the Great Ocean.  Yarbs was perpetually in a hurry to GET THIS SHOW ON THE ROAD, and never ever EVER needed to ask for directions – so he was probably already way ahead of us and lolling around somewhere in the Caribbean….But it made us feel better to at least pretend we were helping.

I’ve attached a short video clip of the lanterns as they floated away, a picture of them just before they started to round the first bend, and a song I wrote and sang for Dad as they disappeared into the night. Though we were few in number, we felt the love of all who were there with us in spirit. 

The song file is a quickie roughdraft I recorded on my computer this morning. I really wanted to share it with you though – warts n’ all. I’ll post a better version someday if I get a chance to record it properly. Now that Dad’s spirit is free, I hope this site will become an ongoing happy celebration of his life and work. I’d LOVE to read more of your stories, and I have lots more to share with you too… along with family photos and best of all some previously un-heard recordings of Dad’s! He always wanted to give his music away, and I intend to do it for him. I hope you will stay tuned…

Love, Holly

21 thoughts on “A Clandestine Tōrō Nagashi in Tennessee

  1. Holly:
    Your Dad and his honey flavored voice will always be in my fondest memories. From the Limeliters to him singing solo, like DNA and fingerprints, your Dad’s voice was his DNA: No one else can match it as well as the songs he selected. I first heard your Dad along with Rod McKuen at the Troubador in the 60’s and at Rod’s invitation was privileged to be present at his recordings and Glenn’s. His music helped me through some depressive episodes and was very therapeutic. His voice is permanently etched in my memory, especially his last sacred album of Ave Maria and Divine Grace. I only heard of his passing recently and commend you for carrying out his last wishes.
    Shalom to memories that will also be in my heart forever.


  2. I don’t know who might answer this inquiry. We first saw Glenn Yarbrough in 1961/62 in Laramie, Wy. again when we lived in Reno many years later. When he first died and in the first Facebook posting there were two or three songs that he sang for us. I don’t remember the names of the songs, and I can’t find them on Yarbrough pages. Those songs were so lovely, sweet, like a once in a lifetime performance for them. I would like to hear them again. Does anyone know anything about them?


  3. The first time I met Glenn was in the mid 60’s, He came to Raleigh, NC for a concert put on by my radio station, WPTF. The concert was at NC State, and the wolfpack was playing an away game that Saturday night. After every song, he’d ask me what the score was ( I emcee’d the concert). NCSU lost the game, but the concert was perfect, with Glenn giving a running commentary for the folks attending. It was quite a night! When my wife and I helped sell Glenn’s cd’s at a Concert He did at The Johnny Mercer Theater in Savannah, GA, he remembered that concert so many years ago. We’ll all miss Glenn, and his music will go on FOREVER.


  4. My first “meeting” with your dad was at Bard College over the phone when I was homesick for Wyoming. You had him sing a tune that had something to do with Wyoming. Of course, I can’t remember a single word, but I can still hear that voice and, more importantly, remember how I felt when he was singing to me. That man sounded like buttered popcorn with warm fuzzies all wrapped up in it! (I believe I even offered to become your step-mother) I’m so glad that he took the time to teach you his ways….and you do have so many little bits of him….and that his musical talents were part of his gene pool. Thank you for sharing him with us. My heart goes out to you over miles and decades.



  5. My family is part of the SCA (society for creative anachronism ) When my step father died mom took his cremains to a weekend event on Puget Sound, One of our group had made a small Viking ship replica about 3 ft long. His cremains were put on the ship and set to sea. As he was one of our best archers yes they did the flaming arrows. You might want to see if a local group could or would do that for your dad.


  6. 1960, long time ago…I was a newly wed and friends came over to play cards…They brought a record album. Come Share My Life…We cracked the seal and played it over and over for over 4 hours…At that point Holly, I never heard of Glenn Yarbrough. He was the and is the best singer I have ever heard..Not long after, he sang at the Opera House
    in Chicago. It was the first of about 30 times that I saw him. Met and talked to you Holly.
    What a pleasure that was…anyway, except for one extended 45 rpm record, we have every album your dad ever made. His music has been a 56 year habit for me and as Bob
    Hope said…Thanks for the memories……Thank you Holly for what you are doing….


    1. Hi Holly,
      I think you live in Atlanta. Every year, about middle of May, my wife and I drive to
      Jacksonville Beach Fl. to see my nephew and his family…Then to Chicago suburbs
      To visit family and friends. Then back to Az…..It would be nice to stop and see you
      If you would like…….Give a call if interested….home. 928 778 2512 or cell 928 899 3014.
      Thanks Holly for all. John and Marian Bresnen
      Ps….I sing…..would do some of your dads old ones like mermaid or That’s the way it’s
      going to be…bye


  7. Glenn Y’s voice was termed to be much like an angel … Leaving the Limelighters (1959-1963) took Him
    more than courage; Glenn spoke sincerely with heart-felt truths about a music industry most often interested in making $$; He had numerous loves and added to a family that seemed to encourage;
    His sailing was literally expression
    of a discerning soul in search of our better spirits; Our worldwide- active Olde Dartmouth Russells and Relateds in ‘I Also Am A Russell Family (who helped to co found the centuries of whaling out of New Bedford, Mass) honor him for all made manifest from a journeying heart; The various seeking, searching, caring as well as loving messages in Glenn’s vast singing messages will live on and on and on … Farewell Our friend,
    in memories of You there shall remain meetings tonight whether or not, Glenn Y, the rain falls or not !!!


  8. Always loved Glenn’s Music, especially back in the day when I was a “wannabe hippie” 🙂 Thanks for the Music, Glenn….see ya later…..


  9. I will most certainly stayed tuned, Holly. You dad and his music were very special to me during the space of many years–as I said before, I’m saddened for your loss, but I know Glenn is watching down on you with his love. You’ve been a devoted daughter. Hold onto the memories.


  10. a musician friend recently told me he played with the Limers for a couple of years in the early 80s…and to tell you the truth….I’m just a tad bit jealous…it must have a fun time.


  11. Holly, is it alright to share this with my Facebook friends? It is beautiful, and I can sometimes hear his voice through yours, in your song.


  12. Thank you so very much for sharing such a special moment with all of us. We were there in spirit..does that help.


  13. Holly, thank you for continuing to share. We look forward to hearing your song and more of your dad’s music and reading more stories in the future. (Your joint CDs “No One Is Alone” and “Family Portrait” are lovely-and seem especially poignant at this sad time.)


  14. The voice! I met him in Arnold, Ca. I have loved what he can do with a song since the 1960’s. May he be eternally blissful until he returns here again or Valhalla! I would assume the latter because I am sure he nothing to make up for in this last lifetime.


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