Reeling from the death of his wife of 72 years this past May, 96-year old Fred Stobaugh sought a way to deal with his grief and loneliness. Despite lacking any musical experience, he could hear in his head the song he wanted to sing to her—the melody, the lyrics, the longing refrain—just beyond his reach.
He jotted down the details in a letter he mailed to Green Shoe Studio, a production company that was hosting an interactive competition meant to spotlight YouTube videos by emerging singer-songwriters. Captivated by the letter, Green Shoe producer Jacob Golgan not only traveled to Bartonville, Illinois to hear Stobaugh's story, but set about working with him to put the words to music.
Their collaboration, “Oh Sweet Lorraine,” is reminiscent of Johnny Cash’s final album, American V: A Hundred Highways, which he recorded in fading health and in the shadow of his wife June's passing. Green Shoe went one step further, bringing in a professional crew to cut the track and give it some Nashville polish. That version is now available the iTunes Store and Google Play for 99 cents, with proceeds going to help support Stobaugh in the twilight of his life.
“She gave me 75 years of her life,” Stobaugh reflects in the film. “She was the prettiest girl I ever saw.”