It’s been a while since my last music post, so I thought I’d share this bluegrass tune today. It’s one of my favorites. I always think of this song as the seasons change, and it’s in my head now, looking out at the blossoms and the newly green grass.
*I had planned to post a sweet song for Valentine’s Day yesterday, and then a poem today. But time got away from me yesterday, as it so often does, and well, here we are. So, here’s a sort of love poem, and a video of me singing some Gillian Welch by the fire. I hope you enjoy both! And if you’re in the US and in the line of fire – er, ice – with this latest winter storm, stay safe and warm!*
I don’t need you, but
I’d like to meet you
It might be fun, Dear Someone,
to see where things could go,
but no, I’m not waiting for you.
See, I’ve got other things to do.
It’s a big universe, after all,
and who can say who meets who
Though I hope we do,
eventually, some time, someday,
whoever you are,
if by chance we stumble across each other
at some party or in some bar,
I’m open to the possibility.
It’s been sort of a strange day.
I stayed up way too late last night watching a meeting of my local Board of Supervisors, and woke up this morning feeling foggy and sleepy. No surprise.
I had some meetings and non-writing tasks to complete, and they went well. Always good, though they kept me quite busy.
I made way too ambitious a dinner for a Wednesday. It was tasty.
And I got some sad news, which is never fun, and which has me feeling pretty down.
And between all of it, I haven’t had much time to sit and write today. I don’t write every day, but I’m never super pleased when I feel like I can’t write, as opposed to just choosing not to. Anyone else feel that way?
Anyway, I’m just not quite myself today, I think. I don’t have any interesting thoughts or stories to share, and I’m tired. Some days are just that way, I guess.
On Friday, I’ll post some pictures of 2021’s first snow, but until then, enjoy this admittedly low-quality video of my dad, my uncle, and me playing one of our favorite songs at a little café in southwest Virginia. This is from a few years ago, but John Prine never goes out of style.
I know this isn’t a normal posting day for me, but y’all, my husband and I have been together for 12 years today, and I forgot until about 3:00 this afternoon.
On this day, 12 years ago, Graham and I basically looked at each other and said, “Let’s do this.” And here we are now, after all this time, married since 2013, living in our little historic house in our beautiful village with our needy pets and our embarrassingly extensive wine collection, and I have never been happier for anything in my entire life.
I can’t believe I forgot.
So, to make up for it, here’s a little Cole Porter, by way of Patsy Cline, for Graham. Note – no makeup, frizzy hair, don’t care. The most important thing is the love. I hope you feel it, too.
I just have no words after what I’ve seen and heard in these last several hours.
As I often do in times of stress and fear and sadness, I’ve turned to my fond memories, and to my family, and to music. So I thought I’d share a video with all of you of my dad and me playing one of my favorite songs. I’ve not performed this one in public since my grandfather passed away in 2015. He was a WWII veteran, and a coal miner. I am proud to be a coal miner’s granddaughter.
It’s hard to get through this song without tears now that he’s gone. But today, his legacy of strength and perseverance, of hard work and grace in difficult times, and his belief in a strong, fair and free America has kept me going.
Wherever you are in the world, whatever you’re going through, or dealing with, or healing from, I hope this brings you just a few minutes of joy and peace and comfort, as it has for me. Tonight, I’m sending all of the love I can out into the universe.
I hope tomorrow is a better, brighter day.
I have no gas left in my tank today. I stayed up until well after 4:00 a.m. EST watching election results come in, and right now, after several cups of coffee and way too much junk food, I am a drooling zombie. (I mean, not really, but if you looked at me and an actual zombie right now, it would be hard to tell the difference.)
And there are still valid votes to be counted, so I’m still watching. (And counting valid votes is decidedly, objectively NOT disenfranchisement or fraud, but that is a post for another day.)
Man, I’m so tired.
Anyway, I got nothing. I wish I had something insightful to say about the state of things, but I can’t seem to find my words today.
Luckily, even when I have nothing else, it seems I always have music. So, enjoy this (admittedly not super high quality) video of a friend and me goofing around and making some good noise, back a century ago in 2019, when things were still normal. Or, more normal. (Honestly, what even is normal anymore these days?)
My heart hurts today.
When I try to think of something to say about the passing of John Prine, I’m honestly lost for words. Which is funny, because he certainly never was. I don’t think we can overstate the importance of his music to the story of American songwriting. I don’t think there will ever be another one quite like him. I don’t think the world will ever be the same, now that he’s not in it.
If music comes to us when we need it most, then I’ve needed John Prine my whole life. His songs have stayed with me since I first heard them, when I was too young to really understand them. Now I’m in my thirties, and I still listen to them, sing them, think about them, every single day.
And when my dad and I play, we always play some Prine.
So, this one’s for John. Thank you for everything. I hope you’re exactly where you wanted to be.
I grew up in music. It’s how my family communicates, celebrates, mourns, loves, and just passes the time.
I spent my childhood in an area of the country famous for its country music history. I’m as formed by music and mountains as I am by the cells that build my body. Music is in my blood. My soul was nurtured by the sounds of guitars and drum sets and fiddles and banjos. What I’m getting at here is that the one thing that makes me who I am, more than anything else in my life, is music. My roots run deep and firm and, well, musical, in the brushy, misty mountains of Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee.
As they say, it’s Bristol, baby. Or, more aptly for this post, it’s all about Bristol, baby.
You might have been to music festivals, but you’ve never been to a festival quite like Bristol’s Rhythm and Roots Reunion. Bristol cemented its place in music history in 1927 with the Bristol Sessions, essentially the founding of modern country music. Since then (and long before), Bristol and the surrounding area has been a gathering place for musicians and music lovers to come together, collaborate, and celebrate. That’s what Rhythm and Roots is all about.
Once a year, Bristol, a city that spans Virginia and Tennessee, closes State Street and its side streets for several blocks. It sets up stages, brings in vendors for arts, crafts, and food, and invites musicians from all over the country to play for a three-day celebration of music and mountain culture.
There’s music everywhere. There are stages and musicians tucked into every corner. There’s a band in almost every bar and restaurant. From Friday through Sunday, once a year, Bristol becomes a little piece of melodious, lyrical, pickin’ and strummin’ Heaven. And it’s not just country music. You’ll find Americana, folk, classic rock, rockabilly, alt rock, bluegrass, jazz and ragtime, and even some Celtic flare. Music is a universal language, and Rhythm and Roots offers something for everyone.
I love Rhythm and Roots because it captures the spark that makes music what it is. Music is more than just sound waves. Music is important. Music is culture. Music is identity. Music is home, and as long as you never lose the music, you’ll always carry your home with you.
I’ve done cartwheels across State Street that carried me from Virginia to Tennessee, and I’ve stood many times in two places at once. I’ve spent some of my most memorable days in the green room and on the stage of Bristol’s impeccably restored Paramount Theatre.
I’ve lived in Northern Virginia for seven years. I’ve done my time in fast-paced, competitive jobs. I’ve commuted three hours each day. I think I fit in well enough here, now. But it’s not home.
Home is where the heart is, and my heart’s tucked safely away in the mountains where I grew up. I might have left them, but they’ve never left me. Every time I go to Rhythm and Roots, I’m grateful all over again that I grew up in the land of biscuits and gravy, Johnny Wood and fishing, flatfooting, porch sitting, moonshine, and music.