Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Church Street Blues

I decided to spare you all the article trying to write itself about bluegrass pedagogy, and instead just share this Norman Blake tune. There's a street in Twinsburg called Church Street, and it's sort of symbolizes this perfectly neurotic confused little town. I have a friend who works in a gingerbread house right on the square there on Church, and I think he should have this song.

Times are tight for a lot of people I know, myself included. It's often a skate on thin ice. People who talk like they have it tough but who aren't and probably never will be really shouldn't ever talk like they want to be in those shoes.

On the other hand, I'm reminded almost hourly how rich I am in a lot of other ways, and grateful that I have passion for music and for living.

This tune by Norman Blake, sung beautifully by Tony Rice, is about those times where it's just kind of hard, and you wish things were a little bit different. Day by day, I'm learning to sing through those times, to step back and smile and say to myself, I'm mighty glad to be here and I wouldn't miss it for anything. I'd venture to say that's how Tony feels, even though he can't quite sing like this any more. I look up to him not just as a performer but as a human being who doesn't wear his many, many difficult battles on his sleeve but instead just plies his trade and gives us the fruits of his labor of love.

That's a way to be.

Church Street Blues

Lord I been hangin' out of town in that low down rain
Watchin' good time Charlie friend is drivin' me insane
Down on shady Charlotte Street the green lights all look red
Wish I was back home on the farm in my feather bed.

Get myself a rockin' chair
To see if I can lose
Them thin dime hard times
Hell on Church Street blues.

Found myself a picker friend who's read yesterday's news
Folded up page twenty-one and stuck it in my shoe
Gave a nickle to the poor my good turn for the day
Folded up my own little folder threw it far away.

Get myself a rockin' chair
To see if I can lose
Them thin dime hard times
Hell on Church Street blues.


Lord I wish I had some guitar strings
Old Black Diamond brand
I'd string up this old Martin box and go and join some band
But I guess I'll just stay right here just pick and sing a while
Try to make me a little change and give them folks a smile.

Get myself a rockin' chair
To see if I can lose
Them thin dime hard times
Hell on Church Street blues.

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