Tuesday, February 27, 2007

For the Fallen

Earlier today I was horrified at a story about a field full of young boys who were killed while playing soccer. (The story continues to change -- click here.)

My first thought, besides how horrifying this notion was as the mother of a 12 year old boy, is that if this were a field full of Christian boys, everything would have stopped in its tracks, the media would have been plastered with the news, and the world would have ground to a halt with grief thrown at them by CNN.

By the time I arrived home this evening and had a chance to take a look at the story, I had to run a search for it on MSNBC. Like it never happened.

Now, it could be that the story has indeed changed and that no boys were killed at all, as the link above suggests. Not today in that particular blast, anyway.

But there is no question that tens of thousands of children have been killed in this conflict. But I guess that because they're Iraqi children, they're considered....what? Expendable? Isn't that the only explanation? I mean, otherwise, any reasonable person, let alone the leader of the free world, would have called a halt to the carnage a long time ago. Right?
You there, in the White House. You're a mangy lot of miserable human beings to bring this war down around the heads of us all and not have the guts to say you were wrong and pull out. There has never been, and will never be, any real justification for this war in Iraq. You have brought unimaginable loss and grief to the world, and there is not a single thing to show for it. There were no weapons. Osama Bin Laden is still out there. And young American men and women are coming home without arms or faces or legs or as pieces put in boxes for their parents or husbands or wives. You are the shame of this nation, and we share the shame and the blame for allowing you to get away with it all this time.

You are despicable.

I do not have the faith as you do, Mr. President. But if I did, I would be sorry for you, because if there is such a thing as a reckoning, you will have yours, sir, you will surely have yours for this.
Tim O'Brien and Phillip Aaberg, Howdy Skies Music/Universal Music Pub/Big Open Music/ASCAP
The seeds of this war were sewn in our father's time
And every bomb will plant some more fear and hate
Let's break this chain of history before it gets too late
How many men will choose to run with the mad dog
How many more will have to die at his bloody hand
And who will shield our children from this plague that kills our land
I close my eyes and ears, don't want the news
I will not watch them play the scenes again
Don't ask me who's side I'm on, or what I think about it
Cause I don't want to play that game, I'm not buyin in
What do you need to get through the daytime
What do you need to get through the night
Who made these rules and who's to say who's wrong and who is right

Sunday, February 25, 2007

I'd Vote for This Nashville Cat

Last night I was up with the stomach flu, and so it was a good opportunity to catch up on my reading. One of the articles was the Rolling Stone piece on why Al Gore should run for president.

Over at Silly Humans, there's been a lot of talk about the possibility, and with Obama as the sideman. Now that would really be alright with me.

At about 70 percent recovered from my intestinal escapade, I hung out after the kids were in bed to watch just a wee bit more of the Oscars as it had stretched into songs. One was Melissa Ethridge's song Wake Up from Gore's documentary, An Inconvenient Truth.

No question about it, Al Gore is one of my favorite Nashville cats, and he's not even a musician (although his daddy was a fiddler). But he is an oscar contender, which I find hilarious considering how dull and pasty everyone thought he was.
But he's not. He's Southern, he's smart, he's very funny. I can forgive Tipper's affair with labeling if it means putting Gore in the driver's seat.

He throws his hat in the ring, and I'll throw a party for a WEEK.

But right now, I'm just gonna go to sleep. Because before too long it will be time to wake up.

Friday, February 23, 2007

For Katie, and Saying Goodbye

Katie, just this past Christmas.

Yesterday, my good friend Shameless Agitator lost a dear member of her family. Katie was only 10 years old but packed those ten years with a hundred years of joy for her family and friends. She was a fine little lady.

It was a sudden, very sudden, loss, and that's the very hardest kind. Here one minute, gone the next. It's frightening, unsettling, and so sad.

I will miss Katie, and my kids will, too. She was really a special little doggie. My son remembers her from when she and he were very young together, playing with our friends children.

Shameless's family is very special to us. We've all kind of grown up together. So when the losses start coming, they come to us all.

So this little song, a song I sometimes think of when I think of my mom, is for Shameless and her family, who has lost Katie, Grandma Cook, and little Amber, too. It's by Tim O'Brien, whose wonderful songs are full of shadow and fight and grief and joy and play. As Shameless said today, there's no way to cover up or distract from the pain. The only way is to work through it, and learn.

Much love to my sweeties and to anyone who has had to let go and say goodbye. In those sad hours, stretching on into days and darker nights, time passes and takes with it our pain in measured doses.

Time to Learn

The hand is cold that once held mine
I can't believe you've really left this world behind
I can wait and I can hope
I'll get over this in time
It takes time to learn when someone's gone for good
They're not comin' back like you wish they would
In the empty hours when you miss them so
Then it's time to learn to let them go
Your last hours we never knew
We never had a chance to say goodbye to you
Words unsaid and things undone
We'd just begun and now we'll never see them through
It takes time to learn when someone's gone for good
They're not comin' back like you wish they would
In the empty hours when you miss them so
It takes time to learn to let them go
It takes time to learn that you're gone for good
You're not comin' back like I wish you would
In the empty hours when I miss you so
Then it's time to learn to let you go
The hand is cold that once held mine

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Bluegrass Can't Fix This House, So I Called Kate Bush

As my friends Shadow and Shameless would advise, it's time to smudge.

Evidently, the excitement and vulnerability that come with the possibility of a new relationship -- albeit a bit sooner than I would have ever expected -- is a good way to find out just how deeply in the psyche you buried your last relationship.

In the last week, I've had two dreams heavy laden with symbol and in which the former lover appeared. Both were very strange encounters, and a significant amount of psychological power was wrangled. I seem to be on the losing side. In the first, I was in what was assumed to be his house with my children; I wound up getting caught off guard by repairmen to whom he owed money. In the second, a therapist of some sort came to my house -- which was also full of children at a late hour, and not all of them mine, including one who was selling candy for school -- to negotiate a truce over the phone, against my judgement. The therapist went about tidying my kitchen and putting away food while I fell asleep on the couch with the phone still connected to good old Commander Cody on the other end.

All I want to do when I go to sleep is sleep. Or, dream about cool songwriters trying to call me on my mobile phone. Or enjoy little chats with my mother. Or drive over bridges and water and sit at the edge of the ocean. That's what I usually do in dreams.

I do not want to tangle with the psyches of ex-lovers. And I do not want them coming into my "house" at night. If you can't say it to me in broad daylight, don't think I'll let you get away with it in the dark.

As I swirled about the house this morning I became increasingly annoyed at the disruptive nature of these night visits. I decided I needed to exorcise this demon. Bluegrass, for as much as I love it, would never cut it. I had a song in mind for the job and was delighted to lay hands on the cd that featured it. Appropriately enough, it's from the album The Dreaming by Kate Bush. Only Kate, allowing me to stay in touch with my inner witch, carries enough shadow to handle this burden.

This burden is inside. This burden is in my house -- in dreams, the house always represents the mind and its hidden powers.

This house is full of good things.

This house is just short of brilliant.

This house is full of shadow and light.

This house is full of love and hope.

This house is full of memory and mistakes.

This house is mine.

Get out of my house.

When you left, the door was
You paused in the doorway
As though a thought stole you away
I watched the world pull you away
(lock it!)

So I run into the hall,
(lock it!)Into the corridor
(lock it!)Theres a door in the house(slamming)
I hear the lift descending
(slamming!)I hear it hit the landing,
(slamming!)See the hackles on the cat(standing)

With my key i(lock it)
With my key i(lock it up)
With my key i(lock it)
With my key i(lock it up)

I am the concierge chez-moi, honey.
Wont letcha in for love, nor money.
(let me in!)
My home, my joy.
Im barred and bolted and i
(wont let you in)

(get out of my house!)
No strangers feet
Will enter me
(get out of my house!)
I wash the panes,
(get out of my house!)
I clean the stains away.
(get out of my house!)

This house is as old as I am
This house knows all I have done
They come with their weather hanging round them,
But cant knock my door down!

With my key i(lock it)
With my key i(lock it)

This house is full of m-m-my mess
This house is full of m-m-mistakes
This house is full of m-m-madness
This house is full of, full of, full of fight!
(slam it.)
With my keeper i(clean up)
With my keeper i(clean it all up)
With my keeper i(clean up)
With my keeper i(clean it all up)

I am the concierge chez-moi, honey
Wont letcha in for love, nor money
(its cold out here!)
My home, my joy
Im barred and bolted and i

(get out of my house!)(wont let you in)
(get out of my house!)
No strangers feet(get out of my house!)
Will enter me.
(get out of my house!)
I wash the panes.
(get out of my house!)
I clean the stains
(get out of my house!)
(get out of my house!)
(get out of my house!)
(get out of my house!)
Wont enter me
(get out of my house!)
(get out of my house!)
(get out of my house!)(get out of my house!)
Yeah! wont let you in!
(get out of my house!)
(get out of my house!)

Woman let me in!
Let me bring in the memories!
Woman let me in!
Let me bring in the devil dreams!I

I will not let you in!
Dont you bring back the reveries.
I turn into a bird,
Carry further than the word is heard.

Woman let me in!I turn into the wind.
I blow you a cold kiss,
Stronger than the songs hit.

I will not let you in.
I face towards the wind.
I change into the mule.I change into the mule.
Hee-haw! hee-haw! hee-haw-hee-haw-hee-haw-hee-haw...Hee-haw! hee-haw! hee-haw!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Feeling Grassfunkel Groovy

Today on my way out the door, for no particular reason I grabbed a CD my beloved pal Shannon made for my last birthday. Among the tracks on "31 for 41" are many old favorites, from Sesame Street outtakes to Sondheim to Styx (yes, even MandoMama had a thing for grandiose 80s rock at one time), not to mention a titillating rendition of Viva Las Vegas! by the one and only Waaaaayne NEWton.

One of the tracks is a studio version of one of my favorite ditties, the "59th Street Bridge Song," aka "Feelin' Groovy." As I wandered through this wonderful homemade compilation, I wondered what some of these tunes might sound like bluegrass style, and I knew there had to be something out there to tell me.

There are lots of fun bluegrass retreads of old favorites. I think it will be fun to toss a few out here and there for your amusement and bemusement.

I wasn't able to nail "Feelin' Groovy" so I present instead another favorite song by the same duo. This instrumental cut of the duo's America is taken from Simon & Grassfunkel, a collection of bluegrassed-out Simon and Garfunkel hits by Grassmasters, an assortment of musicians including Tommy White and Andrea Zonn. The series features grasstakes on a range of artists from Fleetwood Mac to Bob Marley. It's fun for a change of pace.
The stuff of wandering from place to place looking for what will make it all work, and realizing it isn't helping, makes this hit a great American ode. How many of us, myself included, really believe that if we could just get here or there, everything would work, people would be different, and we'd finally have the life we're supposed to have? I think we all do, at some point, and despite the truth I intend to follow that urge to plow along toward some unknown destination due South. Wherever it is you believe you are headed, take this song, and some other great old hits, with you. Can't hurt. Besides, you can't smoke on the bus anymore, so you'd better have an iPod.
Hope you're all feelin' groovy.
let us be lovers we'll marry our fortunes together
Ive got some real estate here in my bag
So we bought a pack of cigarettes and mrs. wagner pies
And we walked off to look for america
kathy, I said as we boarded a greyhound in pittsburgh
michigan seems like a dream to me now
It took me four days to hitchhike from saginaw
Ive gone to look for america
Laughing on the bus
Playing games with the faces
She said the man in the gabardine suit was a spy
I said be careful his bowtie is really a camera
toss me a cigarette, I think theres one in my raincoat
we smoked the last one an hour ago
So I looked at the scenery, she read her magazine
And the moon rose over an open field
kathy, Im lost, I said, though I knew she was sleeping
Im empty and aching and I dont know why
Counting the cars on the new jersey turnpike
Theyve all gone to look for america
All gone to look for america
All gone to look for america

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Love is a Tanglewood Tree

I can't put my little Valentine series to bed without a song from what is perhaps my favorite musical couple. Now separated by death, they still touch the world with their songs, and she continues on in her path in the retelling of songs and rediscovery of herself without her life and musical partner.

The work of Tracy Grammer and Dave Carter grabbed me about five years ago -- when my own mind was starting to turn back to music and to the condition of my life -- and hasn't ever let go. I was late in discovering them, just a bit too late. A friend had shared with me the story of Dave Carter's untimely death following an afternoon run, just before the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. Suddenly the world was without this voice with so many songs unwritten and unsung. And Tracy Grammer was without the gentle soldier of her soul.

Tracy is continuing on in her work, sharing her own interpretations of his songs, other songs, and her own songs. And she also bears his legacy proudly. Dave Carter was a troubadour in every sense of the word, an American balladeer folk hero in the making, a poet, a prophet, a voice unlike any other.

I love the songs of David Carter, who chose Tracy to be their voice. I love listening to them together. I hope someday I can raise my voice alongside a musical partner in some of these songs.

Their songs about love were never simple or uncomplicated. Like life, real human love
can be complicated. It's not the low-hanging fruit, but the more ripe and full delicacy up six or seven limbs and beyond a few spiny thorns that may extend and retract without warning.
Tanglewood Tree is the title track from their second release. It speaks to the need for authenticity in love, not the fluffy pink stuff of the Hallmark holiday, but the rich fertile fecund stuff out of which grows our better nature. This clip gives you a good long taste beginning at the bridge, and illustrates how the last verse goes with the double-lyric.
May you find yourself caught in the sweet tanglewood tree of things not simple, but real.
love is a tanglewood tree in a bower of green
in a forest at dawn
fair while the mockingbird sings, but she soon lifts her wings
and the music is gone
young lovers in the tall grass with their hearts open wide
when the red summer poppies bloom
but love is a trackless domain and the rumor of rain in the late afternoon
love is an old root that creeps through the meadows of sleep
when the long shadows cast
thin as a vagrant young vine, it encircles and twines
and it holds the heart fast
catches dreamers in the wildwood with the stars in their eyes
and the moon in their tousled hair
but love is a light in the sky, and an unspoken lie
and a half-whispered prayer
i'm walkin' down a bone-dry river but the cool mirage runs true
i'm bankin' on the fables of the far, far better things we do
i'm livin' for the day of reck'nin countin' down the hours
i yearn away, i burn away, i turn away the fairest flower of love, 'cause darlin . . .
love is a garden of thorns, and a crow in the corn
and the brake growing wild
cold when the summer is spent in the jade heart's lament
for the faith of a child
my body has a number and my face has a name
and each day looks the same to me
but love is a voice on the wind, and the wages of sin
and a tanglewood tree
(Sung alongside the last verse, above)
love's garden of thorns, how it grows
black crow in the corn hummin' low
brake nettle so pretty and wild
and thistles surround the edge of the
dim dark hour as the sun moves away
lamenting a lost summer day
who nurtures the faith of a child
when nothing remains to cover her eyes?
my body has a number, maybe my face has a name
each hour like each hour before
this longing is a voice on the wind
she cultivates the wages of sin
in a tanglewood tree

Friday, February 16, 2007

Valentine to Music

I got a really sweet note today from my pal Jawbone. It had some true meditative delicacies and I wanted to share a bit here because I had an extraordinary evening getting outside the bluegrass box.

Jawbone shared:

Even the dull mind travels far on the wings of music.

Instantly the mind, inspired and set free by music, travels all over this round Earth, surveying with sympathy it's achievements and sorrows,and flies away from this Earth into the mysterious depths and distances that thought alone inhabits.

He [or she, he wrote, for my sake] who writes or interprets great music is a teacher, a builder, a true friend of humanity.

Tonight I had the extreme privelege of hanging out with a couple friends and taking in a most unusual concert dedicated to Frank Zappa. The concert was presented and performed by a new-ish Cleveland ensemble called
Red {an orchestra} -- a highly skilled collection of musicians devoted to push the boundaries of what classical music is for folks. The program included pieces by Varese, Webern, and Shostakovich -- not at all the usual orchestra- going fare. The capper was the selection of pieces by Zappa himself. Zappa fancied himself a composer but never felt his music would live up to orchestral standards.

I hope he enjoyed tonight's concert from wherever he was.

To go back to the quote from Jawbone, I find that, with the exception of my children, there is nothing more invigorating to me than music. Sitting in Cleveland's old Masonic Auditorium tonight -- a structure which housed The Cleveland Orchestra for a time and also was home to its earlier recording sessions -- Jawbone's words scrolled across my mind as I listened to seasoned musicians pair off with members of the Cleveland Youth Orchestra in a piece by Stravinsky, who himself was booed to shame when Rite of Spring premiered.

I love bluegrass because it's for everyone, and everyone can do it. But all music has meaning to me, whether it's on a more complicated level intellectually or something so simple as a Sally Goodin.

Music is entering more and more of my conversations -- and not just because I bring it up. The world is full of closet musicians -- and not just the ones who play air guitar.

The world is hungry for music.

But music is waiting to be devoured.

Devour your love.

And tell me how it goes.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

My Secret Valentine

This was not a typical day of any kind, much less Valentine's Day. The weather here in Northeast Ohio wreaked havoc all across our little world. I feel like I've been working a 24-hour shift -- working at home, with children, is DEFINITELY NOT LIBERATING.

But what has been liberating is that a few days ago, I got a Valentine. A really heartfelt Valentine. It was a stupefying, enormous gesture of hope. I was entirely unprepared for it.

That bothers me. But it's real. I've had my angry head so far up the ass of heartbreak and confusion that in some corners of my heart there is no daylight behind doors I kept closed. I live in fear that someone will open them. So I'm turning into the person who left me on the discard pile, and that's a fate worse than any death I can imagine.

What a wonder. Can I tell you what a wonder it was to find this person making an extraordinary reach across an abyss that I cannot describe here? It was nothing short of a pure and beautiful act of bravery, wit, and boundless optimism.

What possibilities have I been overlooking? Something tells me that behind those closed doors are perishable goods.

A little less than a month ago I had the privelege of catching the Iris Dement show at the Beachland. Her songs bear this beautiful simplicity and almost jagged honesty at the same time, making them just irresistable.

This one made me cry. There I was, standing in the standing-room-only Beachland beside a young local impresario who joined me there to talk about musical possibilities in the region, weeping quietly to myself.
Because at the heart of this song is the thing that keeps me from being ready when a man reaches across the abyss to touch my heart. And it's the same thing that produces the fear that stops people from making that reach. But at some level hidden from my ego, making contact was imagined, wished for, even.

So this Valentine, almost a hymn, is for me, and for him, and for everyone who has been through it so many times that you can't bear to try anymore. But you can, and you will.

When my mornin' comes around, no one else will be there
so I won't have to worry about what I'm supposed to say
and I alone will know that I climbed that great big mountain
and that's all that will matter when my mornin' comes around

When my mornin' comes around, I will look back on this valley
at these sidewalks and alleys where I lingered for so long
and this place where I now live will burn to ash and cinder
like some ghost I won't remember
When my mornin' comes around
When my mornin' comes around, from a new cup I'll be drinking
and for once I won't be thinking that there's something wrong with me
and I'll wake up and find that my faults have been forgiven
and that's when I'll start living
When my mornin' comes around

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Sister Valentine, I Believe in Love

Next up on my list of Valentines is a woman. Yes, a woman dear to my heart.

It's my sister.

She's the grooviest, smartest, bad-assed gardener sister anybody could ask for. As much as I adore my brothers and all their families, there's really nothing like having a sister. And there's really nothing like having a sister like mine. And we have daughters, three weeks apart, a situation that sweetens the deal even more.

She has been through a helluva lot, and she's helped me through some tough times, too. The beauty of us, as readers who are fortunate to have a similar sister connection know, is that we always seem to be able to meet each other where we are. She always has a helpful perspective, a useful way of reframing a situation, and sometimes just that sisterly validation does the trick.

My little sister has been especially critical these last few weeks. I've been stuck. She and Shameless Agitator and other close companions have been part of a short little sidetrip I've taken and during which I got a bit lost. Now I feel I'm coming round back in the right direction, and that all good things are possible.

This song is from the Indigo Girls' new release, Despite Our Differences. A serious appreciation of the songs of these two women are among the zillion things my sister and I share in common, and the recording was a gift from her at Christmas. I Believe In Love is a sort of redemptive, safely in a new place kind of tune. It feels like the right place to leave things, if you know what I mean, the right way to leave things, and that's what I'm doing this Valentine's eve. And it's exactly the kind of tune that helps my sister and me get past that last little rough patch on the road of trouble. That, and having each other to lean on.

Thanks, A. I love you.

When we tried to rework all of this
Each to her rendition
Painted ourselves in a corner
Lost for ideas blindly fishing
For a compliment or kindness
Just to bring us into view
But you could not interpret me and I could not interpret you
I remember that cold morning
When the trees were black with birds
I tried to make out some connection
We were at a loss for words
After all that we've been through
I could not see giving up
Despite the picture of our coffee growing colder in the cups

I want to say that underneath it all
you are my friend
And the way that I fell for you
I'll never fall that way again
I still believe despite our differences
that what we have's enough
And I believe in you and
I believe in love

So we went rolling on down through the years
Taking time off we could steal
Until the thief of things unreconciled
Stuck it's stick into the wheel
Now we're tumbling in a freefall
No one's gonna go unscathed
But it's not because you held back and its not how I behaved

I want to say that underneath it all you are my friend
And the way that I fell for you
I'll never fall that way again
I still believe despite our differences that what we have's enough
I believe in you and I believe in love

There are avenues and supplements and books stacked on the shelf
Labyrinths of recovery in search of our best self
But most of what will happen now is way out of our hands
So just let it go and see where it lands

I want to say that underneath it all you are my friend
And the way that I fell for you
I'll never fall that way again
I still believe despite our differences
that what we have's enough
I believe in you and I believe in love
I believe in you and I believe in love

Monday, February 12, 2007

Monday Valentine: To the Best, and the Lady with the Camera who Shot 'Em

My pal Stephanie Ledgin has had a phenomenal career that has brought her up close and personal with all of Bluegrass music's leaders and legends.

Author of two books on bluegrass and hoping to give birth to a third in about nine months, she is bluegrass living history on legs. And she does a bang up job of passing on what she knows to the rest of us with her easy style and welcoming spirit.

And now, she's made her YouTube debut! Click on this link to see some great images inside From Every Stage and to hear a good tune while you're at it (Black Mountain Rag or Black Mountain Blues). The book features some great stories about the people and the pictures themselves. If you love this music, you'll have to have this beautiful book. (Makes a great Valentine's Day gift for the music lover love of your life!)

Sunday, February 11, 2007


I didn't finish up my Sunday Bluegrass Sermon last night because I got a little sidetracked...but it works out perfectly because my pal Mr. B over at Silly Humans has wished me a Happy Darwin's and Lincoln's Birthdays, which gets at the heart of what I started in on yesterday for my gospelgrass Sunday.

The last time I saw my father in law, he looked at me with that look that he gives his children.

The look says, in a loving but stern way, "So why aren't you going to church?" He had taken the children that morning, on the promise of Bob Evans afterward. Of course for him they behaved perfectly.

But after a brief attempt at reconnecting with the Church, including beginning the process of an annulment -- a privilege for which the Church expects me to exchange some $500 to tell me that in its eyes I was never married -- I just couldn't take it anymore. I couldn't take the veil of community. I couldn't stand the veil of equality. And I couldn't take the fact that never once, not once since the War had started, did a single person, from the pastor on down, stand up and pray for a single dead Iraqi mother or baby.

If an organized religion is going to stand for anything, it should stand against war. And since the Catholic Church has been universally silent on this issue but vocal about so many other deeply personal choices, I find myself simply unable to hold up the facade, even for my children.

There is a total lack of reason behind everything the Church does. It's a decrepit, mismanaged, oversized nonprofit institution run primarily by white men who take their marching orders from like the 12th century. Frankly, this is not the kind of institution I can get all warm and fuzzy about.

I wonder what Darwin might say of us today. Here we are, a scarcely successful species, hurling ourselves ever faster toward self-destruction except for the few of us holding on to something dear and meaningful in our tiny lives. What would he think of this war? What would he say of the meaningless drivel -- or worse, the deafening silence -- of churches all over the world where regards this unending armed conflict in the Middle East?

This little tune is from a great band called Eddie from Ohio. It's about just one of the many conflicts over there in the Land of Human Volcanic Activity. I realize it's a bit of a departure from the usual Gospelgrass Sunday but it's sort of a valentine to Darwin and to my circle of pals who help me feel that no, I'm not crazy, the fact that the Roman Catholic Church and any church can ignore this massive bloody conflagration across all of the so-called holy land is an abomination and humanity's disgrace.

Do unto others.

Thou shalt not kill.

Love thy neighbor.



In this city of peace I have seen none
and these ancient prophecies say we all will be as one
though the walls will hold the hatred in
your streets still call my name

oh, I bid you peace, jerusalem
these seven hills will be your resting place
our sons and our daughters
may never feel the grace

within the towers,within the halls of this town
this prodigal son has come full circle
one full circle around

our children will lay on your hills
our fathers will find us and comfort us still
blood of the centuries, you have seen enough
but there is a time for love within the towers,
within the halls of this town
this prodigal son has come full circle
one full circle around

(our sons and our daughterswill lay on your hills) jerusalem
(our fathers will find usand comfort us now) jerusalem
(our sons and our daughterswill lay on your hills) jerusalem
(our fathers will find usand comfort us then) jerusalem

Saturday, February 10, 2007

A Dedication (The Coltrane-Hartman Way)

This Valentine goes out to two very special people, my former in-laws.

Today my daughter and I made the (in)famous scotch cookies to send to my former mother in law. She loves them. They were a treat my great grandmother made, and today my daughter used her great-grandmother's cookie cutter to cut the dough into heart-shapes.

It's hard for me to imagine what it would be like to lose someone over the course of several months. This is cancer. I watched the family I work for lose the family patriarch, who to the end cried of our times, "They're still getting away with it!" Now I watch my children's grandmother's family fight the same battle, which she will probably lose in a month or two.

I've been unsuccessful in maintaining a lifelong primary relationship outside of my family. I have friends I've had for 20 or 30 years, but not a lifelong marriage. So it's hard to imagine staring the end of that in the face every day, or going to sleep every night hoping for one more day to do just that.

There may be a bluegrass song or two that does this justice, but this once, I'm going to turn to a master of romance, Mr. John Coltrane. No one who has ever heard this extraordinary jazz artist has not come under his spell. I had a great love once with whom we had pajama tutorials in jazz, which is something my ear is untrained to, despite all my schooling. The later Coltrane speaks so much to his life and his pain, but the ballads, Ah! the reward of his ballads are worth every second of effort to make time for them.

Coltrane was kind of a healer that way. Magic. This beautiful song is pure magic. It features Coltrane's divine sax playing and Johnny Hartman's velvet voice on the lilting melody. I have wanted to invoke the power of this song on a number of occasions, and I can think of no more fitting occasion than this Valentines Day for my former in-laws, two important people in my world who for more than 30 years have been parents and grandparents and partners and each other's one and only love.

I wish for them some magic in every single moment.
And I wish for you, readers, that all of us might find that someone with whom we can share a perfectly imperfect, fitting, can't-ever-turn-away, never-skipped-a-beat human love. Just once. For good.

(No lyrics this time. Just click, sit back, close your eyes, listen, and think on someone you love.)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

MandoMama's Dilemma: What Would He Say To Me?

Ah, reader, tis the season of looooove. That time of year when new couples wonder what's appropriate for Valentine's Day, more seasoned couples have expectations, long-time boyfriends stress over whether a ring should appear, and couples enjoying truly human love wonder what all the fuss is about.

Some of us, of course, are fresh out of love and just happy to be here. And I am, but I've got a problem. And it goes back to my inexperience as a "dater." And I sure do need your help.

First of all, y'all know I don't get "dating" -- it's a continuous cycling through of human relationships. It's gross, it's senseless, it's kind of shallow, and it's exhausting for people like me who make their living making connections. Not to mention, it's completely not my style. And I learned this, really, early last summer when I went through a hapless series of introductions. It was just totally exhausting and fruitless. The more I learned, the less sense it made to do any of this what one reader calls "risky social networking." Then of course I met somebody who it turns out I would adore. And of course if you've been reading you know how that story turned out -- you saw Titanic, right?

But here's where you come in. I've never had my heart broken by a "local." You know what I mean? I did date someone for a short time and we morphed beautifully into friends, but it never really felt like we were dating, so this is decidedly very different. I'm out of my area, here. And my dilemma is that, whether it makes sense or not, I really don't know what I'd do if I ran into the guy. Because, it was not a happy ending. At least it was not a happy ending on my side, in complete confusion and darkness. When this happened once before, the guy was 350 miles away, so I never worried about bumping into him at Tommy's or the Beachland or anyplace else I like to hang out.

Now I have no intention of not going out or to my favorite places or shows. In fact I damn near expect to be EVERYWHERE if we are going to get bluegrass up and running in Northeast Ohio. And the reality is that I don't recall bumping into him before, so why should I worry now? Not to mention, for crying out loud, I'm 41 YEARS OLD and this kind of thing shouldn't bother a single mother who's been through a loss or two, let alone one who is as fine a woman as I am, not to put too fine a point on it, eh?!

But weird things are happening. In the last week, he's popped up, twice, quite unexpectedly and accidentally more or less virtually this week, and I feel like I'm living on borrowed time before the real thing happens. I need to get right with this gig, and fast.

SO help me out, reader. What do I do? Of course the best answer is to continue to stay the hell out of his way, particularly if he's got another girl on his arm, a girl perhaps he was more ready, willing, and able to allow into his life. But what of that inevitable moment? Damn, I hope I look good, and I hope my band looks better, lol!

While you're thinking up the good advice I know you'll share with me, take a listen to this song by Mary Chapin Carpenter. It's really the perfect song. I don't need to write one about this situation because she's already done it. Enjoy one called, What Would You Say to Me? I look forward to hearing from you....

What Would You Say To Me

Mary Chapin Carpenter - Between Here and Gone

What would you say to me?
What would you say to me?
What would you say to me,
If we met one day?

On the street of broken dreams.
On the street of broken dreams.
On the street of broken dreams,
Not so far away

Would you offer me a smile?
Would you offer me a smile?
Would you stop and talk a while,
Or would you walk away?

Why would you wanna see?
Why would you wanna see,
Another tear from me?
It's just a game you play.

You're not the only one.
You're not the only one,
When all was said an' done,
Who had to hurt this way.

Well, take a walk around the town.
Take a walk around this town.
Collar up an' head down,
Against the cold and grey.

We're only strangers here. (Strangers here.)
We're just like strangers here. (Strangers here.)
Hearts full of achin' fear,
Whisper: "Come what may."

Time only goes one way.
Time only goes one way.
Time only knows one way,
And it ain't comin' back.

So when you remember me,
When you remember me,
Some might, tenderly,

Just remember that.

What would you say to me?
What would you say to me?
What would you say to me,
If we met one day?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Good Stuff, and Larry Rice, Comes Out of the Woodwork

Here's one for all you Larry Rice fans. I see you stop by for one reason or another and now hopefully here's a better one.

One of the disadvantages of iTunes -- and there aren't many -- is that you don't always get all the liner notes and who-plays-what and so forth, certainly not when you buy a song, but often not when you buy an album.

That happened to me the other day when I heard this great song on FolkAlley. I looked it up and the album just got these great reviews and I said, wellllllwhaththeHECK, I think I just gotta add it to my collection. And I did, and I'm really really REALLY glad I did, except that I don't have the liner notes.

The album is called Out of the Woodwork and features Tony and Larry Rice, and Chris Hillman and Herb Pedersen.
Native Californian Hillman is known to many of you as a founding member of the Byrds, whose first hit, Bob Dylan's "Tambourine Man," kind of ushered in the whole folk-rock thing. (If you want some rock band drama check out the wiki bio here. But then come back and read and listen, ok? Ok.)
Most of you know the Rice Brothers. Tony Rice is often mentioned here because his playing just doggone settles my soul down. His brother Larry, a mandolin player, died last year after a long illness, and by all accounts is missed a great deal. Banjo player Herb Pedersen began recording with Hillman in the 1980s and together Chris and Herb have made close to ten albums plus the work they did as two of the Flying Burrito Brothers. The duo will play The Kent Stage on Friday the 13th of April. I'll be stuck in the Nashville muck at the bottom of my sister's pond so I hope you catch the show for me.
As I was driving out to Kent the other night to the Stage, I was enjoying this recording and thinking, wow, so there he is, that's Larry Rice there on mandolin -- and vocals. And I thought of all the people who still stop by here because of an old post they found on Larry when he passed away. What a fool I am, I've been missing something pretty wonderful.
Larry also lends vocals on a number of the tracks, and tonight, on my way home late from a meeting and feeling a little tired and sad, it was such a great comfort to have him along singing and playing there beside his brother Tony. He does a cut of Richard Thompson's Dimming of the Day that just brings on the longing. (Thompson hits the Stage this Feb. 25 at 7 p.m.)
SO this album really is a find, and like its title came sort of "out of the woodwork" for me, like many of the best things in life do. The more I stop looking for answers and just keep on plugging away, the more pleasant the surprises come.
What caught my attention in the first place is a track called So Begins the Task. It's a Steven Stills tune, actually. Larry Rice gets the first solo, and I'm looking forward to spending some time with it and playing it over and over. I'll never be perfect but Larry knows I try.
And I do try. And sometimes, something good comes out of the woodwork.
And so begins the task
I have dreaded the coming of
For so long
I wait for the sun
To remind my body
It needs restin'
And I must learn to without you now
I must learn to give only part some how
Camping on the edge
Of your city I wait
Hoping someday
You might see beyond yourself
The shadows on the ceiling
Hard, but not real
Like the bars that cage you within yourself
And I must learn to without you now
I must learn to give only part some how
And I must learn to without you now
As I cannot learn to give only part some how
All of these cages must and shall be set aside
They will only keep us from the knowing
Actors and stages
Now fall before the truth
As the love
Shared between us remains...
And I must learn to without you now
As I cannot learn to give only part some how

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Old Joe Rock-A-Mah River Soul

Tonight, it's cold -- of course it's cold, it's been cold, and cold is about the first damn thing I've mentioned in the last six posts or something -- and while I wanted to spend a lot of time playing this weekend it's been hard to keep my fingers warm. So in honor of Superbowl Sunday I left the television off and pulled out my guitar instead of the mando. Bigger instrument, easier to play with cold fingers.

I played through a number of the tunes on Starch and Iron and a few other tunes and switched over to the third disc of the Sugar Hill retrospective set. I had a real itch to play that Darrell Scott song I love so much, You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive.

I kept playing it and listening and had it almost, but there was one chord I knew I was misfiring.

Finally a little voice inside said, "You knucklehead. Why don't you look up the tabs on that new thing called the Internet?"

Oh. Good idea, me. Thanks!

So I proceeded to google "Darrell Scott tabs," "Harlan tabs," "Darrell Scott You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive Tabs...." and on and on and I was getting nowhere.

And then I saw,
"Brad Paisley tabs..."


Let me walk you through a little bit of me and where I am headed in my life.

This is Brad Paisley.
Brad is a very nice big country music star who holds his guitar all funny and has to wear a big hat so people can see him in the back row of the stadium. I think he was also married to that Pucker-Faced Renee Z...that actress.

But Brad Paisley did not write that song. Darrell Scott wrote that song.

This is Darrell Scott.
Darrell is a large burly man with black hair and coal eyes. I've seen from a blanket in a grassy yard and from the third row at The Kent Stage, and in a workshop or two talking about his songs. Because, he writes songs, and lots of them that big stars get to sing.

Now, pull out your number 2 pencils and tell me which of these two performers I would be crushing on.


Ok, turn over your papers.

If you guessed Brad Paisley, you haven't been around me or my blog very long.

There is a point, here.

It just figures that I went out looking for Darrell Scott and all I got was Brad Paisley. Not that Mr. Paisley doesn't work hard and isn't very successful because he has some talent. But Brad Paisley is never going to capture my artists soul. He is a conduit, but at that, only a so-so conduit for the power and intensity of someone like a Darrell Scott.

I think of that fairy tale where the less pretty but more complicated of the two would-be suitors coaches and gives his words to the less capable, less creative man in order that the latter might woo and win the young lady.

I'm always going to be looking for Darrell Scott. I'll never be satisfied with Brad Paisley. I don't want someone who's uncomplicated or easy to understand or merely easy on the eyes or worst of all, wants to be sure me and my children are "taken care of." I'M taking care of them, and so is their father. I'm smart, I'm tough, and if there's a man for me he's older, smarter, tougher, more or less fearless, creative, creative, creative, hardworking, creative, and creative. And he has way more experience than I do. He probably isn't perfect, but he tries real hard, and he understands the role my love and anger and sarcasm and my laughter and my Crone play in unfolding my life and raising my children.

Eh, ain't no man like that.

But I sure do love Darrell Scott's songs. And I do love to listen to his voice. More than once his intense delivery has brought me to tears.

Here's a tune Darrell wrote that's on the new album of another favorite old guy I love, Sam Bush. I just can't stay in a bad mood when I listen to Sam Bush, even when he's singing a tough song like this (with his old buddy John Cowan, another one who made me cry, and Suzi Ragsdale). He represents a different kind of soul's angel to me. I'm grateful for both of them, because their music and their creative philosopies both teach me a great deal.

Enjoy one called, River Take Me from Sam's album, Laps in Seven. Click on the link to get the whole damn gorgeous thing from rhapsody. It is kind of a big sound, but I don't think you'll see anything like this at Jamboree in the Hills.

And Brad, I know I'll probably see you there this summer. I'll be the tiny speck with a Darrell Scott t-shirt on, about three rows back from the top of the hill. Thanks for singing Darrell's songs so even more folks can hear them.

It’s been rainy and windy for seven days straight I’ve been going to bed early and getting up late I look out my window and it’s one shade of gray My wife and my kids don’t have much to say A man out of work only gets in the way

Oh the river is rising now one inch an hour And tonight we’ll be lucky if we still have power But I’ve got a flashlight, an oil lamp and I’m ready to go And a fresh set of batteries for my son’s radio If the dam really breaks, least we’ll know where to go

River take me, river take me River take me far from troubled times River take me, river take me River take me far from troubled times

If I had a boat you know what I’d do? I’d float me and my family down to Baton Rouge I wouldn’t work in no factory I’d live off the land And live within means of my own two hands Dance Saturday nights to a Zydeco band

River take me, river take me River take me far from troubled times River take me, river take me River take me far from troubled times

Oh the river flows and a young man dreams And the river can drown you Or it can wash you clean It can take you away to some other place It can power your cities, carry your waste And give all that you drink a peculiar taste

River take me, river take me River take me far from troubled times River take me, river take me River take me far from troubled times

Oh, don’t look to me, I’ve done my time You see I’ve had too many dreams for this one heart of mine And I’ve stood on the bridge with the river below Feeling all of the sadness that a proud man could hold Oh the river is full but there’s no way to go

River take me, river take me River take me far from troubled times River take me, river take me River take me far from troubled times

Incredible lineup: Kenny Malone: Drums, Danny Thompson: Acoustic Bass, Dan Dugmore: Electric Rhythm Guitar, Steve Nathan: Organ, Dirk Powell: Fiddle, Accordion, Yell, Darrell Scott: Electric Guitars, Bouzouki, Mandolin, Percussion, Lead and Background Vocals, Suzi Ragsdale, John Cowan: Voices

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Gospel According to Grandma's Hands

(Just a heads-up: Blogger SUMMARILY MOVED ME to the New Blogger. SO I have no idea whether I face repercussions from that or whether this will work. Anyway.)

It was about 15 or 20 below here with the wind chill last night, and so of course it made perfect sense to go out. I ventured on over to The Kent Stage to catch the Livingston Taylor show.

What an unexpected perfect treat, and well worth braving the blistering cold wind.

It's not every day you get to hear someone as self-effacing and smart as Livingston Taylor, and I got to hang out from the second row. (There were a few songs where I do believe he INTENTIONALLY made me cry. But that's ok.) He's got a slew of stories to his songs, and some that have not been released yet will just have you rolling on your floor. Check them out at www.livtaylor.com.

Taylor ended the show with a powerful a capella rendition of this tune called Grandma's Hands. I think often we face our days wishing we had that old grandma wisdom that many of us have lost. Lord knows I absolutely have needed it (Crone wisdom!). The only grandma I knew died when I was about four years old, but I do believe my mother carried on quite well in her absence, and my kids, especially my son, have some pretty powerful memories of her.

I do recall on Sunday mornings, or sometimes Saturday evenings, I would join my mother for church beginning at around age 5 or 6. Sometimes we would pick up one of her friends, the wife of a prominent funeral director, whose grandsons I later went to school with for a time. It was Charlie Sr.'s hearse that carted away my father one morning. Little did I know then how those church visits and that last ride of my dad's might be connected somehow, but that's not a topic for this blog.

I remember very little about my grandma's hands, but I do remember my mother's hands, which had become a little misshapen with swelling and arthritis by the time she died. We never did much handclapping in church, but when a tune got her going, she sure did clap and stomp and whatever else she could. She loved all kinds of music, and bluesy soul and gospel was no exception.

Livingston grew up in North Carolina and now lives in Boston, where with the exception of the folks over at Rounder Records there ain't a whole lot of real gospel, just lots of those stoic pilgrim hymns (some of which have been gospelfied, if you'll recall.) This capper to his show was a real gift, and a nice way to honor this Gospelgrass Sunday. The version below at Rhapsody features Bill Withers. May you take a moment today to think on the things your Grandma taught you, along with the candy, or in my case, Adam's Clove Gum, she slipped you now and then.

Grandma's Hands

Grandma's hands clapped in church on Sunday morning
Grandma's hands played a tambourine so well
Grandma's hands used to issue out a warning
She'd say, "Liv don't you run so fastMight fall on a piece of glass
Might be snakes there in that grass"
Grandma's hands

Grandma's hands soothed an unwed mother
Grandma's hands used to ache sometimes and swell
Grandma's hands used to lift her face and tell her
She'd say, "Baby, Grandma understands
That you really loved that man
Put your faith in Jesus's hands"
Grandma's hands

Grandma's hands used to hand me piece of candy
Grandma's hands picked me up each time I fell
Grandma's hands well, they really came in handy

She'd say, "Hattie, don't you hit that boy
What you wanna spank him for?
He didn't drop no apple core"
But I don't have Grandma anymore

When I get to Heaven I'll look for
Grandma's hands
Grandma's hands
Grandma's hands

Look! It's Another Day!

The weather is a deep cold here in NE Ohio. It might be seven degrees, but feels colder. Yet the sun is out and brilliant against the snow, and the sky is crisp and blue.

Transparency. Sweet clarity.

Many of my friends have admitted to a fog over the last several days. Maybe it was the approaching full moon, or the fact that some of us were under the weather. But the power of the quickening moon is felt this bright morning for those who are able and willing to do the work of life.

Despite the unhappy moments and a few unhappy memories in my life, I am a happy person. I thrive on making things work, and I have beautiful family and friends that make that very easy. I love my job, my music, and I love the joy and excitement that takes over every new conversation I have about it, with everyone from complete strangers to my own children. I've been down a time or two but there is so much to do, I can't imagine not wanting to do it.

Here's to all the hard working dedicated people I know, who influence me in the best possible way, and encourage me to follow my passion and my talent. Here's to all of us who put our noses to the grindstone -- and love it. Here's to lifting the cup to life, even when it tastes bitter. Here's to beating the dragons, walking away from the not-so-Gladiators, giving it all back to the ones who tried to stop us.

After all, it's Another Day.

Another Day
by Tim O'Brien and Darrell Scott

Another DayFrom Traveler(Tim O'Brien and Darrell Scott, Universal Music Corp/Howdy Skies Music/Famous Music/Sheddie Songs/ASCAP)

This world is made with sweat and toil, pushing muscle and elbow oil
We can't lie too long in the shade, cause every day must be remade
Some days you fall some days you fly, but in the end we all must die
Our rotting flesh and broken bone will feed the ground that we call home
Feed the ground that we call home

But a new sprout grows from a fallen tree, my sons will go on after me
So lift your heart and dry your eye, it's another day to live and die
Another day to live and die

I've run naked in the wild, seen the beauty of a newborn child
Like the alchemists of old, I've tried to spin my straw to gold
Most times a giver, sometimes a thief, so full of hope but prone to grief Between freedom and despair, I know that truth is lying there
I've seen the truth, it's lying there

And a new sprout grows from a fallen tree, this world will go on after me
So lift your heart and dry your eye, it's another day to live and die

So go on now, don't you worry 'bout me, you've miles to go and a world to see
My life's been long and full and good, I've run this race the best I could
It's a short time here and long apart,
But the same song rings in both our hearts
So take my guitar when I'm gone, write your own rhymes, then pass it on Just take your hit and then pass it on

Let a new sprout grow from a fallen tree, this song will go on after me
So lift your heart and dry your eye, it's another day to live and die
It's another day to live and die, just another day

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Girl I Left Behind Me

I have a pretty miserable cold. I've tried taking just about every reasonable medication, but mostly it's just going to run its course. So I'm sitting here nestled with a wonderful cozy mug of mulled wine and thinking about the lovely, full Quickening Moon outside, here on the eve of Imbolc.


Earlier this week my beloved friend Shameless Agitator posted a wonderful passage from a book called Dancing in the Flames: The Dark Goddess in the Transformation of Consciousness by Marion Woodman. In the passage, Woodman talks about a woman's psyche as a three fold relationship to Goddess as virgin, mother, and Crone. But, Woodman says, modern women lack a reference to the Crone. She's been hidden away, drowned out. Why? She's past her prime and too honest. So she ends up like most women like her. Like me.

From Shameless's post, Woodman writes:

The Crone in a woman is that part of her psyche that is not identified with any relationship nor confined by any bond....The Crone speaks with the sharp truth that shocks and alarms others.....When a woman stands her own ground, exercises discipline, or lays down her terms and conditions with “straight talk,” she speaks with the voice of the Crone.....One day we are surprised by the sound of our own voice coming straight from its ground in our body.

(Click here to see Shameless's post on the subject and enter into her journey.)

I am squarely at the threshold of the stage of the Crone chronologically in my own life, but in many ways I've always identified with her at least a little. There is a scene you may know from Cold Mountain in which Inman is rescued from almost certain extinction by an old mountain woman. Her wisdom and her skill in connecting with his nature, the Mountain's nature, the nature of all things is Crone wisdom. She is able to put things into perspective for Inman in a way that gives him his first real rest during his passage.

Each time I go through a passage of my own, the time of healing comes more quickly because I have learned to rely on my own young wisdom, the learnings of everything I've seen and done, and the deep wisdom that is contained in much of the music I love. One of the things I love best about old fiddle tunes is their blazen, irrepressible, sharp honesty. There is a depth of spirit in some of my favorites that helps me to find my center and see exactly what I need to see. I'm sure you have music like that for yourself.

Our lives contain wisdom that we just need to tap into. In my life, I have given birth twice, lost two other babies, lost both parents and many other loved ones, lost a marriage, loved and lost again and again. But through it all I gained a step toward understanding my real nature. Part of that was coming to this music.

I have said before that I have a great deal of experience musically. I was playing any number of little sonatas by ear as a young girl, had years of musical training, sang in a professional choir at the age of 15, suffered through endless juries and recitals and "drop the needle" tests, worked at one of the world's top-rated orchestral ensembles. Nonetheless I know I'm perceived as "niche"; as one recently exorcized influence mockingly remarked, "[Bluegrass] is all you ever listen to!" This isn't entirely true, and if it were, who cares? In other professions, such as law, or medicine, or academia, you really only succeed if you specialize. It would be like someone asking him, "Why is it that setting broken bones is all you ever want to do?"

For all the elegance in classical repertoire, I can't find the Crone in it almost anywhere. In some of the earliest music that I love, there is a sort of courtly stateliness, but nothing that matches the ribald authenticity of the mountain Crone spirit found in the fiddle tunes and ballads of Appalachia.

There are plenty of "Crone" figures I admire and from whom I draw power. Balladeer Jean Ritchie. Bluegrass pioneers Ola Belle Reed and Maybelle Carter. Songmaster Hazel Dickens. The power of their music and their influence is all befitting the power of the Crone, and their singularity, their ability as women to forge into areas that were unpopular or unfeminine then lingers today. Crone is considered odd or inappropriate or unpopular because culture has painted her that way. It's hard to accept a sort of unbound, ungendered, uncompromising female power that has no interest in threatening you.

My friend Jawbone turned me on to a recording that I was smart enough to acquire this last couple of weeks. It's a collaborative effort by Rayna Gellert and Susie Goehring. Starch and Iron is produced by Dirk Powell, who writes of the duo's powerful and mesmerizing playing style in his notes for the recording. Susie's powerful guitar accompaniment and singing complement Rayna's driving powerful fiddling perfectly. (Rayna is known to some readers as a member of that fabulous old-timey women's band, Uncle Earl.)

This Girl Friday I want to share with you this track from Starch and Iron, called The Girl I Left Behind Me. (A different version is among the fiddle tunes that Laura, Mary, and Carrie Ingalls heard as young girls.) That little longhaired girl I was, running across acres in Jefferson County is unleashed in this tune and united with the wisdom and grace of my emerging Crone in the lines in this powerful and unapologetic tune. (Go to this link and on the right hand side under "TRACKS" click on the second track to get the MP3.) It weaves in and out of its minor framework with major cadences, which heightens the tune's intensity. It's the perfect Southern Mountain music to welcome February's midwinter moon swollen with the influence and promise of unstoppable honest life.

That's how I wish always to be, no matter how old I get, and regardless of whether you personally find it beautiful or gracious. If you can't handle my music, stay off my porch!

(Please support Rayna and Susie's work which is a tradition in their families and a tradition of our musical heritage.)