March 12, 2014

Mountain Music

Whether you believe it's God or just being part of the universe, I think we all have a deep desire to feel connected to something bigger than ourselves. I believe it's God. And while I think everyone should be free to believe what he or she feels is authentic for them, I struggle to understand people who think we're all just here at random.

Maybe it's because I still feel so close to my family members who have passed away, but I often encounter things that recall them to me in such a way that they are almost present.

This happened the other night as I arrived home and heard a song playing on the radio. I always leave NPR playing for my dog when he's home alone and there is a great program on my local public radio station that plays every Saturday night called Mountain Jubilee (You can listen to it live online for free! but that's beside the point).

The song was Angel Band, performed by E.C. and Orna Ball, a pair of Virginia folk musicians. This is the kind of music that I grew up hearing and singing at the small country churches where my grandparents attended. The slightly nasal, twangy sound of it only adds to the experience. There was something about the lyrics and Orna's higher pitched voice that took me right back to the Sundays of my childhood, nestled up against my granny in the church pew, chewing on a stick of Juicy Fruit she had pulled from her purse.

I referenced this on the Southern Belle Simple Facebook page, and got many responses from folks who also had grannies, and sweet memories of them at church through the years.

How easily I take for granted these memories, until I meet someone who has no memory of a grandparent to think fondly on...or worse, people who feel disconnected from everything and lack any sort of cultural identity or heritage.

Maybe it doesn't matter to people as much as it does to me....this feeling of connectedness that ties us together across generations. Maybe I'm strange or weird to put as much importance on it as I do. I just don't know how to be any other way.

Here are a few examples of music that I really enjoy...the Angel Band song is on this compilation called Back Roads to Cold Mountain.Another great one is this, Come to Mountain: Old Time Music for Modern Times.