Power of Music

John McCutcheon last night at the Country Store told about the time in his early 20s when he set out on a three-month “self-study” of the banjo players of Southwest Virginia.

Some of those he ended up visiting with were student-friends of mine, jamming in the snack bar at Wytheville Community College.  I was new faculty, 27 at the time; he would have been 23.

Our kids grew up with his music–in particular, the Birthday song, which he noted last night was written by Floyd resident musician, Tina Liza Jones.

The most enthralling  moments in his rich and varied story-telling and performance came from the hammered dulcimer–at which he is certainly one of the most gifted musicians of our times.

Serving suggestion: just LISTEN. Don’t watch. Submerge yourself in the music–of Leviathan.

A Solution for *CMS Disease

IMG_0293Lonesome480

What th’ WHAT?

The answer to writer’s block, I’m afraid. Trolling through the few images from the past month this is the one that was by far the most unusual.

I confessed a few blog posts back (which at one time would have meant a few days and lately a few weeks) that I had pulled the guitar out of moth balls. I’m pulling lyrics and chords of the Internet. That’s the easy part.

But remember chords and words at the same time–a bit more of a challenge. So I need memory aids.

I won’t make you suffer by tying to guess what these quick crude scribbles represent the words for. Let’s just say the iPad, the app called ProCreate and a few minutes of time have worked together so that I’ll never forget the words to “I’m So Lonesone I could Cry.”

Whippoorwill | too blue | midnight train

Night so long | Time crawling by | moon behind cloud

Robin Weep | Leaves die | Will to live

Falling star purple sky | wonder where you are

I could have used the word prompts, but my brain–and apparently many folks–remember images easier than mere words.

So now all I have to recall is the blue whippoorwill,  clock at night, crying robin and purple stars. The second part of each verse springs automatically from the first.

You’re welcome.

*CMS: Can’t ‘member shtuff.

 

 

The Other Rail to Trail: NRV Trail

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Sort of a busy week ahead, with many hours of sitting in metal folding chairs. Committee animal this boy is not, and yet I will be because it is required. Hopefully the human end can tolerate the required hours to achieve the organizational means.

At the end of the week, on the other hand, I expect to be entertained in pleasant surroundings–by Wayne Henderson and friends.

And to visit Draper Merchantile for the first time. [Directions]

The occasion a celebratory focus on the New River Trail–a 57 mile linear bike park that for a good bit of its length follows the New River.

I confess, with regret, that other than walking a few miles on it, I have never really explored this regional jewel–another reclaimed rail bed available for all kinds of recreation and study.

So I’ll be there this Sunday. Click the image to see the larger version for details. See you there!

Footloose at FloydFest12: Nature Hikes

FloydFest Nature Hike

First the bad news: FloydFest 12 is sold out. The good news is that you’ve got your tickets. Right?

I don’t think I had any Fragments readers on my several hikes at FloydFest last year, but you never know, so I thought I’d let you consider putting that on your list for things to do-see-hear this year.

Frankly, I have pretty low threshold for crowds, noise and heat–which is pretty much a description of the biggest event on the Blue Ridge Parkway called FloydFest. Of course for the price of a ticket and the suffering (or enjoyment) of these ambient conditions, you do get a massive dose of people watching and a wide and constant spectrum of high-decibel music. It is, indeed, a happening.

So this year, I opted to lead just one hike–on Saturday the 27th–at 1030a departure. It begins at the Outdoor Adventure Tent (click to enlarge), whose peripheral location you can see on the map. (There will be, I think, a total of four hikes. Sorry I cannot send you to that information online.

It promises to be warm, maybe wet. Wear the right clothes, bring water and sunscreen.

The trail traverses the festival site to its eastern edge, crosses a broken-down boundary fence, and rambles through the rambling rose, greenbrier, and blowdown from an ice storm of some years ago (a great example of disturbed habitat with all its alien colonizers). The trail then moves up out of the gap onto the flanks of an extensive meadow grazed by cattle (which helps keep it from returning to forest).

While it is not a great time of year for wildflowers and not the most rich and diverse of locations to typify Appalachian summer botany, I think the 50 or so folks who joined me last year felt it was worthwhile.

I can wax eloquent for 45 minutes about the biology of a mud puddle, expound for an hour about the wonder of a lichen covered boulder. Everything is interesting if you hold your eyes and your brain-heart-soul just right.

See you there.

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Sweetlips Put-Down

For a change of pace I’m fleshing out this post via Postach.io–a beta blogging platform that works off of Evernote.

Since Evernote is where I create and curate my blog posts and related links (as many others do as well), makes sense that this might someday become a fleshed-out blogging medium.

So here’s a little snippet of trivia, if you’re so inclined, for a drizzly Sunday:

Sweetlips don’t take no crap from the likes of Jim Reeves (1960 country hit) and she did NOT after all, tell the man there with her he’d have to go.

Jeanne Black sings “He’ll Have to Stay” after Jim Reeves sings the contrary point of view.

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The Glue That Holds Us Together

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In light of the most recent evidence that we are a species capable of destruction and profound hatred, it seems more important than ever to reassert our potential to create and to love.

In the end, the power of love and trust and the good will win. It’s going to be a long, hard struggle. And maybe not in this lifetime.

And one force against the darkness is to hold up our better nature and the creations that come from it: creations in clay and stone,  melody and light, words and pixels. This is who we are–the part that will not yield to terror or tyranny.

So consider joining us Thursday night in Floyd to hold that candle to the night with music that has endured across world wars and wars of words and the acts of a few soulless, twisted wraiths that once were men.

[click the image to enlarge for detail, the order tickets online or get them from the Jacksonville Center or buy them at the door.]