Oddments: On Not Being Scots-Irish

Scots-Irish is almost synonymous with hillbilly in the US.  Scots migrated first from Scotland to Ulster (not Northern Ireland), then to the US, often entering through Philadelphia, walking west until they hit properly tilted country, then working their way down the Appalachian Mountains (at the time America’s “backcountry”).  But many Scots immigrants never detoured through Ulster.  More importantly, as David Hackett Fischer points out in Albion’s Seed, a large portion of that immigration wave were from northern England.  They weren’t from Scotland at all.

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Music Monday: Birmingham Jail by Chatham County Line

On September 15, 1963, four Ku Klux Klan members planted dynamite under the steps of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.  Martin Luther King, Jr. called it “one of the most vicious and tragic crimes ever perpetrated against humanity.”  The first prosecution didn’t occur until the next decade.  The next two until the next century.  One of the men was never prosecuted.  None received the punishment they deserved, but a more fitting punishment, perhaps, is that their diabolical act helped galvanize the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

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Country Noir: This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash

Country noir isn’t quite regional.  Or, rather, it is regional in that it is a subgenre that demands a sense of place.  But it isn’t tied to any particular region.  It does even really need to be set in the country.  You could (and someone really should) write an excellent country noir set in the former hillbilly enclave in Uptown Chicago.  That being said, the western half of North Carolina has provided the setting for a truly disproportionate number of quality country noir tales.  Ron Rash is the dean of the country noir oeuvre (fight me, Daniel Woodrell fans), but ably following in his footsteps are David Joy and Wiley Cash.

This Dark Road to Mercy is my first Wiley Cash novel (he has written three).  I found it a flawed work, but a thoroughly enjoyable one nonetheless and one that shows frequent flashes of brilliance.

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Music Monday: 2019 Playlist

It is (almost) time to wrap up 2019.  After posting 37 videos in 2018, I posted a full 60 (with one more to come) in 2019, despite taking several weeks off.

It makes for one heck of a playlist.  Check it out at the Hillbilly Highways 2019 Music Monday playlist on YouTube.

I will leave you where I started the year, with James McMurtry’s great traveling song Choctaw Bingo:

 

Music Monday is the brainchild of Drew at The Tattooed Book Geek.

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