March 2019 Month-in-Review

Check out the most popular posts at Hillbilly Highways in March, learn what I’ve been reading, and see why I think I may have a steel guitar player on my hands…

Every Day Should Be Tuesday

I only thought real life would slow down for me in March.  But where one aspect slowed down, I was playing catch up everywhere else.  I did manage 18 posts, right in between the 21 in January and 15 in February.  I really would have preferred to get a couple more out.  I still have a backlog of EDSBT posts, especially my Game of Thrones season-by-season reviews.

My great Game of Thrones rewatch continues.  A big break at the beginning of the month and another big break at the end of the month put me behind, but I still have high hopes of finishing before the final season premieres on April 14.  If an HBO subscription on Hulu Live works out,[1] I plan on bringing back my weekly recap posts.

The really big news, though, is that I started a new Facebook group as an adjunct to Hillbilly Highways…

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Music Monday: Side Pony by Lake Street Dive

It’s hard to believe I have quasi-successfully shepherded a tiny human through an entire year of life (well, a year after my wife did all the work for the first nine months of her life).  no-angel is sweet and silly.  Weirdly so, given her people on both sides run more to dour and ornery.  She is a mountain of a baby, tough as nails, and has the strong, careful hands of a skilled tradesbaby.  She is also known to rock a side pony.

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Movies: Black 47

In the year of 1845 a terrible famine descended upon Ireland.  Within a few short years, 1 in 4 of our people would be gone forever—fled to England or North America . . . or dead from starvation or fever.  Irishmen who had enlisted to fight for the occupying British crown in its foreign wars returned home to find only death and destruction in every corner of the land.

Black 47 is a vigorous, stylized revenge thriller-cum-historical drama.  An “Irish Braveheart” isn’t quite a fitting label, for reasons I will get into below.  A top-notch neo-western, Black 47 is more an “Irish The Outlaw Josey Wales.”

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Oddments: Announcing the Gravel and Guts: Grit Lit and Country Noir Books Facebook Group

Announcing the Gravel and Guts: Grit Lit and Country Noir Book Facebook group:

Hillbilly Highways already has a Facebook page.  You can find it here.  But Facebook pages are, frankly, a crude tool. Groups in particular are much better for conversation.  So I have started a Facebook group focusing on the same sort of gritty stories I talk about here.  You can find it here.

Check out the relevant passage from the description:

Home for all things grit lit, hick lit, rough South, country noir, Appalachian noir, Ozark noir, hillbilly noir, rez noir, neo western…even Southern Gothic.

Think Ron Rash, Daniel Woodrell, Cormac McCarthy, William Faulkner, Charles Frazier, Bonnie Jo Campbell, Flannery O’Connor, David Joy, Brian Panowich, Robert Parker, Joe Lansdale, Tom Franklin, Frank Bill, Smith Henderson, Taylor Brown…

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Nonfiction: Appalachian Reckoning, Hillbilly Elitism by T.R.C. Hutton

Appalachian Reckoning is a collection of essays and creative material responding in one way or another to J.D. Vance’s bestselling Hillbilly Elegy.  Lord knows Vance’s book needs response.  This blog is, at least in part, a response to Hillbilly Elegy.  But I did not go into Appalachian Reckoning with high hopes,[1] and good Lord were my low hopes immediately dashed by the first essay—Hillbilly Elitism by T.R.C. Hutton.

Hutton violates Kant’s categorical imperative by using hillbillies as means, not ends.

That is one sin of which Vance is not guilty.

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