Music Monday: Gone to Carolina by Shooter Jennings

Going home to North Carolina is always a bittersweet experience.  Sweet because it is always good to see family, friends, and the mountains.  To go somewhere “where I know I have a home.”  Bitter because it always ends way too soon, and I never get to see as many people or hike as many mountains as I want.

Still, a week in the mountains does the soul good.

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Music Monday: Whipping Post by the Allman Brothers Band

I’m a hillbilly, but I didn’t grow up listening to hillbilly music.  My parents were rockers.  Lots of Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton, Pink Floyd . . . and Southern rock.  If Southern rock ain’t hillbilly music, it’s damn close.  Southern rock is working class music that straddles the intersection of rock, country, and the blues.  Like outlaw country, Southern rock hit right when the hippie subculture ran out of steam and the country boys started growing out their hair and beards.  The Allman Brothers Band were the great Southern rock band (yeah, I said it), and Whipping Post is their greatest song.

Valentine’s Day is approaching, so I owe you something romantic.  What better than some of my parents’ music?

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Music Monday: Straw in the Wind and Uncle Lloyd by The Steel Woods

One of the beautiful things about Cormac McCarthy’s fiction is his choice of setting.  Whether my home of rural, southern Appalachia or my wife’s home(ish) of the Texas-Mexican border, Cormac writes about people who fight and love with equal vigor.

If you’re going to sing country music (and, make no mistake, Southern Rock is as much country music as it is rock), then your songs will live and die by your ability to tell the story of two things: violence and love.

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Music Monday: Was It 26 by Chris Stapleton

Last week I talked about a great song that is special to me because of what it means in relation to my relationship with my dad.  Today I talk about a great song that is special to me because of what it means in relation to my relationship with my sister.

I wasn’t exactly doing poorly in my mid-20s.  I had a good job and a bad girlfriend.  I was self-sufficient and away from home and didn’t want much more from life.  But I was spinning my wheels.

My sister called me on a Sunday night.  I didn’t get the message because my cell phone’s voice mail was jacked up for whatever reason.  My mom called and left me a voicemail Monday evening.  It spurred me to reset my voicemail password.  I listened to the voicemail from my sister, deleted it.  It was the last time I ever heard my sister’s voice.

All my mom’s voicemail said was, “It’s your sister.”  The quiver in her voice said the rest.  I was 25.

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