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It's hard to say sometimes where a song comes from but Jolene started with a casual conversation with Kim Thorne one day. We were talking about military planes flying low over our WV hills and she said, 'They were so low, they rattled the plates in my hutch." And the rest was history. What many of us don't realize is that the countryside, even in the hills of West Virigina, was dotted with small airports and local "barnstormers". Right near where we live one of those Barnstormers was killed. It was atop the hill in Arnettsville, WV. One of my local friends here told me this particular Barnstormer like to have a few nips before going up in his plane. This particular incident took place on the 4th of July and they had tied fireworks to the wings. Supposedly they had a battery in the passenger seat that a passenger was holding in his lap so he could connect a wire to ignite the fireworks. They did a loop with the plane ad the battery dropped out and hit the pilot in the head. They never completed the loop as they crashed into an oak tree on top of the hill. A few years back I remember seeing that oak tree out there standing by itself. I also met a man who had the propeller from that airplane. All of this helped influence the creation of Barnstormin' Jolene.
Some time ago while playing a show at Black Bear Burritos in Morgantown, WV I met a waitress named Ayla. She's a lovely, petite redhead with a charming personality. At the time she was a waitress (now a manager) and we all (the band) love her. Since Black Bear is a public establishiment and we live in a University town (West Virginia University) I imagined how many thousands of young freshmen would go to Black Bear for food and fall in love with Ayla. It would be unrequited love for sure but love none the less. These young men would be waited on by Ayla, who probably never gave them a second thought, while stealing their hearts as she brought their food to the table. Hence the pining, mourning song of love lost to Ayla, the rose of Black Bear Burritos.
Met Vince on High st. Morgantown on June 12, 2009, my birthday. I was playing music on the street with Scott Frederick and Vince came up to us with one of my homeless friends. He listened and chatted....nice guy. The next morning Vince was found dead down by the river in front of the ampitheatre. His sister said he was bi-polar and couldn't get his meds and lost his job. He was probably self-medicating at the time of his death - who knows. But with the right help he might have been a survivor. When I played this song at the Blue Moose, one of his friends gave me his hat. It still hangs in my office. Here's the video from our concert at Chestnut Ridge Park: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFvZX5Llg7U