Crystal Hill Billys / Blog
The Poor Are Fed By More Than Bread
Reading "Poor But Proud" by Wayne Flint. In the 1930s, a relief client (that's what they called a welfare recipient back in the day) presented his grocery bill to be filled except for one substitution- instead of .25 cents in rice, he asked for .10 cents in rice and .15 cents in change to buy a guitar string. Flint used this illustration to show that the music, even for the poorest of Alabama's poor tenant farmers, was like bread for the soul.
Everything That's Old is New Again
Or as the Old Testament's Ecclesiastes says "There's nothing new under the sun." I was looking at lyrics from an old traditional tune ( Going Down That Road Feeling Bad) and arrived at the line "I'm goin' where the climate suits my clothes."....and it immediately called to mind the song "Everybody's Talkin'" a folk-rock song originally written and released by Fred Neil in 1966. It was later sung by Harry Nilsson and used in the movie, Midnight Cowboy....I know. I am dating myself. But hum the song to yourself and you'll remember the chorus "I'm goin' where the sun keeps shinin' through the pourin' rain. Goin' where the weather suits my clothes..."
Anyway, I thought that was interesting. Back to the laundry. Smile. Billy Joy
I Acquired a Bunch of Old Recordings
I went to a library sale and bought about 70 CDs that had some old recordings on them. I have been sitting cross-legged on the floor listening to them--scratched up and ancient sounding tunes....some of them are incredibly powerful. They may not be "mixed" or "smooth-sounding"...in fact, I think that's something I miss about recorded music. It is not celebrated in its raw and real state. Instead we nearly mix the authenticity out of it. These old recordings are priceless. There are even times when the singer stops mid-song to tell a quick little story, or to clear their throat.
I was reading the liner notes from one of the CDs and it said that the old songs helped a community to "sing the bitterness out of its soul." I really loved that. Though music is definitely entertainment, it has served to help the musician, their friends and family members to grieve a loss; to tell a story or share a precious memory. Something to remember. Music is more than just entertainment. It is a therapy of sorts: a balm for a troubled soul or hurting heart.
Music is Communication
I love how music crosses over generations and classes, status, and even language barriers. I remember being with some Japanese musicians at the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, KY and though we couldn't talk to one another, someone said "John Hardy" and they smiled and nodded their heads and then BAM, we were playing the song together. Words and all. That was cool. It also seems to work with the kids...I don't always know their language, but when we listen to songs together and pick out the melody lines, or talk about a good lyric, we are able to come together-even if just for a moment-and it is precious indeed.
Music is a Gift
Hello all, Just sitting here this morning feeling grateful for music. With all that is going on in the news and in the world, sometimes it is difficult to see the beauty and the gift of each day. As I read from some of the old song catchers like Alan Lomax, he talks about the sadness and the poverty that many of these songwriters lived in, yet their music grew and flourished. It talks about music and the balm, the soother of the soul's troubles. And I like that music has that kind of power. It is not numbing, but rather, liberating: it is finding the feeling, giving it a name, sitting together in a circle and singing the pain out, or celebrating the joy of the small things. Music is good. Music is unifying and I am so grateful to have it. Billy Joy