Gloryland (Tales from the Old South)
Early on the soundtrack to my life came from the 1,500 miles of mountain range called Appalachia. It was the blues, the hymns, the folk ballads and spirituals that haunted the region like ghosts hidden in the night wind – traveling along unseen currents and carrying with it a mix of English, Scottish, Irish and African-American influence and history.
Every year we’d pack up the station wagon and head further south to visit aunts and uncles and at times search for a long lost relative rumoured to be among the living deep in the Tennessee woods. All of these excursions connected to father’s upbringing in the minute border town Hazel, Kentucky.
The Great Depression whipped them out. Tobacco farming was the family business – the other- survival. The crash of ’29 left every family in peril. The farm was lost – the kids barely had enough food on the table to encourage physical growth and decisions had to be made who would attend school and who would work the fields.
Gloryland (Tales from the Old South) is my pastoral portrait of family – the family that tilled the land and for better or worse endured the history and conditions in a region where thousands of lives were spent, racism institutionalized, a genuine mistrust of government prevailed and a belief problems should be solved through resourcefulness. Beyond the hardships it was a place where song and sound illuminated people’s lives with joy, humility, inspiration and situations.
Along the rivers there were baptisms and picnics – lover’s quarrels the occasional burial. The devil was everywhere – at least that’s what the preacher saw and ranted about Sunday morning. Further south was gator land – places you never sink a foot into a pool of mud. Farthest south, the smell of burning cane fields sweetened the midnight air.
There were coal miner’s strikes that would burst into to all out war. Near the rails hobos rode boxcars through lush countryside seeking the occasional meal and handyman work. Along the way there were the juke joints, chicken shacks, forgotten plantations, overgrown ante bellum castles and more churches than countable.
The piano was the centerpiece – the recorder of history – the spokesman – the outlandish showman rarely contained. You boogied, you ragged, you waltzed and you embraced. It was a music born deep in the hills, languid small town streets and bustling seaports of the old south.
Gloryland is my sensory recollection communicated in twelve solo piano tone poems.
Bill King – acoustic grand piano / composer (Night Passage Music) SOC AN
Mike Haas – engineer/mastering at Inception Sound Studios 2012
Contact: email@example.com www.7artsmusic.com 416 530-2524
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Toronto, ON. Canada M5V 2W8 416.534.4993 email firstname.lastname@example.org