February 18, 2004
I continue to be fascinated by the sheer volume of death and despair in bluegrass music. Heck, just pick up the "O Brother Where Art Thou" soundtrack. There're at least two songs from the perspective of someone on his or her deathbed ("O Death" and "I Am Weary, Let Me Rest"). Not to mention the pure misery that's hidden behind the more upbeat versions of "Man of Constant Sorrow". The biggest thing I've learned recently is that those selections are fairly representative--particularly in the tendency to mask really heartbreaking lyrics with cheerful-sounding music (check out Flatt and Scruggs' "No Mother or Dad" for a perfect example). I'm trying to understand that. Is it an influence of black gospel? Evangelical Christianity? Both? Or just that life was so rough, dying was something to be anticipated?
Whatever the reason, it's coloring everything I try to write. I've got two "hillbilly" short stories in the works at the moment, and both contain elements of dark and light, mixed in odd amounts, juxtaposed in weird ways. It's an obsession folks. My brain won't leave it alone.Posted by Lisa at February 18, 2004 10:36 AM