Joseph E Bird

Let's talk about reading, writing and the arts.


November 2020

hillbilly elegy

It seems that you can’t be from Appalachia (as I am) without weighing in on the new Little Opie Cunningham (Ron Howard) movie, Hillbilly Elegy. Based on the best-selling memoir by J.D. Vance, Elegy tells his story of escape from the horrors of Appalachia. Seems like everyone has an opinion. I haven’t read the book or seen the movie, so I’m no position to offer any thoughts. But, hey, here’s a bunch of hillbillies playing some amazing music. Looks like they could be from Clay County. No disrespect to Clay County. In fact, Clay County is actually a hotbed of good music in West Virginia.

But guess what? These guys aren’t real hillbillies. Not even from West Virginia. Or the United States, for that matter. They’re from Finland.

what to do when you forget the words

I’m sitting in my office this morning working and listening to music, when one of the songs makes me stop and replay again and again at about the 2:35 mark. It’s a live performance of the Avett Brothers and Scott forgets the words to the song. He stops for a second, it comes back to him, and he keeps going. You can hear a little chuckle as it happens. And I had to stop what I was doing and get this life lesson down.

Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time in my basement learning to sing and play songs. I have a set list of about 12 songs I can play. And sometimes, just like Scott, the words aren’t there. I’m surprised it doesn’t happen more often with the Avetts, given their catalog and complicated lyrics and phrasing.

Long story short, mistakes sometimes happen.
Keep going forward and give them a smile.
All the wrong notes will soon be forgotten,
Play for today, and do it with style.

hows bout some woody guthrie?

via the Avett Brothers.

Written by folk legend Woody Guthrie, the counter-culture revolutionary. The bros do it true to the original version, but the black and white portraiture is a bonus.

I didn’t know this, but Woody died of Huntington’s disease, which was passed down from his mother and then passed on to his daughters.

desperados waiting for a train

Another Darrell Scott song. This guy knows how to tell a story.

Here’s another one if you don’t believe me.

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