“Give me that old time religion, it’s good enough for me”
As I began this 2018, I realized it was hard to believe that we are 18 years into the new millennium. They call me a millennial, but my soul can’t quite rest in that category box. For it is older and seeks to know a prior way of living… where the land mattered and the weather mattered because the land mattered. A time when the senses were sharper and there was less of a cloud around everything. Not to idealize this, I think it must have been a hard way of survival, but what I relish is the deeper intentionality of living.
So, this year, as a way of letting my spirit speak, I am learning something of the old way each month. Thus, with the advent of each new month, I will seek to spend time expanding my knowledge of old tyme life. I come from the land near Appalachia, formerly the land of the Cherokees and Shawnee, so my filter runs through this.
January is the month for old-tyme music. Late last year, I began learning the fiddle! It’s the same instrument as the violin, but is played differently to create a fiddle sound. So far, I’m not great at it, but I sure am having fun learning! My extensive repertoire includes, Wildwood Flower, You Are My Sunshine, and Old Joe Clark. Oh and I learned O Come O Come Emmanuel for my mom for Christmas. That’s about it for now, but I’m learning the slants of the songs so that they sound like mountain music. I think it’s pretty cool how oral the mountain culture used to be, and to some degree, still is. Stories were passed down through folk songs. Many songs are not uncomplicated or innocent (have you ever listened to Down on The Banks of the Ohio?), but rather, they tell generations of stories that would have been lost had they not been preserved through the lyrics and notes of mountain ballads.
So here’s to learning an old-tyme way of passing down stories!