The Dillards recorded and performed a song, “I’ll Never See My Home Again. Like many bluegrass songs, it deals with cold winters, homesickness, and people who have wandered too far from their comfort zone in the course of their lives.
“As years go by and seasons pass away,
That ol’place keeps returning to my mind.
I miss the ones who always were so dear to me,
And that hollow in the woods I left behind.”
“Oh, I left it in the springtime when the flowers were in bloom,
And told the folks I’d be back in the fall.
But the road keeps stretching onward from the cradle to the tomb,
And I guess I’ll never see my folks at all!”
Many musicians have made a living, of sorts, singing about the emotional distress wrought by time and distance, complicated by famine, disease, infidelity, and necessary murders.
We currently have pillars of morality screaming about “honor” killings among Muslims, claiming this makes them somehow unfit to live in the modern world. I make no exception for religion-driven murders. Murder is murder no matter which deity’s garbled words interpreted by an un-schooled preacher demanded it The U.S. has had more than its share of “honor” killings. “She done him wrong” is just as deadly as “____” demands!” And it is no more moral or right in avenging tribal honor as in avenging family honor. But those crimes of passion make great grist for bluegrass singer-songwriters.
In today’s U.S., we have murders over clothing with some over-paid, under-educated jock’s name on it. We have murders over how one person looked at another, or at the other person’s escort for the hour or weekend. If we step outside our vantage point as U.S. citizens, we don’t do much more to protect the rights and well-being of women than do the tribal societies that our bible thumpers insist we force to change. Many women born into fundamentalist, evangelical Christian families are just as much at risk of dying due to religious stupidity and at the hands of a violent family member as are Women born into Islam. The environment may be a bit cleaner, flush toilets and hot water perhaps. But the view of women as brood stock and chattel property is just as pervasive and just as deadly.
The major difference is that we have a music industry that makes a profit from such behavior. I wonder what bluegrass pickers will be singing about in 2111?