Thursday, August 29, 2019

Haunted Wayfaring Strangers

Yesterday, I ordered a CD.  I had heard an episode of On Point with Rhiannon Giddens as a guest.  I loved every clip that they played, so I decided to go ahead and purchase the collection before I left for work.  Usually I add CDs to my cart, and months later, I can't remember why I was interested. 

I love Giddens' voice--and I love her approach to music.  As I listened yesterday, I realized that I've been singing "Walk that Lonesome Valley" to the tune of "Wayfaring Stranger"--for years, I've sung that song to the wrong tune.

And where have I sung that song you may ask. Not in church, not in my imaginary mandolin punk band. No, just walking around, music swirling in my head, as one does.

That said, I think that singing "Walk that Lonesome Valley" works beautifully sung to the tune of "Wayfaring Stranger," although now I'm doubting my ability to remember songs at all. And I'm wondering if "normal" people have snippets of folk music and the music from various 60's movements and old hymns and rock and roll winding through their brains all day.

There are worse things to have in one's brain.

Last night, after having "Wayfaring Stranger" in my brain all day, I fell down a bit of a rabbit hole looking for versions of it.  And then my spouse and I had fun seeing if other lyrics would work with the song.

As with so much folk music, I am struck by the lonesomeness of the lyrics, the stark reminder of how much more common the death of loved ones used to be.

This morning, I went back online to see if anyone has posted ukulele chords.  Of course they have!  And oddly, there was the grown son of my undergrad school mentor, singing this haunting song.

I expect I will feel haunted all day.

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