Sunday, March 27, 2016

Songs of Place: Jerusalem Ridge

What I have been talking about here is place as a mental construct that is much more than a point on a map, embodying a lot of emotional heft. So when Neil Young sings, "Think I'll go back to Alberta," you know for certain and the rest of the song confirms that it is an Alberta that really exists only in his imagination.

The interesting thing to me is how often places, named and unnamed, work there way into country songs and mountain music. Even instrumentals are often named for places, and how about the countless songs that don't name a specific place but draw up images of "down by the river," "down in the valley," etc.

Why is that anyway? Why do southern musicians so often want to memorialize place in their songs. Here's an instrumental example I've always loved, Bill Monroe's "Jerusalem Ridge," performed by the late Kenny Baker,.

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