Friday, September 30, 2016

Songs of Place: Down in the Lonesome Draw

It's been a while since the last Song of Place. It's my contention that a strong sense of place is important to storytelling of all kinds, not least the musical kind. A song of place will often include specific place names, descriptions of land features, descriptions of the weather, the light, the feel of the place. There are plenty of songs from the mountains that speak of some lonesome hollow. People in the Smokey Mountains, say, know better what a hollow is than city-folk of the coastal cities. Similarly, people from the prairie know well what a draw is, but I had to look it up, just to be sure.
Draw. A draw is a less developed stream course than a valley. In a draw, there is essentially no level ground and, therefore, little or no maneuver room within its confines. If you are standing in a draw, the ground slopes upward in three directions and downward in the other direction. A draw could be considered as the initial formation of a valley. The contour lines depicting a draw are U-shaped or V-shaped, pointing toward high ground
"Down in the Lonesome Draw" is a beautiful song. I first heard it by The Stray Birds, and then later by Eli West and Cahalen Morrison. I think of it as a kind of cowboy lament. Perhaps it depicts an end of things. And end to the West? All I know is its a lonesome song of a man who is not where he longs to be. It's a man alone on the prairie, and something is burning.

No comments: