Sunday, November 6, 2016

Songs of Place (#31): Cumberland Gap

That sense of place, when you know the name of the gap in the mountains off to the west, and you know the name of the big rock on the heights above the river. As for the gap itself, you've probably walked through it once or twice, and know what's on the other side.

That's the old way. The new way is to know cities, and street names, and neighborhoods, but the space between the cities is fly-over country or its a ribbon of asphalt flowing under your car, and maybe the names of rest stops along the way, one or two exits where you know a good place to stop for lunch or clean bathrooms.

Nothing in that is worth putting in a song I suppose. Our sense of place, of the value of a place, and of rootedness in a place, or the pain that comes from being uprooted from it, these used to be the subject of many a song. 

Wikipeida has an informative history of the song here.

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