After many successive generations of being looked down upon by the popular culture, the Appalachian heritage at the root of so much bluegrass and old time music is finally being celebrated by academia and the wider world as an authentic expression of American life. No one has to tell these folks about hard times, as even those enjoying a life of plenty have parents or kin folk with tales of struggle to share as part of their family life, against the elements or exploitative employers who dropped in to extract the mineral wealth of these ancient mountains.
But it’s the music that calls our attention, today in the form of Dewey & Leslie Brown. This husband and wife team of pickers, singers, songwriters, and bandleaders have a new single released on Liberty Showcase Records, written and performed by the Browns with their band, The Carolina Gentlemen. Both raised in this Appalachian tradition, they know well the trials of life for the people of the mountain regions of Virginia and North Carolina, and share those stories in song.
The new track is one they wrote together called Dana, a true story about Leslie’s sister whose own life was deeply affected by violent bullying she experienced as a child. As the song goes along we learn how Dana takes all the wrong lessons from life, and though she tries, and her family tries to help, she keeps seeing her life run down into dead ends.
Dewey takes the lead on this mournful ballad, with Leslie sharing the harmony, on a crooked song about poor choices. They are supported by Kendall Gates on mandolin, Brandon Hinson on banjo, and Tim Spence on guitar. Dewey plays the fiddle and Leslie the bass.
Dana is available now to radio programmers via AirPlay Direct, and will release to all the popular download and streaming sites on July 24. It will also be included on their upcoming album, Jealousy.
You can learn a bit more about Dana and the Browns in this video blog.