If you have ever doubted the emotive power of unaccompanied singing, just watch this video of Dan Moneyhun on the Gospel classic, Two Coats. He produced this black and white presentation to honor his grandfather, and a way of life that is dear to many generations of mountain folks.
For Dan and his people in east Tennessee, the video conveys much more than faith and a crucial decision we all must make. It was shot in a little church where his family has worshipped since 1930, which houses memories and artifacts that tell the stories of lifetimes spent in that small building.
Of course it’s also a dramatic and compelling performance, capturing Dan’s redolent voice on this authentic traditional treatment, with the natural reverberation of the timeworn timbers hovering in the air. Bluegrass fans will remember Moneyhun from his 8 years touring with Paul Williams and his Victory Trio, and those in east Tennessee know him well from his participation in bluegrass and Gospel circles this many years.
Let’s have Dan explain a little more about the video and what moved him to create it.
“I had this thought, and the song on my mind for a little while now. I would wake up in the night thinking about it. This church is the church that I grew up in, built in 1930. Through the many years, the church had been added on to many times and ended up fairly large. When we were able to purchase the vacant property next door, we built a new church (Parkers Chapel). Once we moved into it, we started tearing off all the additions to get the little church back to the original size that you see in the video.
My Grandfather was instrumental in helping build and organize the church in 1930. We took it back to the original walls and floors, and the acoustics are great. I am very nostalgic, and wanted to present the video almost from the perspective of my Grandfather when he would walk about a mile (uphill mind you) to this little community church house. The hat is a 1930s era hat, and he used a cane like I used, and the shirt was always buttoned up to the top. And of course Grandpa wore overalls!
The quilt in the background has history too. When the folks started talking about building a community church, the ladies wanted to do something to raise money. They decided on making a quilt. You see the squares that are in the quilt. If anyone donated money, they would sew the donor’s name on it, and how much they gave. Then they raffled off the quilt which made more money. Mind you this was right after the crash of the stock market. Most of the folks gave ten cents. A few gave a quarter. Actually, two or three folks gave a dollar. That was LARGE.
Some of my Aunt’s family bought the quilt and had kept it all these years put up in a blanket chest. When we did the restoration, my Aunt’s family was so kind, and gave it back to the church where it hangs today.
I hoped the video would honor him and the other country folks that I remember like him. I love the message in this song and am amazed that the video has only been on Facebook a couple of days and has received over 30,000 views and climbing.
Old songs and memories like that are fading fast into history.”
Fortunately, Dan’s son-in-law Derek Cress is a professional photographer and videographer, and was able to see his vision for this project through to completion. Knowing all that is behind the simple song makes the video all the more forceful.