In yesterday’s edition of the New York Times, the music section had a story featuring Tom T. Hall. The story was focused on Mr. Hall’s relationship to country radio stations and was appropriately headlined as…
The story spends a good deal of time discussing Hall’s growing alliance with the bluegrass music industry. The author suggests that the reason Hall has been pitching his tunes to bluegrass artists in recent years is that Hall felt the bluegrass artists would be true to the songs and not change them to make them commercially acceptable for country radio, thus preserving the integrity of his music.
Who would record them without changing them to make radio happy or forcing him into complicated business deals?
Bluegrass singers would.
Tom T. goes on to discuss his history of growing up in Appalachia, and made this great comment about writing bluegrass songs in collaboration with his wife, Miss Dixie.
Maybe our bluegrass songwriting works so well because we have such different views of Appalachia. As an outsider Miss Dixie sees these people as the hard-working, family-loving salt of the earth. As a member of the clan I see them as just the neighbors. She can see the trees, while all I can see is the forest.