Stacy Grubb has released a new music video for Spirit of the Mountain on her current CD, From The Barroom To The Steeple. It’s a very personal song for Stacy, written by her father Alan Johnson, about the West Virginia Mountains where they live.
The lyric was powerful enough to reach most of the way around the world to Tony Burt, a New Zealand filmmaker and bluegrass musician who brought the concept for the video to the Mountaineer State for a shoot during a visit to the US last year. He loved Alan’s formulation of the spirit of the mountain living in the music of the people.
Tony says that the notion of the mountain itself as the narrator for the song is one that related with his experience of New Zealand culture.
“I had the idea for this video because it resonated as an international theme. Here in New Zealand there is a saying, ‘Turangawaewae,’ which means ‘a palace to stand.’ When speaking at a Maori Marae (meeting place) you introduce yourself by stating your family and ancestry, your river, and your mountain. So it was nice to introduce a small symbol of this resonance into the video.
I felt that the story in the video depicts the spirit of the music and the mountain being passed down generations. It worked nicely to have Alan included, singing with Stacy.”
We asked Tony to share a bit more about himself and his bluegrass journey, ending up with his first bluegrass music video shot in the States.
“I met Stacy and (her husband) Jason at IBMA back in 2011 when friend, Garrett Evans, and I travelled over from NZ. They were packing up after one of the after hours showcases around 3:00 a.m., so we gave them a hand. It’s what we are used to back home, pitching in and packing down. Stacy and Jason are a wonderful, sincere couple and since that time we became firm Facebook friends.
I am a musician, film maker and most recently dobro player – and there are not many here in New Zealand. This year I got the opportunity to came over to ResoSummit for the first time, I think the first from New Zealand to attend. That in itself was incredible, with all of my reso heros and inspirators in the same room.
I took the opportunity to make the most of the trip and also stopped by ETSU to catch up with Colleen Trenwith, a Kiwi fiddle player from New Zealand who tutors at ETSU. Dan Boner and the whole team were fantastic, allowing me to join in on band classes and on the last day I presented a talk to the students on ‘finding your own voice’ as part of the seminar series. This presentation was based on my travels with film and music and how this has made a difference, as well as some tough and inspirational stories in the presentation. This is based on a film I produced, which is unique as I narrate the film and perform the music live on stage.
I also had arranged to come over to WV for a week or so and catch up with Jason and Stacy. We had already decided to make a music video from a track off the new album, so I had a pretty good idea for it before hand. Also spending time in Beaver and with their extended families in Welch and McDowell county gave me a real insight into the people, music and culture. Some of the best moments included presenting, along with Jason a talk on ‘inspiration’ to the Mountain View High School assembly. Once again, with film and music I spoke on finding your own voice and being proud of where you come from.”
I’m sure that Stacy is proud to know Tony as well, and proud of her newest music video.
From The Barroom To The Steeple is available wherever recorded bluegrass is sold, and on her web site.