Thursday, October 15, 2009

Music and Landscape: Blog Action Day 2009

Much of the music we walk with here along the Music Road is grounded in connection with and thoughts about place and landscape.

Erica Wheeler sends musical postcards from her stops along the American way. Julie Fowlis sings old songs about the sea that she learned from tradition bearers as she grew up in North Uist. Emily Smith likes to source songs from the tradition of her native Dumfriesshire and when she writes songs, that place and its people are what she draws from as well. Jeff Talmadge sees rain clouds in Atlanta and it reminds him of how rainstorms looked where he used to live in Texas. Duncan Chisholm and Sara-Jane Summers translate the landscapes of the Scottish highlands into fiddle tunes. Ian Tyson writes of the disappearing cowboy culture in western Canada, and the Barra MacNeils sing of immigrants coming to the island of Cape Breton, while Cathie Ryan sees a Navajo woman sweeping a dirt floor in the American southwest and thinks of her grandmother in Ireland, who did the same. Kathy Mattea searches out songs from in the coal country of the Appalachians where she grew up, and Tish Hinojosa writes of having her life planned by the Rio Grande. Carrie Newcomer throws geodes in her garden in Indiana, and sees the history of when that landscape was the edge of the frontier. There are many more.

It’s a tapestry of connection and inspiration between land and artist. I’m asking you to think about all this because today is Blog Action Day, a day when thousands of bloggers across the world speak to their readers to get them thinking about one subject. This year, that subject is climate change.

None of those artists mentioned above writes specifically about climate change, but they all know and love how land and people shape each other. The song in this video is not about climate change either, but as you listen to the lyrics, I think you will see why I include it here.

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Blog Action Day post, which is not about music

Music Road: Thinking about music: Blog Action Day 2008

Music Road: now playing: The Environment, on Blog Action Day 2007

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found this interesting. Whenever we travel, we hope to find songs that will remind us of the places we visit. I think music can be a very powerful connection to a place.

9:59 AM  
Blogger Alexandra Grabbe said...

Thanks for this reminder to pay attention to the lyrics when we listen to songs.

10:53 AM  
Blogger Sheryl Kraft said...

What a beautiful voice she has! Thanks for sharing...the tune is still in my head.

11:40 AM  
Anonymous Meredith Resnick - The Writer's [Inner] Journey said...

Music has always had the power to transport me to a time, place or emotion. It seems the perfect mate for Blog Action Day. Thanks.

11:58 AM  
Anonymous Jennifer Margulis said...

I think music can be such a powerful way to effect change. Thanks for reminding us to think about the environment when we listen to songs.

12:24 PM  
Anonymous Roxanne @ Champion of My Heart said...

I love these harmonies. What a nice break from the day. Thanks!

1:44 PM  
Blogger Stephanie - said...

What a gorgeous voice! Thank you for posting this :)

1:51 PM  

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