I reached into my pocket.
"What’re you looking for?" Katy said.
I showed her the long set of rattles I found in my dad’s closet. Jamie watched with keen interest, then said, "To keep the devil away, huh?"
"Think I need it?" I gave him a half smile which he didn’t reciprocate. I dropped the rattles into an f-hole, then gave it a shake.
Preston said, "Those don't always work, you know."
"You hush up now, Preston." Jamie looked at me, "Hell Up Coal Holler, on three?"
Jamie, Katy and I drew my bows like archers about to fire. When we released, sad triads floated into the valley. The syrupy notes that sprang from my f-hole stunned even my own ears. That unmistakable sound couldn’t be produced where Kentucky’s bluegrass sprouted. They were too busy with horses and basketball. And that sound couldn’t be produced in Tennessee’s Smoky hollows; they were too worried about Country and Western. That sad squeal was pure West Virginia. As I played I could feel the devil riding my bow.
I had a real hard time keeping up with Jamie and Katy, who played these notes with well-practiced flourishes. These twelve notes, which journeyed with my pap’s grandfather over the gray North Atlantic when famine forced him from Ireland’s stony-green shore. These twelve notes, which sustained my grandmother’s grandmother when food couldn’t, when her trail led over frosty ridges into territory still haunted by ghosts of the first people. These few measures, which I played to announce my gratitude, to announce that my blood flowed for those who made me what I was, and for those who would speak of me when I was dead.
From the novel, HELLBENDER.
Banjos and Beatles. They said it would never work.
Download the show at Sugarmegs.
Yonder Mountain String Band
Source: SBD (xlr out) > UA-5 (Oade warm mod) > Nomad JB3 @ 44.1 khz
Transfer: Nomad JB3 > PC (via USB) > CD Wave > FLAC16
Taped, transferred, and converted by Phil Rollins (email@example.com)
*******Do not encode to MP3 or sell this recording*******
*******Please contact me if you are going to do any remastering of this
2. Bloody Mary Morning
3. Half Moon Rising
4. Easy As Pie
5. Near Me
6. Old Plank Road
7. New Horizons>
8. Finally Saw The Light>
9. New Horizons
10. Rag Mama
12. Come Together>
13. Traffic Jam
1. Intro #
3. What's Going On In The Head Of That Woman
4. Night Is Left Behind
5. Hit Parade Of Love
6. Sharecropper's Son
7. Train Bound For Gloryland> *
8. Little Rabbit> *
9. Granny Woncha Smoke Some *
1. Sometimes I've Won
2. You're No Good
3. Only A Northern Song>
4. Snow on the Pines>
5. Mother's Only Son
7. Reuben & Cherise