Definition

One must make a distinction however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the result is not poetry, nor till the autocrats among us can be “literalists of the imagination”—above insolence and triviality and can present for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them, shall we have it.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Hardcore Americana

Toads, a super-special favorite today. I present to you, direct from Amherst, Massachusetts, the hardcore Americana of TIM ERIKSEN.

"Tim Eriksen is acclaimed for transforming American tradition with his startling interpretations of old ballads, love songs, shape-note gospel and dance tunes from New England and Southern Appalachia. He combines hair-raising vocals with inventive accompaniment on banjo, fiddle, guitar and bajo sexto - a twelve string Mexican acoustic bass - creating a distinctive hardcore Americana sound...

"Eriksen's own compositions have been described as 'strange and original works,' have been featured in films like the Billy Bob Thornton vehicle Chrystal, the upcoming documentary Behold the Earth, and extensive contributions to Anthony Minghella's 2004 Oscar-winning film Cold Mountain.

"Tim Eriksen's work as an ethnomusicologist and teacher has included extensive research on shape-note music in New England and the venerable Sacred Harp four-part harmony tradition. He is a founder of what is currently the world's largest Sacred Harp singing convention, in Northampton, MA. In the words of Paste Magazine editor Josh Jackson, 'no one has done more to help revive Sacred Harp singing among a younger generation.'"
(Quoted text above excerpted from Tim Eriksen’s bio at his website.)

I share with you an original song by Tim Eriksen, one of the most beautiful songs ever written, in my view. This song derives from an old tale about a woman who is buried alive, only to be awakened when gravediggers cut her finger off to steal her wedding ring. The story’s much better when Tim Eriksen tells it; the song has universal and romantic appeal.



I also thought my dear Toads would enjoy a special Western Mass version of “Amazing Grace.” It seems particularly apt to share it this week, as Tim Eriksen is sitting with the same view behind him that Emily Dickinson saw from her window--Emily’s poetic landscape. Enjoy, Susie and Kerry and Shay and the rest of you.



Friends, if you are intrigued at all, PLEASE go listen to Tim Eriksen’s music on his YouTube page, because it’s extremely varied and all truly wonderful. And visit his website, and follow his Facebook page. A more interesting performer and person you will not find. And then write me a NEW poem inspired in any way by all of this, and link it up here! Can’t wait to read.

24 comments:

L. Edgar Otto said...

I work from time to time for lyrics for this song (I may post that later in this version). But poems seem to come out more formal than lyrics for me... it is a struggle.

But I had hoped to make My American Album some day.

I like his music very much and it rings authentic as all such does in any age when we are close to what is the raw fresh beginnings of art.

Also the haunting open tuning go back to our first feelings of pure notes and psalms.

Hannah said...

Oh WOW. Marian. I'm enraptured by this musician. *Sigh* Thank you for this post, challenge...introduction to such an amazing artist.

I'll be back with words, just wanted to say thank you first. ♥

Susan said...

First time through the first song, I couldn't hear the lyrics for the voice, but Eriksen won me in "Amazing Grace" so thoroughly that I went back to "Leave Your Light On" until I could hear every word. So unique and fascinating! In the process of discovery, I formed my little poem.

Margaret said...

Can't wait to find time today to soak all this in. Thanks!!

Kathe W. said...

wow! Your blog posts are so inspirational! Thanks!

Maggie Grace said...

I'm afraid I was inspired to write about an emotional response to certain sounds. It's called misophonia. But it was inspired by your prompt. Please forgive me.

Kerry O'Connor said...

I have always loved the authenticity of the Appalachian music, and fascinated by its origins and evolution. Cold Mountain is one of my all-time favourite novels and the music really made the movie for me.

Marian said...

glad you like it. his music is sooooo special.
i'm nutty-busy today, haven't had time to stop & think about writing to my own challenge here... but am glad to see some responses and will be here to read them all as they come in! anytime, i'll probably write mine on the weekend, so you all have permission as well :)

Helen said...

I am blessed to live in a small city that celebrates this genre of music .... earlier this week I tapped my toes to the music of 'The Honeycutters' .. 'The Anvil Blasters' are on tap for next week!

Great musical challenge, Marian!

Susie Clevenger said...

Thanks Marian for the introduction to Tim's music. I know I didn't do the challenge justice. My mind was so full of so many memories growing up with so much of which he sings about.

sharplittlepencil.com said...

Marian, over the years, I was a real jazz snob, but when I saw "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" the bluegrass and other unique American forms from white musicians finally clicked with me. We do a lot of this style in our praise band. The wedding band song, well, that broke my heart, in a good way. Hope my poem has the right flavor! A.

Margaret said...

After reading this post and really enjoying this style music, i am DETERMINED to head up to the Blue Ridge Mountain, find me a small town (or a college town) and find me a small festival with some banjo and violin playin! How fun will this be?

Hannah said...

Finally back with a poem!! Oh, I just love this guy. So talented and the rabbit hole of youtube led me to learn more about the music and the sacred harp, shape notes etc. all very interesting. Thank you!

Ella said...

Beautiful!!! Sorry, life is extremely off...lots of parties! I attended two graduations and I'm the designated photographer!

I love his voice-oh, thank you so much for sharing him with us!!!
I'm off to gather words...

Thanks again!

Patricia A. McGoldrick said...

So glad to discover another musical voice!
Is there any Native American influence?
:)

Kerry O'Connor said...

Marian, thank you for sharing this artist with us on Real Toads. Like Hannah, I have been stuck on Youtube all afternoon, just imbibing this man's musical vision.
I see no place to comment on your own post, so let me say here that I think you have found the place in Eriksen's voice where faith and music meet. I could hear it, but could not put that conviction into words as well as you have done.

Marian said...

I decided to experiment with turning comments off. Everyone please keep reading without obligation, & I am easy to find for chatting or feedback or complaints or whatever. :)

Love the responses to this prompt and I'm so pleased to have turned some of you on to a fabulous artist! XO

Margaret said...

Marian -- I was just swinging by here to say I can't easily comment on your poem! I read above... why make it harder to comment? Just wondering.

Marian said...

I'm trying an experiment in putting my words out there without expectation, we'll see how it goes. Still here, still participating, will be around to visit all! & you can always find me :) thank you for asking.

Patricia A. McGoldrick said...

Marian, powerful little poem there in "Hooked"!
Unable to comment either & now I know why after reading these comments! :)

Marian said...

Thank you & hope I am not annoying everyone! XO

Helen said...

Marian, we could never be annoyed with you. However ... you have written one of your finest poems ~ EVER ~ comments are mandatory.

Margaret said...

Marian - Not annoyed with you ... just like to leave comments with my Toads :)

Marian said...

Oh lovely toads, I ain't goin' nowhere and thank you for your general loveliness xoxox