We were in rural Virginia. We arrived at the venue which was to be our base for the next 3 days. As we checked in, a poster with the title above caught my attention.
So that evening I went to see the one-man show, expecting a cultural epiphany.
In a sense it was. But rather than ‘Soldier’s Joy’, ‘Boyne Water’, ‘Knoxville Girl’ and many other songs and tunes which have proven Ulster-Appalachian credentials, we got something a lot less interesting:
'My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean', 'Whiskey in the Jar', even 'What Shall We Do with the Drunken Sailor', a Stephen Foster song or two. ‘Mull of Kintyre' might also have been in there too. I can’t really remember. I went panning for musical and cultural gold - but found nothing.
It was entertaining, it was well played and sung, the artist had the room eating out of his hand. But there was a bigger, better and more compelling opportunity here which was completely missed. Meaning was sacrificed for entertainment. Or perhaps meaning wasn’t really understood in the first place - not transmitted and not sought for.
(PS - pic above is Bill Monroe. He would have done a much better job).