I was cleaning the kitchen and listening to Fiddles and Forests a cd issued by the Missouri Conservation Dept about how the Scotch/Irish came to the U.S. and settled in the Ozark Mountains, and the music they brought with them.

I was listening to a particularly sad song and thinking about how difficult it must have been for those settlers to leave the land they had lived on…that their family had lived on for centuries, to come to a place that they knew absolutely nothing about. How the Ozark mountains must have reminded them of Scotland and Ireland! Those who immigrated here left a land of poverty to endure unimaginable hardships crossing the sea, and then coming to a country that was so HUGE and so unknown. Many lives were lost on those journeys, yet those settlers pushed on. What courage they had!

What kind of joy is it that settles in a persons heart that can make them pick up a fiddle, and crank out the jigs and reels that can make even the most weary foot tap a perky beat? Even in their sorrow, the music gave them a way to voice the pain and suffering that they experienced. This music…these tunes….many of what formed the basis for bluegrass music as we know it today, still have the power to lift your heart even in the darkest of times, or cry tears of sorrow and pain, as if the very music passed their sorrow on to those of us who hear it today.