History & Song Inspirations

Note: History of Virginia notes scroll to the end of page.

Individual Song Histories for the “Caffeine & Country Music” CD

 

Song: Breakdown • Reference

Breakdown is a heartbreak song.

There should be a no-fault clause in relationships. Alas! There is not. We wake up to our error to late and it becomes the mistake of a lifetime—such is the romantic notion of this song. “Breakdown” is written from the man’s point of view.
     The woman is the “bad-guy” in the relationship. It matters little whether a woman or a man breaks a heart through their own foolishness, immaturity, or malice the result is the same—a serious crime. The killing of a soul.
     Once a “broken, scattered, shattered, salvaged” heart is mended there is little hope that there is a corner of forgiveness. It is, in the aftermath, a different heart intent upon different ideals.

 

Song: Do Ya • Reference

Do Ya is a “let me feel-the-pain” song.

“Do Ya” is an “in-current-time” song that a person wants to hear and sing when they are in the process of the loss of love.
     There are very few people that have not felt this kind of romantic pain. Be it “puppy love” through adult love at sometime there has been someone that just could not stay in our lives. For many this has been the loss of a dating relationship and for others it has resulted in divorce. Both cases result in an emotional death.
     This is the kind of song that made Conway Twitty such a popular song-stylist. Just an old-fashioned heart-break song that allows the listener to indulge themselves in feeling the pain along with remembering the debris of losing love.

 

Story: Ms. Willa Mae’s Biscuits • References

Ms. Willa Mae’s Biscuits is an ironic story about marriage

The story is true and took place on top of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the town of Galax, Virginia.
     The names and locations have been changed. However. The Blue Ridge Café was known as The Hub. Today it is “Brenda’s Hub.” which serves the kind of country cookin’ I can eat everyday.
     The story is a reminder that each day and person we talk to  is special. Often we just don’t say what we should when we should to the persons that we love and those we meet and greet.

 

Song: Dime Box, Texas • References

Dime Box, Texas is a love-gone-wrong song.

When love goes wrong a person usually wishes they could leave the pain and the memories behind and be free of the heartache. Dime Box, Texas is a metaphor for that space and place in time. Like the song says if it can’t be erased in Dime Box, Texas then you will just have to go live in Difficult Tennessee. Both towns do exist.
     I learned about Dime Box, Texas from reading one of my favorite books titled: “Blue Highways” written by William Least Heat-Moon. The uniqueness of the name Dime Box stayed with me. Upon researching the town’s history I decided that if love went wrong I would drive across the “Blue Highways” of Texas to ease my pain and spend some time in Dime Box, drinking coffee and kicking back with kind-hearted, down-to-earth folks. There are those in Dime Box, Texas I now call “friends.’

 

Dime Box, Texas

Location: 50 miles East of Austin, Texas

Population: 400

Settled: 1830 by Stephen F. Austin’s colonists.

Originally called Brown’s Mill and was changed to Dime Box because the name Brown’s Mill was too close to the name of Brownsville in south Texas which was confusing to the postal service.
     Name: The name Dime Box came about because many locals often used a large, wooden box to forward and receive mail, or order small items from a carrier on horseback traveling to nearby Giddings, Texas. The residents would leave a dime in the box as payment for the postal pickup.
     The town of Dime Box was on the national stage in 1945 as the first town to have 100percent participation in the March of Dimes campaign.
     Dime Box still offers residents a sense of roots and normalcy, pride in a unique history, and a chance to tell visitors about their unusual name.

Information Courtesy of:
Ms. Jean Davis
The Dime Box Heritage Museum
P.O. Box 174
Dime Box, Texas 77853

Difficult, Tennessee
Location:
Difficult Tennessee is located at M-15 on your Tennessee highway map about 15 miles north of Route 40 and the town of Gordonsville, Tennessee. Difficult, Tennessee sits above the Cumberland River. Gordonsville, Tennessee is situated between Nashville, Tennessee and Cookeville, Tennessee.

Song Histories yet to come


Greatest Surprise
Caffeine & Country Music
Day Light’s Burnin’
Hurricane
Sylvatus
Sold Down The River
Come Out and Dance

Individual Song Histories for the Blue Ridge Dream CD

Song: Blue Ridge Dream • References

Chin-que-pin • Chincapin, Chinkapin, (Ching´ke pin) N

l.  A shrubby Chestnut, Castanea Pumila, of the beech family, native to theSoutheastern United States, having toothed, oblong leaves and small brown,edible nuts. 2.  1605-15 American, Virginia    Algonquian - chechinquamins

The nuts are difficult to locate, almost impossible to shell due to the piercing spikes, therefore, they are considered a treasure.

 
Song: Buford Reference
Buford Kegley is the well know radio DJ for the 100,000 watt WBRF-FM
in Galax, Virginia. He has been the morning radio personality for the area for 32 years and is an active performer and host of local Country Western events.


Song: Cheap Date Reference
Cheap date is a play on words relating to the old ideas of what a man wants from a woman and what a liberated woman wants from a man. 
     The meaning of cheap date in this song stems from the idea that women give too much to men in the courting stage. Instead of letting the man court them, many women begin to cook for the man, becoming his caretaker and thus they become a cheap date, because the man does not have to court or spend any money on taking the woman out.
     On the other hand the popular male view of a cheap date hasn’t changed much in the history of the world. We all know what that includes. The song ends with the daughter deciding that she will be a liberated woman who is smart enough to find herself a man who will cook and do for her the way women do for men. 
     Women’s Rights aren’t in the news much these days, however, the following statistics may surprise both male and female readers. 
     Reference: The Confident Woman, by: Majorie Hansen Shaevitz
Ms. Shaevitz writes: “The Rules of the New World, for women meant:
No right to vote until 1920 (50 years after the passing of the Fifteenth Amendment allowing all citizens to vote. Not having the right to their own wages, if they had any. Not being allowed to sign contracts on their own. Not being allowed to own or inherit property. Being denied access to education. Having severe prohibitions against participating in public life. (For example, public spaces, stores, taverns, and courthouses were for men only, and in church people sat by rank and gender).
Before the 1960
s Women: Couldn’t have credit cards in their own names. Didn’t have competitive, organized sports at schools or colleges. Were often barred from being administrators of estates. Didn’t have equal access to undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools.   
Before the 1970
s Women: Could be demoted or fired if they became pregnant. Didn’t have laws to prohibit sex discrimination. Didn’t have much of a chance getting into medical school.   Couldn’t attend Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Williams, Amherst, or Dartmouth,  or any of the military academies. Few were in number in the military and had almost no officers.   Were but a minute percentage of the people sitting in Congress. 
Before the 1980
s Women:  Had never had a woman run for the U.S. vice presidency. Had never had a woman on the U.S. Supreme Court. 
Before the 1990
s Women: Couldn’t count on the sexual harassment laws being taken seriously. Had never had a female attorney general or secretary of state. Couldn’t be combat pilots in the military. Until Colonel Eileen Collins, never had a women commander of a U.S. space flight.” 
Changes that are worth remembering.
    

Song: Cat Bird’s Kitten Reference
Cattin’ Around = Out on the town, possibly, foolin’ around, but not necessarily. 
It is more at teasing and intimating a falsehood as a truth. 
To be a Cat Bird is to be someone who has been accused of Cattin’ Around. 
To be a Cat Bird’s kitten is to be a chip off the old block.
It also, means someone who likes to have a good time, not necessarily immorally . The meaning can go either way. If you have been immoral then the shoe fits, if if not, then you are being accused of such in jest. It is a jovial phrase. Not meant to offend, but to instigate a banter of humorous discussion.


Song: Searchin’ For The Man Reference
One of the art pieces in my traveling art show is titled, Little Black Book.
I have interviewd 100 men for this piece, asking them if they could create
their perfect woman what would she be like. One of the men I interviewed last
year asked me what my perfect man would be like. After thinking about it for a long time I wrote this song based upon what I have read about the rancher, actor, renaissance man, Tommy Lee Jones.


Song: Sharon Reference
This song was written in memory of Phyllis Ann Hines Weatherman.
Phyllis was killed in a horseback riding accident the day before a Christmas Eve in Galax, Virginia. She was survived by her husband, Scott, and two-year-old son, Jason Weatherman.
     With the sale of each Blue Ridge Dream CD a percentage of sale goes into the  Phyllis Ann Hines Weatherman Music Scholarship. This award is to be given each year to a college bound music major from the Blue Ridge.
     The New River flows to the Mississippi, north through Galax for eight miles. 
     The carnival comes once each year and is the highlight of the summer activities for local residents.
      The Fiddler’s Convention was established in 1935 by Doctor Davis, Doctor Bowie and Eck Dunford. It had its beginning as a one night competition, held at the Galax High School, offering $77.50 in prize money. Today, crowds of over 30,000 are drawn to the Blue Ridge during the second week of August to hear old-time-music. Virginia’s Grayson and Carroll counties have been credited with producing more traditional stringed band performers than any area of the United States. It is known that the Country Music had its beginning with The Carter Family as well as influence from The Stoneman family from Galax. Past native traditional musicians to be remembered include Wade Ward, Green Leonard, Alex Dunford, Uncle Charlie Higgens and Kyle Creed.


Song: Silver Ladies Reference
The silver silhouettes of the female figure have been seen on the mud flaps of trucks for over 50 years. They are an icon of popular male culture. 
Produced by the Barjan  Truck Distribution Company.


Song: Rodeo Blues Reference
From:  The Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association  PRCA.Com
The title world championships are the most coveted titles in the world of
professional rodeo. To win one, a cowboy or cowgirl must be prepared to 
compete in 80 to 125 rodeos in a year, shell out thousands of dollars on travel
and spend upwards of 200 days per year on the road. And, even after a
competitor has done all of this, he still is likely to go home without the gold
buckle. Superlative talent and a-generous amount of luck will ever enter the ranks of the world champions. 

Youngest World Champion
Jim Rodriguez, Jr., 1959 Team Roper at age 18

Oldest World Champion
Ike Rude, 1953 Steer Rober at age 59

Most World Titles Combination of events: 
16, Jim Shoulders

All-Around: Tie 
6, Larry Mahan
Tom Ferguson and Ty Murray

Consecutive All-Around: Tie
6, Tom Ferguson and Ty Murray

Saddle Bronc Riding
6, Casey Tibbs

Consecutive Saddle Bronc Riding

4, Casey Tibbs, 1951-54

Bareback Riding: Tie
5 Joe Alexander, Bruce Ford

Consecutive Bareback Riding
5, Joe Alexander, 1971-75

Bull Riding
8, Don Gay

Consecutive Bull Riding
6, Jim Shoulders, 1954-59

The Blue Ridge Mountains • Virginia History
King James
1566–1625 • King of Scotland/England/Ireland
The son of Mary Queen of Scots. Married Anne of Denmark and had six children. He succeeded as King of Scots on July 24, 1567 at the age of 13 months and became King of England and Ireland on March 24, 1603 at the 
age of thirty six, upon the death of Queen Elizabeth.

Jamestown 1607 • In June of 1606, King James I granted a charter to a group of London entrepreneurs, the Virginia Company. Virginia was named by Sir Walter Raleigh for Elizabeth the First. (The Virgin Queen) They were to establish an English settlement in North America. Within two years only 60 out of the original 500 settlers survived the food shortages, winter and Indian Attacks. 
     A Dutch slave trader exchanged his cargo of Africans for food in 1619. These Africans had the rights of indentured servants and had the similar legal position  as that of many Englishmen who indentured themselves for several years of labor in  exchange for passage to America.  Racial-based slavery did not develop until the 1680s. 
     A few years of peace with the Indians occurred  with the marriage of Pocahontas (the favored daughter of the Algonquian Chief Powhatan) to the tobacco entrepreneur John Rolfe. This ended with the Algonquian attack which killed over 300 settlers in 1922. King James revoked the Virginia Company Charter. Virginia became a crown colony in 1624. Institutions appeared by 1640.

1600-170 English and Scottish settlers immigrated to 3 geographical locations:
The Virginia Tidewater (Aristocratic/Slave Owning 5-6/Landowners)
The Low Country of the Carolinas (Yoeman Farmers)
The Back Hill Country (Previous Indentured Servants)
The staple crop was tobacco, which was opposed by King James but was allowed to be sold in England.

1623-1637 Under the Headright System individuals entering Virginia received 50 acres of land.  Those who could not afford passage indentured themselves as servants and paid their passage to their “Term of Contract Masters” with their Headright Land Grant of 50 acres. Thus making many colonists rich in land and labor at no cost to themselves. Out of 2,675 immigrants to Virginia from 1623-37 at least 2,094 or 78 % were indentured . 
     Virginia was the largest of the colonies, originally extending from Maine to Florida and West to the Pacific including Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Virginia is considered the mother of the great Republic. Up to the 1680s the population grew because of the immigration. In the 5 years before 1624, mortality ran approximately 75%.

1714-1717 French Huguenots arrived followed by German workers to work the iron furnaces of the Piedmont.

1730-1740 Slavery became a solution to the labor shortage as immigration slowed and moved to the Bahamas. Ulster Scots and Germans moved southwest from Pennsylvania down to the Allegheny Ridges into the 
Shenandoah Valley.

1750 During the American Revolution many men who served for three or more years in a State or Continental Line unit or who died in service were entitled to bounty land. The amount of land awarded depended on the rank of the individual and length of service. Bounty Land Grants were given for Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio. More than 100,000 people lived in North and South Carolina. They were not limited to tobacco only. They exported rice, indigo, lumber, tar and resin.

1800 Immigration into Virginia stopped. Families began to move westward.

Galax Just before the turn of the Century J.P. Carico persuaded Washington Mills to build a dam and locate a plant on the New River. The milltown was called Fries. Additionally, J.P. Carico encouraged the N&W Railroad to extend their line. He joined with John B. Waugh, R.E. Jones to form a real estate company to acquire a 375 acre site that would become the town of Galax, Virginia. The original price of a 50 foot lot ran $25.00. 
     Among the settlers of the New River Valley were the English and Quakers who came from North Carolina after the battle of Alamance in 1771 as well as the Scottish/Irish immigrants and English who immigrated from the Tidewater and settled into the highlands.
     Galax was incorporated as a town in 1906. Originally, called Bonapart the name was changed to Galax after the beautiful green leaves used in flower arrangements. The name was suggested by  J.W. Cook, an official of the N&W Railroad, in 1904.
  
Music The immigrants of England, Ireland, Scotland brought with them a simplicity of early folk music and this formed the basis of our American Southern folk music tradition. A tradition which filled the air and provided the entertainment at their barbecues, dances, housewarmings, shooting matches, baking and quilting bees.
     Both Appalachian, blues and old time country music were simple and folksy. Played with just guitars and fiddles. It was a celebration of life. Although basic, 3 chords and a simple melody, this simplistic music style evolved into the rhythmic guitar-and-fiddle driven traditional country sound that became the foundation for modern country music. (For extensive Country Music history go to country.com)

 

 

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