Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The High Lonesome Sound

A wiry and weathered man, aged forty-seven, Roscoe Halcomb walked toward the house. A manual laborer and former miner, Halcomb lived at the very end of the hollow in Daisy. After some cursory introductions, Halcomb played a song for Cohen called "Across the Rocky Mountain." "My hair stood up on end," Cohen later remembered. "I couldn't tell whether I was hearing something ancient, like a Gregorian Chant, or something very contemporary and avant-garde." The combination of pulse-like rhythm, coupled with the high, tight singing, and the insistent droning notes of the guitar had its effect. "It was the most moving, touching, dynamic, powerful song I'd ever experienced . . . not the song itself but they way he sang it was just astounding. And I said, 'Can I come back and hear you some more?'

Remembering The High Lonesome.



Blogger kellie said...

Thanks Terry, I really enjoyed that.

9:13 AM  
Blogger Old Brooktrout said...

There was a picture of Roscoe playing in a book of bluegrass tunes I inherited from my father. I used to stare at that picture and wonder about what old Roscoe had seen. My dad still sings with that high lonesome sound, but you really don't hear it much anymore.

9:36 AM  

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