A Mile Out The Door: A Mixtape

As a graduating senior (Which is just weeks away), I wanted to focus my playlist on the idea of Home. As I began to listen to songs, I thought I could go more in depth with the experience of leaving home and the after effects that it might have. I decided after listening that i wanted to make a mixtape that chronicle the journey and emotions of someone leaving home for the first time. I focused my mix into three different parts; moving, photographs, and returning.  The first part focuses on the act of leaving home, especially for someone moving to a new place. The second part focuses on waiting portraits or looking a photographs on what home looks like. The third part is about coming back to home after a long absence. For me, a lot of these songs relate to my current life status. Enjoy

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Part 1: The Move

Mipso – “A Couple Acres Greener”

In my opinion the first song on this mix is not particularly a bluegrass song. Instrumentally it has it’s roots in the genre with a chorus that has a nice banjo run. The album title is called Dark Holler Pop which I think may be a fitting classification for this genre. I think this song may be representative of almost every 22 year old nearing their graduation date. It’s a point in our lives where we are all very tired of school and adolescence, but we are not yet ready to think entirely conservative as far as saving capital. I think that’s why most of us leave home in the first place. We have a small draft of what we think our own personal story is and we feel that it is our right to act on it no matter what others think. I think our forefathers called it the pursuit of happiness.

J.D. Crowe & The New South – “My Home Ain’t in the Hall of Fame”

While this song may be seen as possibly staying at home, I think this song represents a departure from the status quo. The steel guitar and the dobro steal the instrumentality of this song and makes the listener have some feeling of nostalgia. It’s about a man that keeps on moving on through the world, but not in that city-boy way.

Newgrass Revival – “Lonesome and a Long Way Home”

This is one of the major turning points in my mixtape which foreshadows the rest of the selections. Driving gives us a lot of time to think, and I think this song (Which has been done by serval people) is the narrater regretting his decision to leave home. The music makes you furrow your eyebrows and feel the loneliness in the instrumentality. This song is definetly something to listen to on the road.

Part 2: Looking at a Photograph

Butch Robbins – “Blue Ridge Cabin Home”

We all have these tiny time machines we travel in. We call them photographs and I think songs can act as photographs. When we listen to music from our high school days we think of first dates, driving our car for the first time, and having fun with our childhood friends. Similarly, this section is meant to paint a picture. Butch Robbins does a great job of covering this old standard. I think for those of us that grew up in the mountains we did a lot of wondering through the words and up mountains. We all had little hideouts out in the yard (Which is bigger than most people would think). It’s interesting to go back to these spots and remember our childhood fun. They seem much smaller than we imagine, but they always hold a fond place in our heart.

Hazel Dickens – “West Virginia, My Home”

It’s hard to do a mixtape detailing nostalgia for home without including any Hazel Dickens. In fact, this mix features two songs by Hazel. The first thing that really strikes you when you listen to this song is Hazel’s wailing voice as it calls to you from some place in your past. I think that as we grow older a portion of ourselves wishes we could go back to our adolescent years. I like how Hazel says we pay a price for leaving our home. We can never truly go back to home the way it was. It will always be different and changing with the times simply because everyone grows older.

Jimmy Martin – “Tennessee”

This is one of the more cheerful songs on this mix. This song touches briefly touches on some of the rituals the home might have and describes home as sort of a promised land.

Old Crow Medicine Show – “Carry Me Back to Virginia”

While this is probably closer to old time, I think this paints one of the best pictures of a scene from home. The verb usage (Marched, sang, fire, raced, affix the bayonet) and the tale of war or rebellion. This is clearly a person who liked to cause trouble (I would imagine something like dukes of hazard). Civil war history is one of the uniting characteristics of the south. Some soldiers believed that the fight was to protect their homeland. The narrator goes on to list all of the stuff he’s done in the war to protect his home and now he wants to go home.

Hazel Dickens – “Hills of Home”

This is a song that hit home for me. When your economy is surrounded by a mobile industry, towns spring up and die quickly. This made me think of Southern West Virginia and it’s encompassing towns, particularly the old coal mining towns. My dad took me back to his hometown outside of Welch, WV to show me around. It was sad to hear that most of our relatives have left and moved far away, mainly for work. While there still are positive initiatives going on in southern West Virginia, this song really pulls at the root of the issue. When everyone in the town has moved away is it still a town? is it still a home? It’s hard to tell.

Ralph Stanley – “Old Home Place”

The first moment i heard this song i imagined myself sitting on a rocking chair reminiscing. It is then confirmed about 40 seconds then that he too sits on the porch thinking about home. I think this is more of a lullaby and is a great end to this section.

Part 3: Returning

Steve Martin & Edie Brickell -“When You Get To Asheville”

This song is what inspired the playlist. Written from the prospective of mother, sister, girlfriend, this really brought a tear to my eye thinking about the current status of my life. There will be a lot of things I’m leaving behind. We sometimes don’t have the perspective to think from the viewpoint of the ones we leave behind, but this song conveys that point. If we do leave, we generally leave to seek better opportunities in our lives. It is especially sad to think about the dog (Dodie) and how leaving home has severally changed her behavior. The lesson learned in this song is that we can always come home. It may not be the same physical location, but it will always have our family.

Trampled by Turtles – “Come Back Home”

This song is of the same theme as the last one, but much happier. I my take on the viewpoint is that the narrator has moved away and he misses his significant other. He says that he or she should come back home to him. This is somewhat of geographically backwards statement, but he defines home as being with his other. His epiphany or “Waking up” lead him to this conclusion.

New Grass Revival – “Fly Through the Country”

To send this mix off I wanted to focus on another driving song by New Grass Revival. The narrorater is tired of living in his dirty town where there’s nothing to do and he’s ready to return to the country. Generally the cities you move to are not representative of your home place and the things you use to do their. He’s ready to return to that life, at least for a little while. I’d imagine once i’m tired of city life I too would fly through the country.

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