Nostalgia in the Songs of Women in Bluegrass

My topic for my final project is looking at nostalgia in the songs of women in bluegrass.  I found that each song talks about home in a different way.  Some have left home and are longing to go back, some left home and have now returned, and some are where they consider home but it doesn’t feel like home anymore because of change.  In most cases, especially in these songs, the change that caused the singers to lose their sense of home was an environmental change.

I became interested in this topic because my family recently sold a piece of farm land to someone who wanted the land to build a housing development.

Solastalgia vs. Nostalgia

Solastalgia-the distress that is produced by environmental change impacting on people while they are directly connected to their home environment

(Australas Psychiatry. 2007;15 Suppl 1:S95-8.)

Like we discussed in class, being a lady and a bluegrass musician is not easy.  Since there are so few bluegrass singers that are women I struggled to find songs that fit my topic.  We also discussed in class that many women had to work around the genre norms to become successful musicians, for this reason, many of the following artists are not considered bluegrass, but rather folk/Americana/singer-songwriter/etc.

Written while living in Washington DC

“It’s only a memory, I can never go back home again”

Going home in her mind, without physically going home


Also mentions “ragged and hungry”

Popular Counting Crows cover

“Paved paradise, put up a parking lot”

Losing home and leaving home

Actually returning home