‘Spot light on a Song’
Happy Oaks Day music fans! What is Oaks Day you might ask? Well, it’s officially a horse race, but to anyone living or lucky enough to be in Louisville, Kentucky today, it’s a Friday filled with honor, tradition and esteem at good ole’ Churchill Downs!
So today I pay homage to my Old Kentucky Home; because that is where I grew up and will always call home in some way. A southern belle, I’m not so sure. But I do love me some good fried chicken, corn pudding and Benedictine at pretty much anytime. Spending almost 2 decades in Kentucky instilled some pretty deep musical roots. Ones that are still coming out of the wood works in my songs today without even understanding why. Bluegrass was pretty extensive. And not just the grass those pretty ponies eat!
“My Old Kentucky Home” is a song written by Stephen Foster, probably composed in 1852. The song described originally an everyday scene on a slave plantation and was a beloved song in minstrel shows.
“My Old Kentucky Home” became the official state song of Kentucky on March 19, 1928, by an act of the Kentucky legislature. In 1986, Japanese students visiting the Kentucky General Assembly sang the song as a gesture of respect, but Carl Hines (D-Louisville), the only black state representative at the time, was quoted as saying that the lyrics “convey connotations of racial discrimination that are not acceptable”. Within days, Hines sponsored House Resolution 159, which revised the lyrics to amend the word “darkies” to “people” at all official state functions involving the performance of the song. I find it appalling that this was only changed when I was a teenager; and the discrimination I witnessed and lived through. Growing up in Kentucky was an entirely different world than growing up in Seattle today, like my kids.
Foster’s composition is the official song of the Kentucky Derby. And to hear, and sing this song minutes before the official race at Churchill Downs, will put goosebumps down your entire body. An opportunity I’m lucky enough to have experienced a few times and always look forward to doing again.
Happy Kentucky Derby music fans! Place your bets….mine’s on Carpe Diem because it’s always time to seize the day.
Strum a little…..