Morning Music: Alabama

Jesse FergusonOver at his website, Jesse Ferguson wrote, “Music brings family and friends together for good times and provides a bond between the generations.” I quote that because it so closely matches what I think about music. I’ve had the experience many times where a bunch of people are visiting and people bring out instruments and have an impromptu jam session. It isn’t an opportunity for anyone to show off (although usually there is one person who stands out); it’s just a communal activity where everyone is bonding over a shared activity. This is why everyone should learn some music.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find any music of Ferguson playing with other people. But that’s okay. He provides that same feeling with most of his solo work. Here he is performing Neil Young’s classic “Alabama.” The song is controversial. But really, it is just an invitation for the south to embrace modernity. As we saw in the life expectancy map that I posted yesterday, the south continues to lag behind the rest of the nation. And why? Because it hangs onto this notion that it was on the right side of the Civil War. And rather than embrace its changing demographics, Alabama instead tries to stop the “wrong kind” of people from voting.

But I don’t feel a lot of politics while listening to Jesse Ferguson’s version of the song. The emotional core of the song is a call to join modern America and stop pining for the Confederacy. And that is the feeling that comes through in this performance.

4 thoughts on “Morning Music: Alabama

  1. I’ve spent half of my life in the South and I think that it lags behind socially for much the same reason that the whole nation lags behind other developed nations — so many of its residents honestly believe that God Loves Us Best. That being so, there’s little need to be concerned with, you know, actually being better. It isn’t that the South or the U.S. was on the right side historically or as a matter of principle. It was the right side because it was “our” side. But even more so than the rest of the country, the South runs on tribalism and spite.

    • Yes, but I always get the feeling that those chanting “We’re number one!” secretly think that we aren’t. It’s like anything. Growth depends upon admitting fault. Knowing deep down that all is not well is not good enough.

      • I’d say that deep insecurity is the main impetus for the spite and much of the tribalism which is endemic in American culture. It’s my feeling that this sorry ball of worms is a large part of why it’s so hard to get anything good done in this country. Politically, I think of the South as a reservoir of infection.

        • I agree completely. Every time I hear “We’re number one!” I think they are chanting, “We’re very much afraid that we are an empire in decline!”

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