What It Is (posts below left; rate sheet, client list, other stuff below right)

My name is Bob Land. I am a full-time freelance editor and proofreader, and occasional indexer. This blog is my website.

You'll find my rate sheet and client list here, as well as musings on the life of a freelancer; editing, proofreading, and indexing concerns and issues; my ongoing battles with books and production; and the occasional personal revelation.

Feel free to contact me directly with additional questions: landondemand@gmail.com.

Thanks for visiting. Leave me a comment. Come back often.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Cultural Interlude: Mandolin Orange, “Wildfire”

Judging from blog 1.0 (2007?–July 2017), Google is eventually going to scrub YouTube videos from here, so I won’t bother posting a recording of the song. I’ll leave that to interested readers.

I live in Bristol, VA, which, along with Bristol, TN, is the official Birthplace of Country Music. Translation: here, in the late 1920s, Ralph Peer came to record Appalachian and southern white folk music in the form of the Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, et al., which kicked off the chain of events that eventually led to Nashville.

Third weekend of every September, Bristol hosts the Rhythm and Roots Reunion, which started the year we moved here with a few stages and small crowds. Seventeen years later, it draws about 50,000 to 60,000 people over the course of three days and is a legitimately good time. Downtown Bristol, inside and out, is turned over to about 20 music venues.

On the recommendation of an old and dear friend, I went to see Mandolin Orange a few weeks ago. Usually I don’t pay attention to lyrics that much anyway, and when it’s a band you’ve never heard on an outdoor stage, you’re lucky to understand much of anything.

But Mandolin Orange falls somewhere around alt bluegrass and lo-fi, so picking up the words wasn’t hard. One song caught my attention, and the more I listened, the more I was amazed at what I thought I was hearing. A week or so ago, I went online to look at the lyrics. I wasn’t disappointed. Reading them now brings tears to my eyes. And the recurring line has become a bit of a mantra for me on many different levels. “It should have been different. It could have been easy.”

I’m New York City born and bred, as were my parents and one set of my grandparents, so I have no dog in this hunt. But I married a woman who qualifies for Daughters of the Confederacy and who was born in Montgomery, AL, and raised there and in Atlanta. The Virginia/Tennessee line is the farthest north she’s ever lived. I think she’d have mixed reactions to this song, even though she’s as progressive as the day is long. I don’t have mixed feelings at all.

Mandolin Orange: If someone happens to direct you to this post or you find it on your own, thank you, thank you, thank you.

It should have been different. It could have been easy. And I’m crying as I type. (Lyrics printed sans permission of the artists. I hope they and the Google don't mind.)


Brave men fall with a battle cry
Tears fill the eyes of their loved ones and their brothers in arms
So it went, for Joseph Warren

It should have been different, it could have been easy
His rank could have saved him, but a country unborn needs bravery
And it spread like wildfire


From the ashes grew sweet liberty
Like the seeds of the pines when the forest burns
They open up, grow and burn again
It should have been different, it could have been easy
But too much money rolled in to ever end slavery
The cry for war spread like wildfire


Civil war came, civil war went
Brother fought brother, the south was spent
But its true demise was hatred, passed down through the years
It should have been different, it could have been easy
But pride has a way of holding too firm to history
And it burns like wildfire


I was born a southern son
In a small southern town where the rebels run wild
They beat their chest and they swear: we're gonna rise again
It should have been different, it could have been easy
The day that old Warren died, hate should have gone with it
But here we are, caught in the wildfire


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