This really is a dream come true. I grew up in small towns around Rockingham County – when we went to town, Harrisonburg was the town we went to. We lived just across the line in Augusta for a few years, but Rockingham is my home county. My great-great-great-grandfather served his country in an infantry unit called the Rockingham Rifles, under the command of General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. In the rural South, you can’t get much more local than that.
I moved to Harrisonburg when I moved out of my parents’ houses, left H’burg a number of times, but always returned. H’burg has a way of pulling back – a fact I used to curse when I was trying to escape. A few years back, about the same time the Spotted Opossum came out of her ma, I had a major shift in consciousness about all that. I realized – understood the “realness” – that I am rooted deep in this specific place, surrounded by these holy mountains and that any energy I spent trying to leave was wasted. I will live and die in Rockingham County, Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, and I am Earthmotherfucking fine with that.
A year or so ago, a guy I knew when I was a teenage pothead moved back to town. We met up and he started participating in BDSR under the nom de guerre Black X. He stumbled onto a house for rent about the time I was looking for my next digs and it all fell together. We moved out here last week. I still got shit in beer boxes all over. The landlady told me the original owner was a character named Ray Hollar which immediately gave the house a name, the Hollar House. We’ve got a basement we can jam in, a yard where we can shoot guns, an overgrown area where the little grrrl can pick berries and get poison ivy. All the comforts, joys and bugs of a country home. We can actually see constellations here. Last night I stood beside the mailbox and pissed in the road. We sit on the porch, burning sticks in a bucket, listening to the crickets and owls and Gods knows what’s making those sounds. It’s unfuckinbelievable.
Other than that it’s been the usual summertime stuff – painting houses, cooking in the little restaurant, sitting around picnic tables or leaning on the truck talking with friends ‘til late at night, taking little girls to the woods to splash in creeks, catch crawdads and tadpoles, all that wonderful shite. The restaurant is closed for our annual maintenance week. I’ve been ripping out rotten footers, pouring concrete, cutting out useless pipe, really enjoying using power tools to tear shit up before fixing shit up. A couple friends are starting on-line retail businesses, both of which will allow me an opportunity to peddle wares without having to set up my own eshop. I got a big tattoo, a piece of traditional American flash that I’ve been wanting for a while.
On the BDSR front, not much in the way of shows. Less happens locally when the college students are away. Drummer Boy was gone for a bit, visiting kin, but he’s back and chomping at the bit to play somewhere. There’s a new house setting up the basement, so we’ll be there making hellacious noise soon enough. There’s a bunch of releases coming out as soon as the various labels put ‘em out – a split with Medicine Calf, a split with Garage Olimpo, the “Crazy Bush” compilation. Somebody somewhere is sitting on a full-length cd that will drop eventually. I’ve got material in the can that I’ll get around to finishing up and put out from here. Lots of stuff going up on Bandcamp all the time – that’s been a really great outlet for short blurts and scattershot. My natural desire is always to go for the longest possible jam, but the time-limited format of Bandcamp has proven extremely fertile. All the individual tracks there are free, but you can pay for them if you really wanna. I dunno why you’d wanna do that.
Today I’m driving down to the other end of the county for a family reunion. I expect there’ll be forty feet of rock-solid good Southern food made by women of German descent, some of which won’t contain dead animal. My rotten kid will get to play with cousins she seldom sees. (The family reunions of my childhood took place at the old farm way back in the mountains of West Virginia and involved a lot of playing in the immediate vicinity of rattlesnakes and black widow spiders. The WVA branch of the family died out, shifting the center to Bridgewater, VA, which is easier for me and safer for the grrrl, but also means a certain amount of loss. I assure you, I’m making sure she gets the proper exposure to the hazards and harms of a rural childhood.)(Remind me to tell you about the WVA branch sometime. The patriarch of that clan was on “medicinal marijuana” and a helluva fiddler.)
So that’s where we are and how we are. I hope you’re doing well, and if you’re not, we’ve got a bedroom we’re interested in letting out. Maybe a move to the country is what you need.