Properly wanting to fill a vacancy in the state’s Wikipedia entry, The Gov has recently come out with a new idea for a Virginia state song. He wants to select the bluegrass classic “Will the Circle Be Unbroken?”.
Right song, wrong classification. Make it the official state bluegrass song, not the state song.
So, so very wrong. If you are a bluegrass fan, great song. If you are a follower of music that traces the roots of the country, great song. If you want a song that can be played at state events and rouse folks, or at least not depress them…so very, very wrong.
As BVBL says:
It’s a nice, upbeat song about waiting for a hearse to carry away the body of someone’s dead mother.
Shoot, may as well pick “Near My God to Thee” or “Shall We Gather at the River”.
You cannot blame The Gov for trying. Virginia has been without an official song since 1997, and without a playable state song for years prior to that. “Carry Me Back to Old Virginny”, the former state song with its lyrics of a black man waxing nostalgic for “Old Massa”, doesn’t have a lot of supporters. It seems like everyone has offered a solution. Chuck Colgan pushed for “Shenandoah”, which had the fatal flaw of not referring to Virginia at all. My puckish state Senator The Cooch suggested“The Tax Man”. My delegate David Marsden tryed to roll a log for a constituent and proposed “Virginia, Ever Enshrined”, which sounds more like a celebration of getting admitted into Canton or Cooperstown.
Better to roll with the Shad Plank suggestion of “Highway to Hell” to reflect our current transportation issues.
Now I am not one of those moaning wombats who complains about a situation and fails to offer solutions. I have before and shall again suggest there is an obvious choice. It is a song that is about Virginia, and has the organic benefit that it was written simply to be written, and not for the sole purpose of becoming the state song. As a matter of fact, I will suggest two songs.
The first, and I think the obvious choice, is “Sweet Virginia Breeze” as I argued here. I will not completely repeat my eloquent exposition here, but as I said almost a year ago:
I admit a sentimental attachment to the song…but I know whether played at the normal pace or at a more stately rate it captures the spirit of those of live in and love Virginia…
…This song is not just entertaining, easy to sing, and fun, it is a real song. It was written to be sung and performed just for the sake of doing it, and not created out of whole cloth for the sole purpose of being submitted as the state song. I like the idea of a song that has had people on their feet dancing and singing and not a prim recital piece that would not exist but for someone wanting their little piece of immortality. So, Delegate Marsden, after the pretenders flame out, put up the real thing. Made in Virginia, vibrant for years, guaranteed to please-”Sweet Virginia Breeze”.
I think that captures the situation quite nicely.
So to The Gov, The Cooch, The Colgan, and The Marsden…jump on the bandwagon, and pick the only possible and reasonable choice for the new state song. Written as a song, written about Virginia, popular and vibrant for going on two generations. You know it, you love it, you feel it…
SWEET VIRGINIA BREEZE
…should be the new state song.
Have a great weekend!