Well May the World Go
John Johanna's Telescope

Dreaming of the Hillbilly Blues

In the early stages of my ... condition, I had a CD changer that held six CDs. I'd put the entire Anthology of American Folk Music on repeat, place a speaker next to my pillow (since the original 78s were in mono, one speaker would suffice), and just let The Anthology seep all the way deep down into my skull while I slept, soaking the reptilian core of my brainstem, all night long, every night, for months. After a while, I expected Amnesty International to break down my door.

The next CD I bought after The Anthology was Dock Boggs' 1960's recordings. I brought it home, put it on the stereo, and when "New Prisoner's Song" came on, I burst into tears, just sobbed openly for a while ... until I suddenly thought, "My musical tastes have CHANGED." Maybe it was like admitting to yourself for the first time that you're gay — realizing you're someone other than who you thought you were. I mean, what should I tell the wife? The judge will surely side with HER! You should really be careful what music you mainline directly into your subconscious.

Years later, I hit the bunk in the army barracks at American Banjo Camp, at 2 in the morning, a little whiskey in me, after five hours of jamming and listening in on jams ... fiddles, guitars, accordions, two doghouse basses, three dozen banjos. I slept like the dead, so deep and contented, drifting off with the sound-memory of old-time music so bright and benevolent and everlasting inside my head ... Brilliancy Medley, June Apple, Sally in the Garden, Ducks on the Millpond, Whiskey Before Breakfast, Soldier's Joy, Sail Away Ladies, Liberty, Devil's Dream ...





Right on! But after sharing this with a like-minded friend, that like-minded friend wondered what on earth you were listening to *before* your "conversion."


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