“I’ve been trying to write this song for years and never got anywhere until one night after dinner I sat down and the whole thing was right there,” writes Graham Sharp of “Hominy Valley.” The first single from the Steep Canyon Rangers’ new album Morning Shift, produced by Darrell Scott and out September 8 from Yep Roc Records, rides along the joyous musical rambles we’ve come to expect from the band.
Mike Guggino’s tinkling mandolin riffs blend with guitarist Aaron Burdett’s sparkling lead notes to kick off the song, propelled by Mike Ashworth’s galloping drums. “Hominy Valley” is driven by Sharp’s string-bending banjo solo on the first instrumental bridge and Guggino’s mandolin runs playing call and response with Nicky Sanders’ somber fiddling on the second instrumental bridge. Bassist Barrett Smith’s vocals capture the pathos that lies in the story the band tells in music that both celebrates a particular place and mourns the failure of modern life to preserve sacred memories of that place.
As the song gathers momentum and arrives at its crescendo, the instruments create a shimmering wave of sound that evokes the haunting presence of the spirit of the Cherokee scout who watches over “hominy valley.”
Sharp provides more details about how he came to write the song: “A couple friends in my neighborhood introduced me to a little history pamphlet that lives in the archives at UNC Asheville. It tells the story of General Rutherford’s campaign against the Cherokee during the Revolutionary War. One of the spots it references is right across the street from my house. Apparently my neighborhood is cursed, stemming from the killing of a Cherokee scout who was following the Revolutionary Force as they moved through the area that is now Asheville. The story is that the army got wind they were being followed by two scouts and poisoned a creek that one of them drank from. His friend buried him sitting upright on the hill, under what is now a huge old oak tree, looking over the valley to keep watch. The story never felt right until it connected with the current construction of apartments going on at that very spot right now.”
“Hominy Valley” perfectly kicks off the anticipation of another excellent new album from the Steep Canyon Rangers.
Directed, filmed, and produced by Peyton Lea
Edited by Abaigeal Brown
Pre-order Morning Shift HERE