Lord of the Mountain
An appreciation of the rich history, culture, and storytelling tradition of country music.
Years ago, when I moved to Nashville, I didn’t care for country music. But as time passed, the music seeped into me, and I came to appreciate its rich history, culture, and storytelling tradition. In particular, I became fascinated with the people who brought their songs with them from the old country, settled in the Appalachian mountains, and molded the music to fit a new world.
I also became fascinated with the role of religion in their lives, and the way music and church so often went together. Could the two ever be separated? Was it even possible?
Out of these musings came my new middle-grade novel Lord of the Mountain, a coming-of-age story set in 1927 during the Bristol Sessions, the so-called “big bang” of country music. The narrator is Nate Owens, who loves music and deeply resents church, or at least the version of the church preached passionately and interminably by his evangelist father. Finally, Nate, haunted by a melody he heard in the night, sets out across the mountains to uncover his family’s darkest secret, which is contained in a song.