You loved that Ozark town where each October the pumpkin festival drew thousands to the Missouri river bottoms, Hartsburg population 100—two churches, three bars. The locals loved how you loved their home and would request that you sing “My Hometown” when they wanted to impress a visitor. You—a girl from nowhere, from everywhere—born outside of Detroit, summers on the Coosa River of Alabama, three years in Italy, high school in the Ohio River valley and college in the Ozarks.
Of course, you loved Hartsburg—where everyone knew your name—the jam sessions on Sunday with banjos, fiddles, upright bass, and guitars, sitting in a circle and singing simple three chord songs that were easy to join—easy to find a place to belong. You loved Hartsburg because that old farmer with a ball cap, plaid shirt, and cowboy boots pulled you aside after a jam and said, “I like your song but it was too complicated, too hard to follow along—we like to play it straight, keep it simple so everybody can join in.”
And as much as you loved it there, as much as you wanted to be a simple girl from a southern town—you could not ignore all of who you had been and all of where you might go.
This is the third of eleven Notes to Self that chronicle the origins of the songs on my debut album, "You Want to Know About Me."