You may recall the 15 prints project I did last year - The Wild Hunt via woodcut. This year we've been assigned a CD cover, tying together the ideas of Landscape (for an upcoming conference on the theme), music from our homes, and created images. I decided to go with an Appalachian bluegrass tune from our mountain home in Epworth - "Muddy Road to Ducktown." I loved that it was so distinctly American and also honored a friend...
The tune was written by a copper hauler trying to calm his beasts as they trudged along the Ocoee River Road, hauling copper ore to Cleveland, Tennessee via mule or oxen. If you've read my novel, A Bird on Water Street, you'll know that the area was completely deforested as miners cut down trees to feed the smelting pits that spewed sulfuric dioxide into the atmosphere and came down as acid rain, which killed any remaining plant life. In other words, the road in and out of the area was nothing but MUD.
I've written stories (not yet published) about how the song has been handed down from fiddle player to fiddle player, a cultural treasure, but I'd yet to illustrate it. Now, Lisa Jacobi, my friend and one of the latest treasure-keepers of the song (it was handed down to her by 99 year old Bob Douglas, who played it live one year later on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry in celebration of his 100th birthday), she will get on me about the oxen - they used mules more often than oxen. But they did use oxen too, and that's what I've had in my head for ages. So, in the very short amount of time I had to do this project, I went with the oxen. Here's my process.
It began with a quick sketch.
Update! Want to hear the song? CLICK HERE!!!!