Wow! What a song we have for you this Monday morning. Anya Hinkle has fronted the bluegrass band Tellico for some years, but she’s branching out with the release of solo singles on Organic Records, of which this is the second.
‘Hills of Swannanoa‘ was co-written with noted musician and ceramics artist Akira Satake, and is based on a true story of an early 20th century flood that took place in the heart of the region. Anya Hinkle has explained the background to the song and the true story it portrays: “‘Hills of Swannanoa’ is the story of the Great Flood of 1916. The unusually heavy mid-summer rains that year, coming in addition to heavy logging in the Carolina mountains, caused severe flooding of the Swannanoa and French Broad Rivers and heavy damage in the Asheville area. My friend, Akira, had written an instrumental tune called ‘Swannanoa’ after moving to nearby Black Mountain almost 20 years ago to start a ceramics studio, and he asked me if I might want to write some lyrics. I let my mind wander to the beautiful Swannanoa Valley, where I spent a lot of time with my daughter when she was very small. There is a mystical feeling there: vibrations from the ancient Cherokee, heavy mists that shroud the hills, generous green that carpets the valleys. It feels sacred, sad and beautiful.”
Certainly striking, certainly beautiful, ‘Hills of Swannanoa‘ is everything one could look for in a bluegrass-tinged Americana folk tale.