When I was a little girl growing up on a farm in Northeast Mississippi, my family did not own a television set. In fact most of the people in our neighborhood did not own televisions. What we had was a radio and we listened to that quite a lot. It was our link to the world.
One show that my parents - and, hence, I - never missed was the Grand Ole Opry, broadcast from WSM in Nashville on Saturday night. Those were the days of people like Kitty Wells, Roy Acuff, Cowboy Copas, the Louvin Brothers, the Carter Family, and, a little later, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, and on and on, a seemingly endless progression of country music - REAL country music, not what goes by that name today - stars.
And the songs were all about lost love, drinking, cheating, trains, honky tonkin', all the classical themes of country music. That was the Grand Ole Opry that I knew.
The Opry is still there, still broadcasting on WSM, but it has changed slowly with the times and not always for the better.
But in some ways at least the changes are for the better, I think. One of those ways is represented by a group called the Carolina Chocolate Drops who make some of the sweetest music I have heard in a long time.
That performance is so pure and simple, such unadulterated beauty that it brings tears to me eyes, something that doesn't happen too often with music these days. I think I need more Carolina Chocolate Drops in my life.
(And a grateful hat tip to Paul Krugman's Friday Night Music post for bringing this performance to my attention.)