Its been a while since I have posted. Sorry about that. I swore to myself and probably to you that I would be more reliable. But we have been traveling and I have been meeting so many people and having face to face conversations that I forget. Oh no, I haven’t forgotten you. I forget that those individual conversations have not happened with each of you.
So, very belated story from our first trip through the gulf states. We scheduled a show in Baton Rouge Louisiana. It was a typical show, part of a full tour that took us from the Florida panhandle, through Alabama, Louisiana, Texas and home again. A couple of days before the show we were putting together a list of songs to play. As you know we almost always play “Louisiana”. Its the song about Aidan’s father and his decision to turn down a good job because he didn’t want his kids to go to a segregated school. Although that story took place in post civil rights days, the south often had its own set of rules.
The song is off of our first CD and its one of the only songs we still play from that collection. It specifically mentions Baton Rouge. So we pondered. To do the song in Baton Rouge, or not to do the song in Baton Rouge. That was the question. Whether ’tis better to be polite in the face of a hopefully appreciative audience, or to suffer the consequences of who we are, tell our truths as they are. So of course, we had to do play the song and we had to give its history. Aidan spoke about the climate of the era, he mentioned by name the bishop who oversaw the parish schools. People listened. We played the song. People applauded. We could have been in any town. Folks were fine with hearing about the history of their region, good and not so good.
After the show a woman spoke at length with Aidan. She had been in catholic school at that time. The same segregated schools that Aidan might have attended had his father made a different choice. She said that change came more quickly than expected, partly because of the same bishop who had talked to Aidan’s father about the segregation in the schools and the limited plan for change. That bishop was later a part of the inter-racial council that worked to end segregation in private and religious institutions.
It was a risk we didn’t need to take. We have other songs. But we trust the audience. Always.
They, you, never disappoint.
Thanks for that.