If you have heard me perform “Drake Hollow”, you have probably heard me share the story of how I wrote the song. At the risk of redundancy, let me chronicle that story here as well.
We happen to live in a very special place. Our house is located alongside a creek that for a hundred years or so, was utilized to supply power to a number of mills. I won’t delve deeply into the remarkable history of the valley in this essay. Right across the creek from our house, there used to be a structure that was originally constructed as a boarding house for the mill workers. Ultimately, it was converted into a residence by Hawley Drake.
Mr. Drake was an interesting character and a known abolitionist. He offered his residence as a safe house/stopping point for the Underground Railroad. The various Under Ground Railroad routes often follow waterways through Ohio and such was the case here in the valley where I live.
Although there have been 10 or more new houses built on the road since we moved here in 1999, there is still enough open space to sense the connection to the history of the valley.
A few years back, I was taking an early morning walk and as the dawn was breaking, a fog was hanging over the creek. I stopped on the bridge and looked up the stream. I tried to imagine what it must have been like to slip away under the cover of darkness to begin an overland journey from the Deep South to Canada.
In a matter of minutes, all of the elements of the song came to me.
As the song began to evolve, I hoped to someday share it during Black History Month, and I finally made that happen this week.
A studio version will be on my upcoming record, but I posted the version on YouTube that was recorded at Silver Maple House Concerts in November. 2023 .
I hope you enjoy it
A look upstream