Millions of people love genealogy. You may be one of them. But if you don’t, you probably know someone who does. It can be quite addictive. I believe genealogy is important because it helps us explore one of our most primary questions, “why am I here, and why does it matter?”
It can be a selfish pursuit, but it leads us to discover new family members and expand our views of who we are and where we came from. We all want to know “what’s in it for me?” I did too. I became interested in researching my roots because I needed to sort out some of the weird family dynamics that no one ever discussed. That family research led to stories and those stories became songs.
Genealogy is an analytical pursuit that must be meticulously researched using the left side of the brain. It is methodical, and a bit like math. There is one answer that has to be documented and proven. It isn’t art, usually. But, I was inspired as an artist to create something new from something old. The family stories of bravery and survival moved me. There was a natural narrative that chronicled my family from the time they left Europe for the American shores in the 1600s to life in Appalachia in the 1940s. So, I created a concept record. This isn’t just my story though. The stories have universal themes that everyone can relate to.
History can be dry unless it is personal. I dug deeper to get insights about my ancestor’s lives. I traveled to untold graveyards because I realized that those were some of the only places I could be certain that they had actually stood. Most homes where they had lived are gone, as well as the churches where they worshiped. Those trips gave me a small glimpse into the past and a mysterious connection to them.
My ancestors included Native Americans and some of the explorers who crossed into the Indian Territories. After 1796, my white ancestors walked the Wilderness Road into Kentucky and settled along the river valleys from Albany, Kentucky to Byrdstown, Tennessee. The Borderlands of Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina were home to my many distant cousins. My poor but industrious ancestors were the backbone that formed these United States.
My concept record is titled “Where Did the Time Go.” The music includes several styles: celtic, folk, bluegrass, jazz and old-time. It was produced by Jeff Taylor of the Time Jumpers and John Mock. To add depth to the songs, I wrote a companion book with back-stories and photographs from my genealogy road trips. The music and book are intended as a gift-set and are available here: http://euferzine.com/shop/
I record my music under the name Euferzine, which was my grandmother’s name. Pronounced: U-fur-zyne. (Rhymes with time.) To learn more about the project, visit the album website: www.euferzine.com