Singled Out: Southeast Engine's Adeline of the Appalachian Mountains
"Adeline of the Appalachian Mountains" is a song about a twin brother and sister living in Southeast Ohio during the early 30's who find hope in their future through one another and through the change that was occurring across the country at that time.
This song was initially inspired by a local documentary called A Forest Returns, which is about the devastation of old growth forest in Southeast Ohio and the creation of the Wayne National Forest in the 30's with FDR's presidency and WPA programs. Anyone who lives in Southeast Ohio or who has ever visited the area knows that it is geographically defined by the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and an abundance of trees. Scenes from the documentary showed that in the 20's and early 30's the landscape was almost completely barren from years of logging the old growth forest for industry until FDR put young men to work through the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) in order to bring the natural landscape back to the area. Trees were planted throughout the area, and the landscape was left alone so that mother nature could return - much of the forest just regrew naturally. The documentary also chronicles the life of the ever endearing Ora Anderson throughout this period and includes his wonderful narration.
This small history lesson affected me greatly, as it determined the landscape that I currently live in at my home in Athens, Ohio. The other element of the song is the character "Adeline," who is inspired by my wife. I always liked the idea of your lover being your "twin," or your other half. Of course, "Adeline" does not suggest romantic love between the first person and and his sister Adeline, but it is a sort of inside knowledge between my wife and I, and the song is full of details that are specific to her. I always liked the idea of having little inside private references to people close to me dressed up in a song for public consumption - it allowed the song to feel social and personal simultaneously, which I'm always striving for. Although the song is set in the context of Southeast Ohio in the 30's, it ultimately became a personal tale for me about my wife and I weathering our own storms here today and how our connection helps us endure.
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself and learn more about the album right here!