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From the author: "This here, this is the sound of the Deep Dark," my Daddy said, the summer I turned 7. He was teaching me how to pick, showing me where to squeeze on the banjo's neck with my pink, tender fingers. "An old, powerful sound. It's a piece of them trees. Wherever you play it, it'll conjure 'em up." I never did know what he meant by that. Until the mining accident took him.
I used to love sittin' right there on the back porch, looking over the gulch at night, playin'. On a clear night with plenty a' moon, you can see where every hard-edged shadow and patch of light breaks off at the edge of the cliff, like splinters of a broken mirror.
Front porch was fine for playin', too. From there, though, other than the road, all you can see is forest. My Daddy used to call it "the Deep Dark". He first taught me to pick on that very porch the summer I was 7. "This here,...