Cumberland Gap

by Jalan Crossland

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Hailing from the “Big Square Thing,” also known as Wyoming, the performance forces of the Jalan Crossland band are: Jalan Crossland, banjo and vocals; Shaun Kelley, electric bass, double bass, cello, vocals; Andy Phreaner, drums. www.jalancrossland.com – Zachary Greenberg

Greenberg:  What was your approach, updating (and bringing your own style) to a classic Appalachian folk tune like “Cumberland Gap?”

Kelley:  This song has a long history.  The traditional versions I have heard have been more upbeat and in major keys.  Jalan does it slower and in an e dorian mode, which is minor and more dramatic.  He uses a somewhat signature right hand tapping style on a six-string banjo.  That is the approach in a nutshell.  We recorded the majority of what is on the record in one take.   The middle section is where an electric bass solo used to go live. I hated the bass solo, so I erased those 11 bars and constructed what you hear from scratch, overdubbing the cello, electric bass, and arco double bass, along with the “military” snare drum.  There are many different sets of lyrics.  Here are the ones Jalan uses:

Cumberland Gap, Cumberland Gap
We’re goin back to Cumberland Gap
Tell my uncle an’ my Grandpap
We’re all goin’ back to Cumberland Gap

Cumberland Gap is a noted place
Three kinds of water wash your face
Wash your face, scrub your feet
Spit terbacky in the street

In eighteen hunnert and sixty-two
Morgan’s Yankees all withdrew
Spike Long Tom on the mountain top
O’er the side they let him drop

Daniel Boone on the Pinnacle Rock
Sightin’ down his old flintlock
Little bit o’ powder patch and ball
Touch it off and watch ‘em fall


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