Music from the Southern Songbook II is a multi-movement work inspired by the composers’ childhood memories of growing up in the south. The first movement, Full Pull, emulates the mechanical precision and power of a tractor pull. A “full pull” means when a tractor or other vehicle pulls a given amount of weight to the finish line.
The second movement, In the Pines, is inspired by the southern folk song “In the Pines” that the composer used in his clarinet concerto X and also many other artists have used this tune including Kurt Cobain and Muddy Waters. This movement is in variation form and portrays the story of a mother who found her son’s head deep in the piney woods near a railroad track, but never found his body.
Wilt, the third movement is inspired by the oak wilt disease that has devastated many of the great live oaks in the south. Once the tree gets the fungus it shuts its root system down and by doing so kills itself. An optional pedal steel guitar is used in this movement and the Hank Williams (senior) song, “I’m So Lonesome I could Cry” was a particular influence on this movement.
The last movement Cage Match is inspired by the old WWF wrestling league in the 1970’s and early eighties. The legacy of Rick Flare (Nature Boy) and Dusty Rhodes in a match where a cage is placed over the ring was one of the earliest memories of the composer. The beginning fanfare emulates the over-the-top, flamboyant entrance that Ric Flare would do before a match. Dusty Rhodes was known for his ending blow, the Bionic Elbow move, which the composer uses the first four notes from the old seventies television series, The Six Million Dollar Man to portray this move musically.