Copyright ©2009 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

LIANE HANSEN, host:

Our occasional feature, What's in a Song, continues today with music from singer Connie Dover. Born in Arkansas and raised in Missouri, she claims an unusual pedigree of ancestors from Ireland, Scotland, England and the Cherokee Nation. And she's known for music that forges cultural connection between Celtic lands and the American west. Today's song, "I'm Going to the West" is her ode to America's wide open spaces - far from the din of the city - where there's always time to stop and smell the sage.

(Soundbite of music)

Ms. CONNIE DOVER (Singer): My name is Connie Dover. I'm from Arkansas originally, but I live in northwest Missouri. I work on ranches in Wyoming.

(Soundbite of song, "I'm Going to the West")

Ms. DOVER: (Singing) In this fair land I'll stay no more, here labor is in vain. I'll seek the mountains far away and leave the fertile plain.

Ms. DOVER: This really is more a song about longing, not even so much a song about escaping the chaos of modern life, but it's a deep desire to be conjoined with the natural world again. And I suppose in the chorus the speaker is saying that he or she is ready to make that transition, and they're having to separate themselves from their personal lives to seek their own paradise.

(Soundbite of song, "I'm Going to the West")

Ms. DOVER: (Singing) I'm going to the west. You say you will not go with me. You turn your eyes away. You say you will not follow me no matter what I say.

Ms. DOVER: So often when we visit a place to be in nature, we are alien observers. We take photographs and we leave. And part of the yearning that I often feel is that I want to be in there with the trees, and the mountains, and the caves and the animals - not feeling like an interloper, but as part of that whole world.

(Soundbite of song, "I'm Going to the West")

Ms. DOVER: (Singing) I will journey to the place that was shaped by heaven's hand. And I will build for me a bow where angel footprints mark the land.

Ms. DOVER: And I know when I go out west and I'm cooking on one of the ranches where I work, I don't take much with me, and I usually live in a little cabin. And you can decorate a cabin very nicely with a couple of candles, and some sage, and a few rocks and a book or two.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. DOVER: We need so little. And looking out the window, it can be as entertaining as a satellite network. Trust me.

(Soundbite of song "I'm Going to the West")

Ms. DOVER: (Singing) Wind my blanket, earth my bed, my canopy a tree. Willows by the riverbed will whisper me to sleep. I am going to the west.

Ms. DOVER: I've traveled to a lot of places in the world and many beautiful places, but when I start heading west, and I start to see the land rise and the cedars and the pines take over, I start to have a physical response to it. I mean, just the pounding heart and sometimes the welling eyes. And I feel like my appearance starts to change. I feel like I look different when I come out here.

(Soundbite of song, "I'm Going to the West")

Ms. DOVER: (Singing) I am going to the west. I am going to the west.

HANSEN: You can hear Connie Dover's full song, "I'm Going To The West," on our Web site nprmusic.org. What's in a Song is produced by Hal Cannon and Taki Telonidis of the Western Folklife Center.

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR news. I'm Liane Hansen.

Copyright © 2009 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.