A Song To Ease The Ache When The Virus Pulls People Apart Helen Jones, a music teacher in Rivesville, W.V., shares a song that's getting her through: "Back Together" by Anders Osborne and North Mississippi Allstars.
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A Song To Ease The Ache When The Virus Pulls People Apart

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A Song To Ease The Ache When The Virus Pulls People Apart

A Song To Ease The Ache When The Virus Pulls People Apart

A Song To Ease The Ache When The Virus Pulls People Apart

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/845085122/845085123" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Helen Jones, a music teacher in Rivesville, W.V., shares a song that's getting her through: "Back Together" by Anders Osborne and North Mississippi Allstars.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Helen Jones is a K-through-eighth-grade music teacher in tiny Rivesville, W. Va.

HELEN JONES: It's a really beautiful place. It's right on the riverbend. You take a turn up the hill and drive up to the school. My students are the best. This is my first year teaching at the school, but it's the first school I've ever worked at that I've thought, wow, I want to teach here forever.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Jones is one of the many people who wrote in to tell us about the songs that are helping them through this difficult time. For her, it's "Back Together" by Anders Osborne and North Mississippi Allstars.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BACK TOGETHER")

ANDERS OSBORNE: (Singing) So glad we're back together now. So glad you're here.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: She played it in her classroom in early January to help her students ease back from winter break, two months before the pandemic ended their time together this school year.

JONES: We were having a good year together. I'm trying to think about - it's hard to rewind my brain before that. We were playing ukuleles. We were going to play keyboards, studying West African drumming and Latin percussion and playing the recorders, of course.

It was a Friday the 13 when the state of West Virginia announced that they were going to close down all the public schools. My heart was aching because I knew I was going to miss the students a lot. And I was worried about their access to food and, of course, educational resources. And they were really devastated. Like, the principal went around to each class. And a second-grade class came to music right after they heard that announcement, and their teacher was crying. A lot of them were crying. It was really emotional. It was hard.

(SOUNDBITE OF ANDERS OSBORNE AND NORTH MISSISSIPPI ALLSTARS SONG, "BACK TOGETHER")

JONES: I could kind of hear the song echoing in my head while I was, like, saying goodbye to the students at the end of the day on Friday, March 13. A lot of them - you know, they'll come, and they'll give you a hug. And I was just saying to them, hey, we're going to be back together. Like, we're going to be together again. Don't worry.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BACK TOGETHER")

OSBORNE: (Singing) We can paint everybody in a real good light. And this old town's coming together now, starting to feel all right, yeah. Well, I'm so glad that we're back together.

JONES: You know, we're not sure what's going to happen in the next few weeks and months, but we will all come out on the other side of this, and we will be together again. And he says, we can paint everybody in a real good light, and I think that's our daily job as teachers - to see the best in our students, to help them see the best in themselves and then to encourage them to see the best in each other. So I'm just longing for that time when seeing everybody in a real good light won't be distant anymore; it will be up close and personal again.

(SOUNDBITE OF ANDERS OSBORNE AND NORTH MISSISSIPPI ALLSTARS SONG, "BACK TOGETHER")

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That was Helen Jones, a teacher in Rivesville, W. Va., sharing "Back Together" by Anders Osborne and North Mississippi Allstars.

(SOUNDBITE OF ANDERS OSBORNE AND NORTH MISSISSIPPI ALLSTARS SONG, "BACK TOGETHER")

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