House of the Drowning Sun

In 2006 I took an arrangements class at Meadowlark Music Camp with the amazing vocalist, guitar player, harmonizer, and arranger, Cindy Kallett (http://cindykallet.com). I had an idea for a version of “House of the Rising Sun” that focused on Hurricane Katrina and the impact of destroying the coastline growth that protects us from floods and hurricanes, and I decided to use that as my class piece.

The amazing thing about an arrangements class where everyone is better than you, is that you get to say things like, “I’m looking for something for this tune that feels angry.” And then everyone goes around in a circle and tries different bits and pieces of stuff that you couldn’t do in a million years, and you get to pick and choose what you like and then put them all together into something far greater than you could do on your own. So I came out of it with awesome sad flute pieces from Anna Grosslein, and really angry fiddle from Lyle Hawthorne, and I asked both of them and my daughter if they’d perform it with me on the final performance night–and this was the result.

It starts off with my guitar playing a bit rocky–I was nervous! And I screw up the vocals more than once. But all and all, it conveyed the meaning and emotion I was looking for. And the audience kicked in at the end the way only the Meadowlark audience can do. So, ten years later, I decided it was time to put some imagery on it as well, and here’s the result.

  • Kee Hinckley – guitar, vocals
  • Anna Grosslein – flute
  • Shireen Hinckley – fiddle, vocals
  • Lyle Hawthorne – lead fiddle
  • Meadowlark attendees – chorus

Many thanks to Cindy Kallet and the Arrangements class for all their assistance.

House of the Drowning Sun

Kee Hinckley

Verses

There is a house in New Orleans
They call the Rising Sun
It’s been the ruin of many a poor boy
And Lord I know I’m one

My mother was a tailor
Sewed my new blue jeans
My father was a working man
Down in New Orleans

My father worked hard all his life
Building up our dreams
Draining swamps and cutting trees
That protected New Orleans

Mothers’ warn your children
Not to do the things we have done
Burning fields and market yields
Have drowned the Rising Sun

I’ve got one foot in the ocean
The other it’s on the land
I can’t go back to New Orleans
There’s no place left to stand

There was a house in New Orleans
They called the Rising Sun
It’s been the ruin of many a poor boy
And Lord I know I’m one
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