In 1963, Grand Ole Opry star Porter Wagoner wrote and released the song “Y’All Come,” which tells of the bonds that country people share with each other. In the truest sense, whether people are related by blood or closeness on farms, ranches, or homesteads, the word family, in the country sense, represents any kind soul who cares for another in his or her community or its immediate or even distant region.
Wagoner’s “Y’All Come” offers a glimpse of country life when family and friends stop to eat and fellowship, but it has an even deeper meaning.
The lyrics include: “When you live in the countryside, everyone is your neighbor, on this one thing you can rely on, they will all come to you and never leave you, saying that you all come to see us by and by .”
Many country, old-time, bluegrass, and folk music stars have adopted this song and incorporated it into their shows. I include it as the opening song for many of my rural shows because I want the audience to know that I deliver and I’m looking for an immediate connection that we can share throughout the performance.
As soon as I get to the chorus, where the audience is called to shout at me after I sing “y’all come”, I know instantly if they are with me, and I haven’t found an audience yet that does not offer enthusiastic chants of “y’all come” in response. It’s a magical thing.
Bill Withers wrote the song “Lean on Me” with the lyrics: “Lean on me, when you’re not strong, and I’ll be your friend.” I will help you continue.
Believe it or not, Oscar Hammerstein II and Richard Rogers wrote the song “You’ll Never Walk Alone” for their musical “Carousel,” and the recently deceased Gerry Marsden of Gerry and the Pacemakers (managed in the mid-1990s 1960 by Brian Epstein and recorded by Sir George Martin of Beatles fame), took the song and turned it into a worldwide hit that became the theme song for Liverpool Football Club in England, where tens of thousands of fans worshipers sing the song during football. (soccer) matches.
In December 2019, when a fire destroyed our home and claimed the lives of our puppy and our cat, “You’ll Never Walk Alone” became ingrained in my psyche, and I often interpreted it as a way to release emotions and let people know that as long as there are friends and family around to offer support, it is possible to move forward in a positive way and rebuild a life and a home.
I could go on and on about songs that offer emotional support and embrace a loving perspective on tragedy, so I’ll just mention one more. “Loves Gonna Live Here” is a song written by Buck Owens and for me, this song also says it all with these lyrics, “Oh the sun is gonna shine in my life once more, love is gonna live here again. will be as before, love will live again here.
This is the song I chose for my time on the mic at Saturday’s benefit concert at the Kutztown Rod and Gun Club for the Losito family of Greenwich Township whose home was destroyed by fire on March 12. Veteran guitarist Carl Zeppelin and longtime friend Lester Miller contacted me to offer musical support for the occasion.
Zeppelin and others organized a wonderful countryside outing which attracted many participants, and even when the electricity and power to the entire facility and surrounding area was cut off due to unknown circumstances, that didn’t stop the fearless group of friends and family as they quickly raced home to get generators so the show could go on.
Zeppelin organized a great lineup of musicians which included the Honkytonk Medics, Dayne Losito, (one of four family members who lost his home in the fire), Aiden Wilson, The Zeptones and me with Dave “Mitch” Miller, Phil Sheetz, Holden Miller Schaeffer and Lester Miller. Prior to the concert, over $17,000 was raised for the Losito family, and I understand Saturday’s event raised at least another $7,500.
I’ve known Missy and Bobby Losito for a few decades because we all worked together putting on shows on the Kutztown Folk Festival hoedown stage. I watched their relationship grow, mature, bear fruit with two wonderful sons, Dayne and Kayde, and now I watched, a bit muffled, as Missy and Bobby took the mic to thank everyone for the efforts on their behalf. .
For me the most poignant part of the evening was when Bobby got down on one knee with his two sons standing over him, taking Missy’s hand in his, opening a box to offer a replacement wedding band for the ring that was lost during the fire panic. It was a heartfelt and indelible moment in the countryside, with family and friends gathered to support him. The ring and the gift of it confirmed that, as the song says, “Love’s gonna live here again” with Missy, Bobby, Dayne and Kayde Losito.
Next on my schedule is another fundraising concert for Todd Gladfelter, who fell off a roof last November and broke his neck. Todd is fighting back and making incredible progress, so come join us at Hawk Mountain on May 28 from 11:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. I’ll write more about that in next week’s column, but put the event in your schedule and y’all come.
Dave Kline is an award-winning writer, photographer, host and producer, singer-songwriter, travel guide and community advocate. Contact him at [email protected]