Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Waltzing Matilda: Narrative Music by Joe Hart

Joe Hart writes horror and thriller novels, like a bunch of em. His latest novel, The Last Girl, is the first of a trilogy and jeez... has all appearances of busting blocks. His Narrative Music entry is on a classic...

Check it out and then give The Last Girl a looksee. 

Narrative Music by Joe Hart

Waltzing Matilda is considered by many the unofficial national song of Australia and is very recognizable to a great number of the population outside the continent, but has always seemed like a very sad, haunting song to me.

I know some of the history behind its creation, how the music is actually of a Scottish origin and that a man named Banjo Patterson wrote the lyrics to it back in 1895. How its content, while seemingly innocuous at first listen, does have a mooring in the mysterious death of an itinerant worker (swagman) who allegedly burnt down a non-union sheering building and supposedly committed suicide. But even with these dark tones behind the origins of the song I always interpreted the lyrics a little differently.

Waltzing Matilda is slang for carrying a pack, coat, or something valuable with you on a trek, but when listening to the melancholy notes along with the lyrics I always envision someone burdened by something much heavier as they travel through their life. Any number of challenges could be replaced within the symbolism of the pack; drugs, depression, even death.

Perhaps the jolly swagman wasn’t jolly at all.

In fact, since during the time period in which the song was written, itinerate workers weren’t allowed to vote because a person was required to have a permanent residence for at least six months to have the right, and these workers didn’t due to the nature of having to travel so often.

Imagine trekking across a treacherous landscape on foot, performing hard labor, but doing so without the right to vote and have a say in the political climate to perhaps better yourself.

History is full of these situations upon closer inspection of different creative mediums, and songs are no exception. I truly wouldn’t be surprised at all if many of the people from the era of this classic tune waltzed much deeper and darker things while on the road.

Joe Hart was born and raised in northern Minnesota. Having dedicated himself to writing horror and thriller fiction since the tender age of nine, he is now the author of more than a dozen novels that include The River Is Dark, Lineage, and EverFall. The Last Girl is the first installment in the highly anticipated Dominion Trilogy and once again showcases Hart’s knack for creating breathtaking futuristic thrillers. When not writing, he enjoys reading, exercising, exploring the great outdoors, and watching movies with his family. For more information on his upcoming novels and access to his blog, visit his website.

1 comment:

Dana King said...

I own the Small Change album, but never pass up an opportunity to listen to Waits sing that. Thanks for the background on the original. That was all news to me.