How Do You Keep Your Feet on the Ground?
Ashley Bathgate, cello
Next Festival of Emerging Artists (online)
April 1, 2021
During the initial pandemic lockdowns, I felt homesick for the first time since leaving Texas eight years earlier. Without even realizing why, I started to rediscover some of the songs from my childhood. I listened to a lot of country music as a kid, and it's deeply embedded in my memory, but my relationship with this music is complicated. On the one hand, I associate the country genre with all of the things about Texas that I wanted to escape when I was a kid: cultural conservatism, religious bigotry, pastoral provincialism, etc. On the other hand, this music is, as I said, indelible in my recollections; it's a part of me no matter how far away I get from it. And in another way, I take pleasure in listening to some of this music because it transports me back home (or at least what used to be home). This latter aspect became even more powerful in 2020 when it was unclear when I would ever be able to travel back to Texas. I latched onto a particular line from Sara Evans' 2000 song "Born to Fly" which asks, "How do you keep your feet on the ground when you know you were born to fly?" This line, a rising scale, forms the basis for my piece, a fantasia on memory for solo cello.
How Do You Keep Your Feet On The Ground? was written for Ashley Bathgate and the Next Festival of Emerging Artists and premiered online on April 1, 2021.