I grew up in the Mountains of West Virginia. My hometown was just a blip on the map but it was warm and comfortable. I was raised in the arms of Mother Nature and the songs of my summers were rooted in my Irish heritage. In those days, I yearned for change. Instead of appreciation, I stared, in spite, at the steady streams and felt smothered by the hills. My hometown was so small and I felt so big. I, somehow, wanted to be more than the place I came from.
So, I traveled. With every new beginning, I became something more than myself but I never became something new. Instead, I found myself clinging more tightly to my everything I had run from. I searched for the faces of my hometown in the moon, stars and above. I listened for the sweet sounds of my grandmother singing; her Irish voice ringing clear in the wind.
The further I am from my beginnings, the harder I search for them. Eventually, it has become a reminder of everything I have lost…and gained. No matter where I go in life, or how many new beginnings I may have, I am always “Within A Mile of Home.”
The grittiness of my Irish Heritage, the soft blow of the mountain wind, and the rhythm of my Uncle’s guitar…these are all things that are so ingrained within my soul that they can never be removed. Yet, I have removed myself from them. In doing this, I have become a hybrid of the world. The rhythms of all the places I have been and every person I have loved adds to the foundation that was built during my childhood. I replace my bluegrass roots with the punk rock of my rebellious spirit. It’s the same rhythm but at a different pitch. I am the same soul but with a different song. I’m “Within a Mile From Home” but still so far from it.
Flogging Molly is a perfect example of this…they are so traditionally Irish with a punk rock twist. It is impossible to limit their music to just one genre. Like me, they are hybrids of the world. Still, they remain true to their roots. I love this band, and this song because it reminds me that in all my twists and turns in life, that I am never far from being the person I was at the beginning…it reminds me to stay true to myself and never turn my back on the place from which I came….
“Don’t turn your back on me, don’t ever let me down.”
I hope this is a promise that I always keep.