Alison Krauss: “Jacob’s Dream”

If this doesn’t give you chills, you should probably check your pulse. This woman’s voice is one of the treasures of our time. (Oddly enough, her early reputation was made as a virtuoso fiddler at the age of 10. Her voice matured gradually.)

The story told in the song is known as Lost Children of the Alleghenies: George and Joseph Cox (ages 7 and 5), who disappeared in the woods and kicked off a massive search only to be found (as the lore goes) by the dream of a local farmer.

Beauty and sorrow are such a powerful mix. Johnny Cash, for example, would have imbued this song with a deep gravitas. Alison Krauss, on the other hand, imbues it with a profound sense of tragedy that resonates all the more because of the lightness and delicacy (not to mention the sheer skill) of her vocal line.

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About Thomas L. McDonald

Thomas L. McDonald writes about technology, theology, history, games, and shiny things. Details of his rather uneventful life as a professional writer and magazine editor can be found in the About tab.

  • http://www.logosandmuse.com Scott Alt

    Hi Thomas,
    I’m personally connected to this story. It’s actually Jacob’s Dream–after Jacob Dibert, the farmer who had the dream about where the boys were. Those two boys that got lost were my great-great grandmother’s brothers. I have been to the cemetery where they are buried and the monument to where they were found. Talk about–even today–feeling like you’re in the middle of nowhere. I always imagine just how dark and lonely those poor kids must have been. I’ve known about Alison’s song since the album first came out; she does such a lovely job conveying the emotion of the story. Thanks for posting.

  • http://www.godandthemachine.com Thomas L. McDonald

    Dumb mistake on my part, since I’ve heard the song many many times. I corrected it. Thanks for the catch!

    That’s an amazing (and, obviously, tragic) connection and piece of family lore. Was the story passed on in the family or did you find it through genealogy?

    I’ve been to places like that: places where you just look around, and think: “If there’s a middle of nowhere, I’m a hundred miles west of it.”

  • http://www.logosandmuse.com Scott Alt

    A little of both. I developed an interest in genealogy as a kid, and it was through talking to my grandmother that she passed on the story. It was years later when the Internet made genealogy research so much easier that I was able to track down original source records of that side of my family, such as deeds and wills and so forth. It was such a small town, that you’ll find the same names coming up over and over again in the cemetery–Brown, Cox, Mock.

  • http://www.godandthemachine.com Thomas L. McDonald

    We have family areas like that as well. We also had a lot of family lore that began to gel into hard documents once we joined Ancestry.com. Stuff that had take tons of running around was now down in seconds.


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