Laurie Lewis


The Wood Thrush (YouTube video)

Laurie Lewis and her Bluegrass Pals (Rounder 0461)

I used to spend a week of every summer in Elkins, WV, at the Augusta Heritage Center. On the campus of Davis and Elkins College there was a steep wooded ravine where I first heard the singing of the Eastern Wood Thrush. That lovely, liquid voice is the sweetest bird song I think I've ever heard. A few years ago, the woods were cut down and a huge new library was built. Though quiet on the inside, it is one of the noisiest buildings I've had the experience of trying to sleep near. The Wood Thrush was displaced, and I never heard it sing again on that campus. I'm sure that the administration thinks the campus is richer for the addition of the library, but I can only think of it as immeasureably poorer. Thanks to my bluegrass singing styles class of 1997 for indulging me and helping me hear how this song goes.

Verse 1

I walked down the hall where the woods used to stand

Concrete at my feet, brick walls at every hand

And over my head steel girders so strong

Where I first felt the spell of the Wood Thrush's song


Now the Wood Thrush has vanished, seeking the place

That's not felt the crush of Man's embrace

The steep woods are gone now, and oh, how I long

To again feel the spell of the Wood Thrush's song

Verse 2
Over my head just a few years ago
The poplar leaves shivered when the breezes did blow
Now the deep hum of engines drowns the soft sigh
Of the wind in the leaves of the few trees nearby

Verse 3
Man is the inventor, the builder, the sage
The writer and seeker of truth by the page
But all of his knowledge can never explain
The deep mystery of the Wood Thrush's refrain