COVID-19 Holidays in Appalachia Music

Auld Lang Syne


What a year 2020 has been. One that will go down in the annals of history for sure.

I’ve never been one to make New Year resolutions, but I do like to look back over the year and see what I wrote about on the Blind Pig as well as evaluate what things I’d like to attempt or accomplish in the coming new year. This week I’ll share posts highlighting both of those things.

Paul played a beautiful short version of “Auld Lang Syne” as he said goodbye to 2020.

I’ve always thought “Auld Lang Syne” was a hopeful song. It makes me feel an expectancy as I look ahead to a new year as well as a bittersweetness as I think of all the things that happened in the year which just ended.

As you might imagine my feelings about the song are shaped by my experiences and the American culture.

To learn about the fascinating history of the song watch this video.


Subscribe for FREE and get a daily dose of Appalachia in your inbox

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    January 3, 2021 at 7:53 pm

    Having been born on 12/31/43 I have long been hearing this song and while most people find it appealing and soothing I have always been depressed when hearing it. I know not why but it depresses me and I tend to tune it out. Thanks for letting me let my feelings come forth.

  • Reply
    Don Byers
    January 3, 2021 at 2:01 pm

    Have performed in Scotland on two different tours of Great Britain. I visited the birthplace of Robert Burns and also visited his Masonic Lodge where he served a term as Master. Have always loved this song….am told that roughly translated it means “For the Old Times”…..or “For the Good Times”

  • Reply
    January 3, 2021 at 1:43 pm

    Goodbye 2020 and will not be missed for many reasons. We lost two dear cousins and another received a bad diagnosis. That is the downside of having a huge close extended family. No matter the crisis, there is hope on the horizon with a vaccine, and the birds will sing again and the flowers will surely bloom.
    Welcome 2021, and may God shed his grace on thee. Dollar Tree has seeds out, and I grabbed a bunch, as they have done well for me and are perfect for a small garden. It is difficult to concern oneself with world events when we are picking and snapping a fresh bunch of half runners.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    January 3, 2021 at 1:38 pm

    Thanks to Paul for the salsa jar in the snow and the fizzle graphic. I have a suspicion I will remember that for a long time. And thanks for the tenor guitar version of the classic Auld Lang Syne. (I did not know there was such a thing as a tenor guitar, so am afraid to mention the slender neck and four strings.)

    Thanks also to Jim for the translation to “Long Since Gone”. Just those words alone are sad. There is so very much about which I could say that, God knows; people, places, companies, work places. The list keeps growing. Ere long I will be a feature on the list of other folks. I had to add a former co-worker to my list just today.

    • Reply
      January 3, 2021 at 5:04 pm

      Ron, I fully understand what you mean about the list. I worked at a couple of other places but most of my life , 38 years, and have been retired 7 years now at Michelin Tire US1 plant. At the last count I had there was over 300 names of co workers that had died on the list. I know that this did not include every one, I was able to add 10 more. This was about 2 years ago and this does not include classmates and others. My father in law would often say in the last years of his life that you knew you were old when more of your lifelong friends were dead than there were alive and then he would say it won’t be long before I join them.

  • Reply
    January 3, 2021 at 1:31 pm

    Thanks Paul for the beautiful music. I have always loved that song and really did not know the history. Tipper, I so appreciate your digging a little deeper and bringing the history of the music and songs. I am Scotch-Irish and have always wanted to visit Scotland and Ireland. If my health holds up, maybe I will go there in 2021 or 2022. Of course, any time the Lord comes back I’m ready to go home with him too. Happy New Year to the Blind Pig and Acorn family, and all those who read it, and God’s best for the year ahead!

  • Reply
    Gene Smith
    January 3, 2021 at 12:03 pm

    My favorite Burns line as he wrote it:

    O wad some Power the giftie gie us
    To see oursels as ithers see us!

    I went back and reread the whole poem. I found a version in Scottish and English, side by side.

  • Reply
    Liz Hart
    January 3, 2021 at 11:55 am

    Wish there were a way to give a thumbs up to some of the comments.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    January 3, 2021 at 10:03 am

    Paul’s empty jar fizzle was a perfect token of 2020.

    Until watching the video you referenced, I never knew that Auld Lang Syne wasn’t a Robert Burns original. That it was gathered, along with his insistence on preservation of the words somehow that makes it all the better.

    My favorite version has all the verses, and translation of the traditional Scottish into English:

  • Reply
    January 3, 2021 at 9:09 am

    Tipper I can not get enough of Paul playing the guitar. He is one of the best I have ever listened to. For my family, things were not bad, the worst for me was the death of my mother in law. I know we miss her and I thought of her as being another mother to me. But in truth it could be a blessing, her health had got the to point of being a burden instead of a joy. When she was told it wouldn’t be long, it made her happy, she told everyone she was soon going to Heaven and be with her husband, Curtis, and her other family members that had gone on before. She was 90 years old and I had been in the family for 48 years. When a person feels this way they know everything is right between them and God.

    I hope I don’t cause any problems for Tipper by saying this, but when I see of all the things going on in America I often think that God is warning us that we need to wake up and see what we have allowed America to become and that we had better get ready because He is soon coming back.

  • Reply
    Margie Goldstein
    January 3, 2021 at 8:33 am

    Paul plays so beautifully, it’s a moving experience and I never heard that song played so well!!! Happy New Year to everyone far and wide across this nation! May it be a year of health, wellness, abundance, prosperity and freedom ringing from coast to coast! “ I pray you may have the power to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ and that you will be filled to the measure of ALL the fullness of God.” Ephesians 14: 18-19

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    January 3, 2021 at 8:14 am

    Tipper–I enjoyed this post and Paul’s playing, although I would add that if ever there was a song meant to be married to bagpipes, it’s “Auld Lang Syne.” In times which are for me “auld lang syne” (long since gone) I lived in Scotland for a number of months while a fellow at the University of Edinburgh’s Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and another time a couple of years later when I was doing some research on African explorers. Strange as it may seem, the Scots were a great people for travel and exploration (hence the poem, “Had Cain been a Scot, God would have changed his doom; Not made him to wander but kept him at home”) and the papers of a number of famed African adventurers were there. It was one of the most memorable periods in my life.

    Scots are a grand race (I’d venture to say that most of your readers have some of the auld sod in their DNA, and certainly those who settled western North Carolina were predominantly of Scots-Irish descent) and I loved their food. It was there I was first introduced to trifle and to haggis.

    I’m also a great fan of the poetry of Robert Burns and have just enough of a grasp of the language to appreciate it. Everyone ought to read his ode to a mouse and the one to a louse.

    Altogether this is a mighty fine way to start the day, and now I need to find a YouTube offering of the song on bagpipes.

    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    January 3, 2021 at 6:27 am

    Thanks for the song, Paul. It certainly feels appropriate, this has been quite a year and I’m not feeling very optimistic about that light at the end of this tunnel. …but today is good and we are richly blessed with home, health and happiness!
    I’m going to the gym today like I do most days it always lifts my spirits to get an hour or so of invigorating exercise. They have TV’s but I never watch them, they are set on news and I can certainly do without that!
    Happy New Year to all the Blind Family both the immediate family and our extended family all over the world!

  • Leave a Reply