Appalachia Music

It’s Train Month Again on the Blind Pig and The Acorn Youtube Channel!

Freight Train

Hard to believe its time for Train Month on the Blind Pig and The Acorn Youtube Channel. Paul started the series last November and has been chugging along on it again this year. If you’d like to read the details about the series jump back to this post from last year.

I’ll let Paul tell you about the train song I’m sharing today which was posted about two weeks ago.


Last weekend, I was fortunate enough to enjoy a few hours with Mr. Jerry Leslie, who is renowned in our area as a great guitarist in the style of Chet Atkins. Jerry lives one county over from me, only about a half hour away. When I started the train song series last year, my hope was to highlight some of the amazing musicians who live in our area and to capture spontaneity by sticking to a no-rehearsal, one-take ground rule. This installment makes good on both of those visions!

Before we turned the camera on, we agreed upon the number of verses, breaks, etc., and we agreed to play in G major for the singing and C major for the breaks. Freight train has always been one of my favorite train songs. Even though the words are a bit melancholy, the melody is a happy one, a tune that makes your toes tap and sticks in your brain for the rest of the day.

Jerry is 79 years young. In the few hours I spent with him, I learned a lot of interesting things about him, like the fact that he and his wife are amazing table tennis players! I’ve never seen anyone play ping pong on that level outside of watching table tennis in the Olympics on TV. Jerry also has a great mind for engineering. While I was there, I got to see an electric can crusher that he built for his neighbor as a Christmas gift (his neighbor recycles cans). Most of all, Jerry is just a genuinely nice, humble guy. Pap and I went over to his place a couple of times probably 10-15 years ago to make music and sing. It was great to reconnect with him, and my visit produced one of my favorite videos so far in the series. Should you wonder about the snare drum at the end. I had never played one before and just wanted to give it a try. Fun, but not easy! Anyway, I hope you enjoy this train song as much as I enjoyed filming it. Jerry’s son is also an amazing guitarist. There used to be a great video of him on YouTube playing an outstanding version of the Peanuts theme song on acoustic guitar, but I cannot seem to find it now. If it’s still online and I can find it, I will post a link later. 🙂


I hope you enjoyed this train song. Be on the lookout for more train songs from our November Youtube Series.


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  • Reply
    Allison B
    November 18, 2018 at 5:51 pm

    Yes, great job on the song.
    When I read the post earlier today, realized that there was a train in a dream that I had last night. Kinda like the Virginia Creeper, a short-line locomotive train that I remember from my childhood that ran through Ashe County when I was a child. Once I remember being close enough for my brother and I to get a wave from the engineer as we drove toward town for groceries 🙂 Anyway, when I first read the post, I thought ‘this must be the end of my dream’. My mom used to say that sometimes when I was a kid. As far as I know it means when something happens the next day that you saw, or reminds you of, something you dreamed about the night before. I did wonder if that saying has any ‘ties’ to Appalachia? or not?

  • Reply
    betty stephenson
    November 18, 2018 at 1:58 pm

    great job guys

  • Reply
    aw griff
    November 18, 2018 at 12:16 pm

    Good job! I tried finger picking freight train, but I never could get in all the notes.
    I used to live close to a graveyard and there was train coupler used for a head stone. Never could find out if that’s what killed the man.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    November 18, 2018 at 8:10 am

    My Dad used to tell the weather by the sound of the train blowing for the crossing about a mile away. Can’t remember now how it worked but sometimes the train would sound close and at other times far away.

    The first through-run from Cincinnati to Chattanooga on that line was in 1873. It took 30 more years before logging and coal mining to make much use of it. As today people talk of ‘flyover country’ I guess we were ‘ridethrough country’.

  • Reply
    November 18, 2018 at 8:09 am

    Thats good. I like it.Tipper, they need to go to Dollywood! Thanks for sharing it with us. God Bless!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    November 18, 2018 at 7:53 am

    Nice job, thanks Paul and Jerry! The drums sounded really good with the song too.

  • Reply
    November 18, 2018 at 6:49 am

    Hi ….loved Freight Train singing and playing….did a fine job! Tks for sharing it with us!

  • Reply
    November 18, 2018 at 6:48 am

    Wow, nicely done, we have a few finger pickers around hear, but that’s a style that takes a lot of practice to master, but they say once you get it, kinda like riding a bicycle, you may get a little wobbly every once in a while but you stay on and enjoy the fun.

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