SPOTLIGHT: Watch Tui Perform ‘Went Up on the Mountaintop’
Photo by Zosha Warpeha
As Tui, Jake Blount and Libby Weitnauer play songs that capture the rich diversity of old-time music and that tell stories of real people and real struggles. To find songs for their new album, Pretty Little Mister, they looked for stories that resonated with them personally. Weitnauer, from Maryville, Tennessee, was particularly interested in songs from that region, and found “Went Up on the Mountaintop,” recorded by folklorist Herbert Halpert in Maryville in 1939.
Here’s the backstory from the band about “Went Up on the Mountaintop”:
“Libby found this tune in a Library of Congress recording of Austin Harmon. The Harmon family was from Cades Cove, TN, which would become part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The park’s creation displaced the communities living inside its borders, who moved into the surrounding area and took their music with them. The Harmon family was part of that exodus.”
As our Spotlight band for July 2019, Tui recorded this video of “Went Up on the Mountaintop” live at Elderly Instruments in Lansing, Michigan. The setting is far from the ancient hills and valleys of the Great Smoky Mountains, but the themes of hard journeys and remembering the people and places left behind have echoes throughout the land and across time.
Read our feature story about July 2019 No Depression Spotlight band Tui here, and stay tuned for more on the duo throughout the month!