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  • Writer's pictureJay Lewallen

Cool Breeze

Cool Breeze is my ode to the Blue Ridge mountains and Blowing Rock, NC. I wrote the song as a project for a music composition class at San Francisco City College. It is easy to be in San Francisco and think of the Blue Ridge mountains as a dream since they are far away in so many ways. My memories of them include a unique emotion that only they bring out.

My family started visiting Blowing Rock NC during the summers in my earliest days and eventually moved there when I was going into the 7th grade. We lived on Highway 221, the Linville Road, which winds its way from Blowing Rock to Grandfather Mountain. I can remember about every bend in the road, the rock faces and canopies of trees. I stayed until finishing up at Appalachian State University and then I was California bound. I'm still here on the west coast but I often think of the Blue Ridge mountains. I am always swept away by the geographic beauty and moved by the spirituality of this old mountain range. There is a true goodness in many of the people there that is in tune with the mountains.

Cool Breeze is special to me for many reasons in addition to the subject matter. My college roommate, the one and only Van Smathers (who taught me how to approach the guitar and perform a song), added an amazing guitar track throughout and a second vocal part during the last verse. I think his parts take it over the top! My brother David plays drums and lays down the groove! (I miss our days in the Lucky Lew Band but we will have more jams to come). David was born in the Blue Ridge mountains, another highlight of my time there. Bob Scott, bass player for the Lucky Lew Band, always brings his A game and the right stuff. This song also gave me a chance to play some Stevie Wonder-inspired harmonica.

In case anyone is wondering, I got a grade of A on my project.

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