The idea for Breadline Blue came from when I sang with a band that did music from the Great Depression, The Blue Eagle String Band. I always wanted to sing with a band! One day, I saw an ad in the paper that they were looking for a female singing. I auditioned with "You are my Sunshine" and got the gig. 

There were three of us, two men and myself. One of the guys played guitar and banjo, the other played guitar and mandolin. My fiddling wasn't good enough, or at least my confidence wasn't. I tried autoharp but I guess they didn't think that was so good. But I think I sang pretty good. We had a radio spot with WXRL and when we heard it played back, I did sound a lot like Rose Carter.

I convinced the guys to get dressed up and so did I. We looked and sounded the part. We played often at a local cafe. The whole idea was that was practice because the program was intended to be a historical presentation for schools and museums. 

Anybody who has ever been in a band knows the whole band culture, and even though small and educational, stuff happens. I wasn't really privy to the "stuff," and just got notified that we weren't a group anymore. I was saddened by that, but enriched by the experience.

One of the tunes we played was titled Breadline Blues. The subject matter, other than being from the period, had nothing to do with my book, but I loved the title. I talked at length with our group leader who didn't think I could pull off the delicate issues of a young person riding the rails. He read the book and disagreed with himself. I DID pull it off, and with his blessing. For all the difficulties a band can have, he was well studied on the subject. 

I learned a lot about the time period from the songs, from the band, and from my own research, too. It's a very important part of American history and my hope is Breadline Blue will inspire young people to know more about it. Did you know: At least 500,000 youth were homeless and on the road? That's relevant.  


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