Appalachian Melody

by Mark Knox

Mark Heard was a Christian musician and singer who emerged into the spotlight in the mid-to-late 1970’s out of Larry Norman’s “Solid Rock” label. His first widespread release was entitled, “Appalachian Melody,” and musically, it drew some comparisons to James Taylor in style.

Over the years, Mark became a favorite artist of mine, Christian or otherwise. His songs read like poems, and he never went for the simple Christian cliche or buzzword. Perhaps that was why he never achieved the kind of fame that other artists did.

Mark Heard died way too soon at the age of 40 in 1992. I was standing in Gospel Gifts (a fine Christian store) looking over a copy of “CCM” magazine when I read the little news blurb. Tears welled up in my eyes as I thought about our loss and his “rise from the ruins” (his words). There are many times I wonder what kind of creative output he would have continued to have had he lived longer.

As I face the changing of the seasons from summer to autumn for the first time in many years (and the attendant raking of the leaves), the title song from that album keeps coming to mind. They lyrics liken the falling of the autumn leaves to a symphony of beauty — “music to my eyes.” This year, I’m seeing sights I haven’t seen in a long time…and I’m taking in the grandeur of it all. The Creator didn’t have to create all this beauty for us; it is his grace that gives it to us each day. Funny how I just sit and watch…

by Mark Heard
Appalachian melody drifting softly down
Instruments of gold and red and brown
Do not need no dulcimer or banjo-fiddle sound
For right now I’ll watch these leaves come down
Chorus: How peculiar liking old dead leaves against the sky
There is something more than meets the eye
Funny how I sit and watch these leaves come down from high
But these things are music to my eyes
Such a pretty song I see, have I been beguiled
This day is not imagination’s child
Every time the leaves come down I’ve just got to smile
For they sing a melody so mild
But these things are music to my eyes

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