Leaving the Station


Hello, and welcome to Lonesome Whistles. This whole first post/introductory thing is sort of awkward, but here we go…

What is this exactly? Over the course of writing a dissertation on the history of railroads in the US South in the 1880s and 90s, I obsessively compiled a playlist of roughly 250 songs about trains to form a sort of writing soundtrack. The dissertation is (for the most part) done, but the songs remain, and in an effort to keep up with some writing, albeit in a more informal setting, I am launching Lonesome Whistles, a blog devoted to train songs. A cursory overview of my day job, can be found at my admittedly lame personal website here. This blog will contain the leftovers – musings, rantings and ravings about train songs.

So what are you going to see here? Songs about trains, as well as whatever I feel like writing about the songs. For the historical ones, I’ll provide some historical context and relevant anecdotes, and for the more recent songs the writing will probably veer towards artist profiles. Lonesome Whistles will ideally combine my love of history, specifically storytelling and narrative, with my interest in music, from both past and present.

My own musical tastes and biases will obviously peak through here on occasion – you can stalk my last.fm account here, if you’re into that kind of thing. Anyone interested in getting in touch, or following both blog updates and mundane details about my life, can tweet at me here. The vagaries of my post-grad school existence mean I cannot promise any sort of sustained frequency of posting at this point, but I will try to keep the content train moving.