“Hear me weep and moan
Oh granny throw ’em bones.”
Those are the first two lines of the first stanza of the poem, “Bones”, by Reverend Mother Angela Wilson, Archdruid of the Wayist Druidic Order and head of the Congregation of the Cedar in Athens, Tennessee.
The phrase, “granny throw ‘em bones,” is at the heart of the refrain throughout the poem. As Wilson describes it, her poem, “not only tells the story of a Deep South love triangle. It walks you through the process of the price that magic can cost you. Nothing in this world is really ever free especially when granny throws her bones!”
It is a powerful enough story on its own, however, Wilson’s historical cautionary tale is now in a position to reach even more people. “Bones” has been set to music by fiancées Alex Sharp and Cody Hensley.
Sharp, who is originally from New Orleans and holds master’s degrees in music performance and library science, and is currently studying under Wilson to become and ovate in the order and Hensley, a multi-instrumentalist and native of Athens, TN, whose resume includes touring with internationally known rock bands such as Halestorm, Breaking Benjamin, and Hoobastank, and a successful career as a studio musician and a composer has been making music professionally for his entire adult life.
Sharp and Hensley both indicated that the music that now accompanies Wilson’s words came to them very quickly after they first read the poem.
“With ‘Throw Them Bones,’” explained Sharp, “Angela had sent me the poem and I almost immediately heard a chorus part in my mind’s eye.” Sharp said that she had had to put the project aside at the time because she and Hensley were working on an album of original music, but that they were able to pick right up where they left off once they returned to the project.
“When I came back to it, it was such a simple process,” said Sharp. “I sang to Cody what I had thought of for a chorus, he came up with a killer chord progression immediately. He played a part for me and the melody for the verses and chorus just flowed out so naturally. It was almost effortless.”
According to Sharp, however, it was not all easy.
“Now, the bridge? The bridge fought back a bit more and was a little more of a struggle, but it all came together.”
Even so, Sharp said that the whole music-writing process only took about an hour.
“Cody and I write together extremely well; there’s an ease to it I haven’t encountered before. However, with this song, in particular, there was a certain magic to it. It was like it wanted to be written.”
Henley also described the process and their relationship with Wilson as natural and easy.
While Hensley is not a Druid he fully supports Sharp on her chosen path.
“I like a lot of the teachings and I love all the people,” explained Hensley. “I’ve met some wonderful friends since I’ve been coming around and the music is a pleasure to work on.”
Wilson spoke of their friendship and their collaboration in similar terms.
“When we speak of true bardic skills few understand the process,” said Wilson.“As Alex’s teacher her gifts a far superior to anyone I’ve met! Cody is truly a master at anything he touches. The energy he puts into his work weaves a tangible spell that transforms you into something more than you were before listening. Truly a real magical combination!”
Magic is at the heart of the story Wilson tells in her poem. It is the kind of story that can be easily imagined being passed down through generations of storytellers.
“I wrote this poem after doing a teaching video on working with the ancestors,” said Wilson. “As the words poured out, literally writing themselves I realized that I was writing a historically accurate magical exchange. Problem. Price. Deed.”
A video of the song can be viewed on Facebook:
How about a murder ballad? We recorded this song for the pagan gathering we played yesterday with lyrics by our dear friend Angela Wilson
Posted by Cody & Alex on Sunday, November 10, 2019
When asked specifically about any Druidic significance she attached to the poem, Wilson stated, “This poem has nothing to do with Druidry and everything to do with it. The bardic aspect of Druidry is the ability to tell a story that has many layers. Using that skill set I set about to tell a uniquely American story. This story is a snapshot into the Deep South pre-civil war. With this setting as the backdrop, I combined the skills of bard- storyteller and mood setter- with that of the Druid- priest and teacher- to illustrate the process of a magical working.”
As with many tales of this kind, there is a lesson for the reader to take away to consider.
“The lesson here is that all magic has a price and you must consider very carefully the cause and effect of what you are asking for,” said Wilson. “I really wanted folks to stop and really think about their actions and motives before any magic is done. So, is this a Druidic poem? No. Is it a Druidic teaching tool? Absolutely.”
Considering the closeness of the relationship that Wilson, Sharp, and Hensley share and the seamless way their individual talents have come together it is not surprising to find out that they all agree that “Bones” is only the beginning of their combined creative work.
“We’re actually furthering our collaboration with Angela,” said Sharp.“She’s provided us with some new poems, and we are hoping to write some more pagan-inspired works.”
“Music is what brought us together,” added Hensley, “it’s a shared lifelong passion and neither of us has worked with someone so well in our many years of musicianship.”
“I would definitely confirm more is coming,” said Wilson. “I would like to get Cody and Alex involved in the gathering season coming up. I think pagandom would enjoy the music and awesome show they put on. I think they are the next big thing to come out of this area!”
“We’re just thankful to play and that others enjoy it,” said Hensley.
The song “Throw Them Bones” by Cody and Alex is now available on Spotify and on iTunes.