Monday, September 3, 2012

Episode 126 (September 3, 2012): "Cumberland Gap" by Dwight Diller and Timothy Seaman

Please see below (after the transcript and show notes) for links to news and upcoming events.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of September 3, 2012.

This week, we feature a traditional song about a prominent geographic feature found at the southwestern tip of Virginia and at the top of each Virginia Water Radio episode.  Have a listen for about 45 seconds.


You’ve been listening to part of “Cumberland Gap,” performed by Dwight Diller and Timothy Seaman on the 2004 CD “Virginia Wildlife,” from Pine Wind Music.  Dating at least from the Civil War and widely recorded, the song refers to the gap in Cumberland Mountain at the far southwestern tip of Lee County, Virginia, where Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee meet.  For centuries, the gap provided passage through the mountains for native peoples, and after European settlement it was the opening through which hundreds of thousands of settlers took the Wilderness Road from Virginia to western territories.  For millions of years before those human passages, geologic movements, water, wind, and perhaps the impact of a meteorite were causing the erosion that eventually formed a key pathway over the imposing mountains of the Appalachian chain.

For other water sounds and music, and for more Virginia water information, visit our Web site at, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  From the Virginia Water Resources Research Center in Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


View from Pinnacle Overlook in Cumberland Gap National Historical Site.  Photo from the National Park Service,, 8/27/12.

Acknowledgments: Music on the CD “Virginia Wildlife” is copyright 2004 by Timothy Seaman and Pine Wind Music, used with permission.  Mr. Seaman’s Web site is  The “Virginia Wildlife” CD was a collaboration between Mr. Seaman and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries; for more information, visit

Sources and More Information:  Information on the Cumberland Gap area was taken from the National Park Service’s Web site for the Cumberland Gap National Recreation Area,, 8/27/12.  For an introduction to the Cumberland Gap meteorite impact crater, see “Giant Meteor Found to have Struck Appalachia,” Christian Science Monitor, 5/18/10.  The long history of the song “Cumberland Gap” is shown by its inclusion on “Songs of the Civil War Era,” a 1972 recording at the Library of Congress’s online catalog (at, 8/27/12), and on “Ballads of the Civil War,” a 1954 recording at the Smithsonian Folkways Web site (, 8/27/12).

Recent Virginia Water News
            For news relevant to Virginia's water resources, please visit the Virginia Water Central News Grouper, available online at

Water Meetings and Other Events
            For events related to Virginia's water resources, please visit the Quick Guide to Virginia Water–related Conferences, Workshops, and Other Events, online at  The site includes a list of Virginia government policy and regulatory meetings occurring in the coming week.