Big Black Dark Lonesome Hole

Several months ago as snowstorms wrought havoc on Metro Atlanta members of Team Speleogen found themselves tucked away from the ice and snow with songwriter and first-time New Cave Art contributor Madeline whom the Team had befriended years previously while living in Athens, GA.

At the time the Team was just beginning to hatch its plans to visit Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky, and the specter of the brave but ultimately doomed caver Floyd Collins hung heavily in all our minds.

As we’ve discussed here before the Collins story is one that lends itself especially well to artistic manipulation. Film directors, fiction writers, Broadway musical creators, and pop musicians of yesteryear have all taken a stab at adapting Collins’s narrative to their respective media. And yet for whatever reason the tale appears inexhaustible, capable of further interpretations and creative embodiments.

On that snowy day in Georgia, decades after Collins’s untimely demise, Madeline and the Speleogen Team therefore hatched a plan: Using Collins’s story as a songwriting springboard Madeline would compose a new tune about him, updating the narrative for the 21st century. The song would also serve as our official theme for the Mammoth Cave excursion, which took place on March 21-23.

The resulting piece–which represents a collaboration between Madeline, Mason, Devin, and David–is the haunting yet still irresistibly jaunty “Big Black Dark Lonesome Hole.” The piece is comprised of home recordings Madeline produced and sent to Mason who added further embellishments, including documentary audio from our most recent trip to Mammoth.

The song, which is our very first collaboration with Madeline, also inaugurates the Mammoth Era in Speleogen’s development. We expect to begin publishing the multimedia pieces that our journey to Mammoth inspired beginning roughly on May 15.

We are so very pleased with how this lovely song turned out and we sincerely hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

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