I thought I'd better write my reflections today while I was looking through the website. Whenever I look at it, I get all choked up so I thought about it for a while and realized that my life was definitely impacted by the music and I should share it. I never knew Bob Nolan, never met him or saw him or any of the Sons of the Pioneers in person. Bob would be old enough to be my great-grandfather. I am of another generation altogether yet his music - yes, particularly Bob Nolan's music - had a huge impact on my life.
My mother was a huge Bob Nolan fan and a musician herself. As children, my sisters and I were treated to many impromptu sing-alongs with Mom on her guitar or on the piano and the four of us girls singing. We had two well-worn Bob Nolan songbooks and I learned to play them all. As a teenager I was so inspired by the songs that I went to work on a cattle ranch in the interior of British Columbia and lived some of the lyrics myself (e.g. Trail Dreamin, etc.) Those songs were a safe escape for myself as a teenage girl surrounded by all the usual dangers and kept me from getting into trouble. The music lured me out into the mountains on the back of my horse "Nevada" (named after a gunslinger in a Zane Grey novel). I spent many long dreamy hours riding through the beautiful landscape of the southern interior of British Columbia and so stored up a reservoir of peace and quiet to return to in times of trouble and chaos - of which there was plenty during my twenties.
Now, I am a mother of two wonderful children and I sing to them Bob Nolan's songs, some for lullabies and some for fun. I am passing along the music and spirit of the lyrics through my love of horses, the outdoors and a western lifestyle, giving them a place inside to dream or a place to retreat to when the realities of life in the 21st century become too much. By the way, my mother is Elizabeth Drake McDonald, co-author of this website. Thanks Mom! I love you!
Left: Nevada shares Fiona's graduation from High School.
Right: Bob Nolan's great grandson in impromptu "duet" with Fiona's daughter.