The American Chestnut Project
"Chestnut Tree" (Helen's Song)
Inspired by the stories told by Helen Titch Nichols, born in 1924
Great American stories of hardship, struggle, family, and life in the mountains are woven into folk songs passed through generations. Some songwriters with strong Appalachian roots are still gathering the stories of their elders and crafting them into songs that tell about life in a different time. Catskill Mountain folk-rock singer-songwriter, Theodore Leland Finkle collaborated with his cousin Jody Nebesnik and her family friend, Dr. Heidi Moore, on the lyrics of this song. His wife, Pamela West, wrote the haunting, old-timey melody. The story is one of many their great-aunt Helen told of growing up on Beach Hill in Andes, New York, during the time of the depression. The chestnut tree in this song is an iconic symbol of a way of life that, much like the chestnut tree, has widely died out in American culture, yet the roots remain in the words of Helen's story.
This Song was written in dedication to my mother on her 90th birthday and proceeds from this song support the New York State chapter of The American Chestnut Foundation. We invite you to listen to this song. If you like it you can download it as well as share the link with others.