The great Scottish poet and lyricist Robert Burns (1759-1796) wrote "Sweet Afton" in 1791 and it was set to music by Kentucky lawyer, minister and composer Jonathan E. Spilman in 1837. The poem describes the River Afton in the Scottish Ayrshire region in well-chosen, beautiful imagery: "Flow gently, sweet Afton, among thy green braes/Flow gently, I'll sing thee a song in thy praise" and so forth. The melody is astonishing, and an adaptation of it is actually the foundation for the Christmas carol "Away In A Manger", which you'll hear immediately. This version of "Sweet Afton" is performed by the American progressive bluegrass trio Nickel Creek and is from their eponymous 2000 album. Simply beautiful!
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