Crossing the Bar is a song based on an Alfred, Lord Tennyson poem of the same name. This particular version was recorded by the bluegrass band Salamander Crossing from their album “Bottleneck Dreams”.
Salamander Crossing disbanded in 1999 but some of the original members (Rani Arbo and Andrew Kinsey) still perform under the name “Rani Arbo and Daisy Mayhem”.
The poem itself is an allegory for death. It was written near the end of Tennyson’s life. “Crossing the bar” could be interpreted to mean “crossing the sandbar” out into sea, transitioning from life into death. The Pilot is a symbol for God. Tennyson wrote that “The Pilot has been on board all the while, but in the dark I have not seen him…[He is] that Divine and Unseen Who is always guiding us.”
The song itself, I find, is strangely beautiful in that even though it is a metaphor for death it isn’t especially sorrowful. There’s a touch of reflectiveness here.
Note: I am not in any way affiliated with Salamander Crossing or their record label. If you liked this music I encourage you to purchase it for your listening pleasure. You can find it on iTunes as well as other places. – Mira Byrd, August 21, 2010