The Kitchen Musician ~ February 2014

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Hello Friends,

Jiminy Crickets – it sure is cold here in New England! This month I am thinking about planning a trip to someplace warm. How about Jamaica? Come into the kitchen and warm up with some tea. I’ll sing you a song about it.

  This Month’s Music: To Jamaica!
  Upcoming Shows
  Featured Non-Profit: Pine Street Inn

At The Mediator Stage, Photo: Donald Tassone


The world mourns the death of Pete Seeger. He died earlier this week of natural causes at the age of ninety four. It is difficult to overstate the affect he has had on the lives of millions of people. There have been many informative and eloquent articles published about Pete in the last two days – for example, this New York Times article. I plan to dedicate an upcoming issue of The Kitchen Musician to this man whom I have admired and consider a mentor ever since I was a child. For now, I will just acknowledge my deep sadness, and also the immense gratitude I have for his life. Godspeed Pete Seeger, “The Last Folksinger“.

This Month’s Music
To Jamaica!

Click the image above to play the video.
To Jamaica! (the outdoor version)
© 2014 Tom Smith
I hope my New Hampshire friends know that this is all in fun. Lyrics in the comments section below.

It was 9 degrees in my back yard and the wind chill made it feel much colder. I set up the camera – tuned my guitar in the kitchen – stepped outside and pressed the record button. It didn’t matter that my guitar instantly went out of tune when it was hit by the frigid air. At this temperature, “good enough” takes on a different meaning than one would use in the studio. One take and then it was back into the kitchen for some hot chocolate.

As some of you know, my daughter Mally Smith is traveling on the adventure of a lifetime. Her successful crowdfunding project has funded her trip to Bali for advanced Yoga training. She starts that work in about two weeks. On the way there she has made a side trip to Ko Lantra, an island paradise off the Andaman Coast of Southern Thailand. Thanks to modern technology, she has been sending us occassional text messages and emails. As you can imagine we love hearing from her, but a couple of days ago it was 16 degrees Fahrenheit here in New England, and she sent the photo below to show us what she was looking at from her breakfast table.

Mally’s Breakfast View in Paradise

Not fair, Mally! Your father is wrestling with a Polar Vortex here – and losing. Dang it’s cold!

Last Friday I visited the Main Street Cafe in Groton, where I played this month’s song. The open mic there is hosted by Gayle Picard, Marc Feldman and Paula Feldman. For good reason, this open mic is known as “the coolest place on earth”. The musicians are all wonderful, the audience is attentive and enthusiastic, and the food is great. It is a rare and wonderful musical community. Marc kindly sent me a video of that performance. So here is the indoor version of “To Jamaica!” – same song but with ebullient audience participation.

Click the image above to play the video.
To Jamaica! (the indoor version)
© 2014 Tom Smith
Lyrics in the comments section below.

Wishing you all warmth and music shared with friends. See you in Jamaica!

~ Tom

(If so inclined, I invite you to leave a comment by scrolling to the end of this page.)

Upcoming Shows

Friday, Feb. 21, 2014: Groton, MA
Opening for Andrew Parker-Renga at Main Street Cafe.

Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014: WATD-FM
Joining host Sandy Tannenbaum Streid for some music and conversation. Listen live on WATD-FM 95.9, or on the web at

Sunday, Mar. 2, 2014: Concord, MA
The Chanticleers share some Irish music as we approach Saint Patrick’s Day. I am joined by Kate Chadbourne, Oen Kennedy, Pat Kenneally, Robert Phillips and Linda Abrams.

Saturday, Mar. 15, 2014: Providence, RI
Songwriters in the Round. I am joining Steve Allain, Craig Sonnenfeld and Lizzie Davis for an evening of shared music.

Click to view details for all upcoming shows.

Featured Non-profit: Pine Street Inn

Pine-Street-Inn-LogoWinters like this can be deadly for the homeless. One organization that is working hard to serve the needs of our increasing numbers of homeless people is the Pine Street Inn.

“The mission of Pine Street Inn is to be a community of respect and hope for each guest it serves; to be a resource through which neighbors and friends can help to meet the basic needs of others; and to serve as a national leader in the fight to end homelessness. … Founded in 1969, Pine Street Inn serves more than 1,600 homeless individuals daily and 9,500 annually, providing the full spectrum of services to help men and women reach their highest level of independence and get back to a place they can call home.”

For more information or to get involved, please visit this link.

  • Tom
    January 29, 2014

    To Jamaica!
    © 2014 Tom Smith (ASCAP)

    Sitting here on this New Hampshire farm
    Watching as the snow is falling down
    Guess I drank about a case of beer
    To try to get my head far out of here
    To an island in the bright sunshine
    Sipping on a rum and lime
    I would be feeling fine
    If I was in Jamaica

       Down the way where the nights are always gay
       And the sun is shining every day
       Oh to have a boat to sail away
       To Jamaica!

       With sounds of laughter ringing everywhere
       The girls are dancing barefoot there
       If only I could ride my old gray mare
       To Jamaica!

    Take me where there ain’t no wood to chop
    And the mud won’t swallow me up
    Where there ain’t no hungry flies
    To chew upon my neck and fill my eyes
    I want to feel my toes in sand
    Where I can lose my farmer’s tan
    Somebody take this man
    To Jamaica!


    Perhaps if I could change my point of view
    I would adjust this attitude
    I guess I do enjoy those bingo nights
    And every weekend there’s a rousing bar room fight
    This coming June we’re gonna’ roast a pig
    The tractor pull is an exciting gig
    Hey, who’m I trying to kid
    Take me to Jamaica!


  • Karen
    January 30, 2014

    LOVE the Jamaica song! It’s a real finger-snapper! I saw that you’re going to be at the Main Street Cafe in February…hurray! But when are you going to come up here to NH?

  • Neal
    January 30, 2014

    My Dear Tom,
    Thanks so much to both you & Mally for allowing us to even think of warmth of weather but as with ALL your songs you bring to us a warmth of the heart from all you bring to us through your Family Kitchen! I loved Jamaica & was not sure if it was my computer but listened to both outside & inside versions! The funny part was halfway thru the outside version, it froze! Tawk about ironic! Thanks too to your Dedication to the Life of Pete Seeger. He will be greatly missed by al of us yet we know his Life & Music will Live On Indefinietly! Thanks to to your support of Pine St. Inn. I was close friends with it’s founder that we lost way too soon Paul Sullivan. He penned the terms “guests” for all that come through the Pine St doorway to maintain the Pride & Dignity if ever human being! All my best to you, your family and all in your immediate world fan based
    C Ya soon, Always, Neal:))

  • Kate
    January 30, 2014

    Tom, that made me both swing and laugh! Love the outdoors version of this catchy, singable, clever song. YES to riding all our old grey mares To Jamaica!

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