The Kitchen Musician ~ April 2017

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Hello friends,

Reacting to recent front page news – why can’t I shake this feeling of déjà vu? We have been here before. Perhaps you have had similar feelings lately? Let’s compare notes at the kitchen table.






Index
  News:
  This Month’s Music: We Have Been Here Before
  Upcoming Shows
  Featured Non-Profit: Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA)

Tom and David Mallett – deep conversation.
Photo: © 2017 Mike Burd


News

I would especially like to see you at Club Passim in Cambridge, MA on Wednesday May 3rd at 8:00 pm when I open for the great Texas songwriter, Billy Crocket. Billy is enjoying critical acclaim for his late 2016 release of RABBIT HOLE on Blue Rock Artists. He has recorded twelve solo albums and toured internationally. Billy is a multi-instrumentalist and has produced albums for Cliff Eberhardt, Grace Pettis, Beth Wood, RJ Cowdery, Darryl Purpose, and others. Rolling Stone calls his warm sound “coffeehouse folk without pretension.” American Songwriter writes, “He achieves that delicate fusion of refinement and soul…, delivering the essence of the thing with crystalline purity.”

Please join us! Here is the ticket link.

Lot’s happening in my music world this spring – two shows at the famed Club Passim, returning to the New England Folk Festival, opening for Kim & Reggie Harris, two shows at Dedham Square Coffeehouse, performing in and/or helping to organize several shows on the theme of protest songs, and much more! Scroll down to Upcoming Shows for details.





This Month’s Music
We have Been Here Before


We have Been Here Before
© 2017 Tom Smith (ASCAP)
Click the image above to play the video.
Lyrics in the comments section below.


Today marks the end of a remarkable week of increased military tensions in the world – the firing of fifty nine Cruise missiles on Syria, U.S. deploys Navy strike team as Korea tests long range missiles, and the U. S. drops the biggest non-nuclear bomb in Afghanistan.

Realizing that I have been writing a lot of topical songs lately, I tried to write a non-topical song this month by escaping to my peaceful New Hampshire cabin. The weather and scene outside the cabin door was beautiful, but I couldn’t shake the ominous feeling of deja vu – the feeling that we have been in this situation before and the results were not good. I will try a little harder to write a non-topical next month, but this month I share “We Have Been Here Before”.

My topical song activities recently have extended beyond writing and performing. For example, with my friends Ron Israel, Dan Cloutier, Jon McAuliffe, Chris Boehmer and John Boehmer we have organized two big local events. The first takes place on Thursday April 27 at Amazing Things Arts Center, Framingham, MA. This is an open mike based upon the theme “The Art of the Protest Song”. Participants are invited to sing a new or old protest song, and from what I gather this will be very well attended. Care to join us?

Proceeds from the open mike will help pay expenses for a larger “Art of the Protest Song” event on July 2 at The Armory, Somerville, MA. This show features Sarah Lee Guthrie (granddaughter of Woody Guthrie), David Roth (internationally known folk artist), Reggie Gibson (rap artist and winner of the National Poetry Slam Contest), Tan Tumbao, (a Latino-American Salsa Band performing freedom songs). The $20 ticket price will benefit MIRA, The Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (see Featured Non-Profit below.

I also created a new Facebook group named Topical Songwriters Alliance to provide a safe place where folks can share and discuss topical songs and songwriting.

Feel free to share all of this with those who may be interested in modern topical songs, or songs of protest.

Steady on!

Tom

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



Upcoming Shows

April 21, 2017 @ 8:00 pm: Dedham Square Coffeehouse, Dedham, MA
Splitting the evening with Carlin Tripp and Julia Mark. This should be fun!

April 22, 2017 @ 12:00 pm: New England Folk Festival, Mansfield, MA
Returning to the New England Folk Festival, performing a set entitled “New Songs from Old Traditions” with my good friends Peter Fischman and Deb O’Hanlon. Following this show, I join the Children’s Music Network for a program of songs for people of the younger persuasion.

April 22, 2017 @ 7:00 pm: NH Songwriters, Concord, NH
Featuring at the monthly meeting of the New Hampshire Songwriters, sharing my songs and some discussion about songwriting. If you are interested in attending, please contact Chris O’Connor via e-mail at freeceoconnor@hotmail.com.

May 3, 2017 @ 7:30 pm: Club Passim, Cambridge, MA
Returning to one of my favorite folk venues as I open for the great Texas songwriter, Billy Crocket. There is never a bad show or a bad seat at Club Passim. I love the new menu too! Join us!

May 6, 2017: Recording, 502Sessions, Dedham Cable TV
PRIVATE SHOW: Recording an episode for Emmy-nominated TV show “502 Sessions” with host Brian Kirby.

May 12, 2017 @ 8:00 pm: Dedham Square Coffeehouse, Dedham, MA
Splitting the evening with my good friend, Craig Sonnenfeld – great songwriter, plays guitar like those old southern blues men. Warm and friendly room.

May 13, 2017 @ 7:00 pm: Javawocky Coffeehouse, Brockton, MA
Honored to open for Kim and Reggie Harris – great duo with a long and lauded history of music for social justice.

May 27, 2017 @ 9:45 pm: Club Passim, Cambridge, MA
Returning to Club Passim for their “On the Cutting Edge of the Campfire” festival, in the round with Will Dailey, Chris Kasper and Carlin Tripp. That’s some great songwriters and performers there! The festival runs for the entire Memorial Day weekend, from Friday through Monday. Best value for folk music in Boston on Memorial Day weekend!

June 9, 2017 @ 6:00 pm: Bittersweet Co. True Storytelling, Hopkinton, MA
True Storytelling at the Bittersweet Cafe with Tom Smith, Tony Toledo and Linda Havel. Hosted by Cheryl Perreault and friends. Our theme this evening is “Of Hope and Inspiration”. I will add my songs to the storytelling mix.

July 2, 2017 @ 7:00 pm: “The Art of the Protest Song”, Somerville, MA
Arts at the Armory, Somerville.
Co-hosting “The Art of the Protest Song”, featuring Sarah Lee Guthrie (granddaughter of Woody Guthrie), David Roth (internationally known folk artist), Reggie Gibson (rap artist and winner of the National Poetry Slam Contest), Tan Tombao, (a Latino-American Salsa Band performing freedom songs). The $20 ticket price to benefit MIRA, The Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition.

Co-hosts with me will be my good friends Ron Israel, Dan Cloutier, Jon McAuliffe, John Boehmer and Chris Boehmer. We will each also contribute a song to the program.

July 22, 2017 @ 6:00 pm: Soule Homestead, Middleborough, MA
Opening for Kerri Powers. Huzzah! Kerry is a great talent.

August 25, 2017 @ 7:30 pm: Opening for Brother Sun, Dedham, MA
Opening for Brother Sun, nationally known trio consisting of Greg Greenway, Pat Wictor, and Joe Jencks – praised for soaring harmonies, masterful storytelling and dynamic musicianship. It is an honor to open for this magnificent trio. I will be joined by my musical colleague, Charlie Ortolani.

Click to view details for all upcoming shows.


Featured Non-profit: Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition

From their web site, “The Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) is the largest organization in New England promoting the rights and integration of immigrants and refugees. We serve the Commonwealth’s one million foreign-born residents with policy analysis and advocacy, institutional organizing, training and leadership development, strategic communications, citizenship assistance, and AmeriCorps initiatives that provide capacity-building for community-based organizations. The Coalition involves an active membership of over 130 organizations, including community-based groups, social service organizations, ethnic associations, schools, refugee resettlement agencies, health centers, hospitals, religious institutions, unions and law firms, as well as thousands of individual members, contributors, and allies. We also serve immigrants in New Hampshire through our affiliate, the New Hampshire Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees (NHAIR).”

MIRA is the sponsoring organization for our big July 2 concert, “The Art of the Protest Song” (see Upcoming Shows for details). Proceeds from the show will benefit MIRA.

Please join me in supporting MIRA.

9 Comments
  • Tom
    April 16, 2017

    We Have Been Here Before
    © 2017 Tom Smith (ASCAP)

    We have been here before (2x)
    Talkin’ ‘bout a feelin’ that can shake you to the core
    We have been here before

    We’ve heard that sound before (2x)
    The rattle of the sabres – the sharp’ning of swords
    We’ve heard that sound before

    We wrote this check before (2x)
    Rich man plays with weapons paid for by the poor
    We wrote this check before

    We heard (said?) those words before (2x)
    We heard all the reasons to justify a war
    We heard those words before

    We’ve sung this song before (2x)
    We will not stop singin’. We’ll strike every chord
    We’ve sung this song before

    We have been here before (2x)
    We can see the warnings they want us to ignore
    We have been here before

    We have been here before

  • Roberta Nadeau
    April 17, 2017

    Scary times in which we’re living – you’ve put my feelings into this song – we have been here before – sadly – “when will we ever learn?” Thanks for sharing this. It helps to know that there are others feeling the same way. : )

    • Tom
      April 17, 2017

      Hello Roberta. Scary? Yes. But energized to keep pressing on – clinging to glimmers of optimism out there.

  • Volkert Volkersz
    April 17, 2017

    For a week I have ignored the news in favor of quieter activities. But leave it to the Kitchen Musician to remind me that nothing has really changed out there. This is a great song, and is another one of yours that I’ll consider putting in my back pocket for the right occasion. Even the melody has a deja vu quality, with the repetition making it easy to sing along (my favorite kind of song). BTW nice harp playing, Tom!

    • Tom
      April 17, 2017

      Thank you for the kind comment, Volkert. I would be honored to have you sing this song.

  • Bill Thibodeau
    April 17, 2017

    Hi Tom,
    I’m in the woods in Monson– listening to your new song while sipping tequila. Because of those two strong stimuli– I’m now quite contemplative. Thanks for the help!
    Peace, Bill

    • Tom
      April 18, 2017

      What happens in the woods of Monson, stays in the woods of Monson. 🙂

  • Neal Braverman
    April 18, 2017

    WE Indeed have been there before Tom,
    Dear Tom, is
    Thanks so much for giving wings to your Always direction of Positive Energy to ALL causes!! My hopes will be some day we Learn & Grow from History while it does not look as if we are there yet, let’s ALL continue to sing together on ALL Topical causes!
    Your words, your passion incredible guitar, harp & vocal qualities gets better with each new song!! Thanks Tom, Please add my voice to your Chorus!
    Always, Neal :))

    • Tom
      April 18, 2017

      Thanks for singing, Neal! Thankful that your music activism via the open mike, and all of the musicians you encourage will carry on and on! – Tom

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