The Kitchen Musician ~ May 2017

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Hello friends,

Celebrating the tenth anniversary of “The Kitchen Musician” with a song for Mother’s Day! We all have at least one to celebrate. Join me in the kitchen for “The Reflection of You” and some thoughts about ten years of writing and sharing songs.

  This Month’s Music: The Reflection of You
  Upcoming Shows
  Featured Non-Profit: Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA)

Tom at Amazing Things Arts Center.
Photo: © 2017 Steve Ide Photography

Happy anniversary to The Kitchen Musician!

Ten years ago I decided to put more energy into songwriting. I enjoyed it, but my quality and output was inconsistent. All of my mentors advised me to set aside regular times for writing. They told me that although their writing sessions didn’t always result in songs, this steady commitment helped them to improve. I can sometimes start on ventures that lose steam after a short period of time. Keeping the fire lit under my enthusiasm would be the key, so I started a monthly blog where I would post a new song each month. This wasn’t to fulfill the wishes of a public that was clamoring for more of my songs. It was simply a way to tell my friends and family that I was going to set aside energy for this selfish goal – to write better songs. I knew that if I failed in this regular exercise to share new writing I would be publicly disappointed in myself. Hopefully, having this goal would help me to focus.

I call my blog, “The Kitchen Musician” to make it clear that these songs and recordings are informal – intended to recreate the feeling of sharing self-made music with friends around the kitchen table. Often these songs change and mature even after I share them. The name Kitchen Musician is also consistent with one of my guiding principles – “Music is much too important to be left entirely in the hands of professionals.” – a favorite quote by Robert Fulghum.

It seems to be working! At the time I write this, I have shared over 140 videos which have been viewed a total of 145,000 times!

Some of you have been traveling this road with me since the beginning, and for some this is your very first “Kitchen Musician”. THANK YOU ALL for joining me at the kitchen table! I don’t take any song or listener for granted. With each song, I am truly amazed and grateful for the good ones, the not so good ones, and the friends they bring into my life.

Here is one of the early songs from a 2007 “The Kitchen Musician”. I wrote this the week it was recorded by my friend Jake Kensinger. I can still put faces and names to those singing with me in that audience.

May peace be with you.

A Prayer for Peace
© 2007 Tom Smith (ASCAP)
Click the image above to play the video.

This Month’s Music
The Reflection of You

The Reflection of You
© 2017 Tom Smith (ASCAP)
Click the image above to play the video.
Lyrics in the comments section below.

The folks at Hallmark Cards tell me that this coming Sunday is Mothers’ Day! Over-commercialized holiday or not, I say mothers should be celebrated this Sunday and every day.

Long time readers of “The Kitchen Musician” know that in my family we often write a song or poem for special occasions. I wrote an earlier version of this song for my wife Margo’s birthday in January. Like many songs for these special occasions, it contained references that would not be meaningful outside of the family. So this past Sunday I re-wrote it – hoping it would apply to one special mother (Margo) as well as many other mothers, teachers and caregivers. I am so grateful that my good friend and musical collaborator Seth Connelly was at the Roslindale Open Mike on Monday when I performed this for the first time in public.

Margo is the kindest and most empathetic person I know. As both a mother and teacher she rejoices in the successes of others – often discounting the importance of her roll in their struggles and successes. But to me, her reflection is clearly visible in all that is good in our children and her students… and in me.

I suspect that this is true for many of the mothers, teachers and caregivers you know. They are our first line of offense as we push against the hatred and hostility of our broken world. They are carpenters of kindness.

Yes, Mr. Hallmark. By all means, let us honor mothers (and teachers and caregivers) on this day and all days!

Carry on!


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

Upcoming Shows

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, Lay Low Moon and Carlin Tripp. That’s some great songwriters and performers there! The festival runs for the entire Memorial Day weekend, from Friday through Monday. Lots of friends performing at the festival. 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), Clave & Blues, (a jazz-infused Cuban band). 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 @ 7:00 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.

  • Tom
    May 10, 2017

    The Reflection of You
    © 2017 Tom Smith (ASCAP)

    When children start out they wobble and squeak
    Their legs are unsteady, their confidence weak
    As we applaud the great work they now do
    We celebrate the reflection of you

       Reflection of you
       We celebrate the reflection of you

    At times when they doubted their voice could be strong
    You taught them to value each unique song
    As they sing their songs now, one echo rings true
    That sweet harmony – the reflection of you

       Reflection of you
       That sweet harmony – the reflection of you

    All you have given was not wasted nor lost
    Like waves that swell out from love that you tossed
    Encouraging sailors who seek to pursue
    The kindness that is the reflection of you

       Reflection of you
       The kindness that is the reflection of you

       Reflection of you
       That light in their eyes – the reflection of you

  • Neal Braverman
    May 10, 2017

    Dearest Tom,

    Congratulations on your 10th year of your Kitchen Musician!!! I feel so special to be in that group of fans awaiting your monthly song surprise always with its content relevant to yesterday, today and our many tomorrows to come!!
    All your song are created both from fact, dreams, nature all around us of course & most important our very Special Family & Friends! Thus song you dedicate to Margo on this upcoming Mothers Day is a Wonderful Tribute to Margo as well as a Tribute to ALL Mothers around the world!!! Reflections of You is a very Wonderful portrayal of what Mothers are in reality everyday & not just when Mr Hallmark or others wish to call this 1 day Mothers Day!! Mothers Day is portrayed in your Reflections of You in that Everday sense and I thank you for Honoring all Mothers in this most wonderful fashion! Your music, your words and your compassion over these 10 years of your Kitchen Musician have throughout, been directly from the Heart of Tom Smith! Your music we All so adore & wait in line for the next edition!!! All my Thanks, Respect & Love for ALL you bring to each stage you appear on & as Always I look forward to our next meeting!! Happy Mothers Day Margo & to All the Mother’s around our tiny planet we all call home! Most Sincerely, Neal Braverman.

    • Tom
      May 10, 2017

      Thanks for the kind words, Neal. And most especially for your support of the music and spoken word community through the Roslindale Open Mike.

  • Elaine
    May 10, 2017

    Dear Tom,
    Lovely, simply lovely! Wishing a “Happy Mother’s Day” to Margo! I am certain that she loves this song of yours!
    The “kids” are all grown up now, but still we see our reflection in them every time we notice even a small mannerism that we recognize so well!
    And may I add that when I look in the mirror I can now see the reflection of my own parents. (maybe I will write a poem ! )
    Thank you for sharing your own wonderful mother with me over those many many years.
    Love to all, Elaine

    • Tom
      May 11, 2017

      Hi Elaine. Love the thought that your see your reflection… and also that of your parents. Yes, a poem is in order. 🙂

  • Trisha Knudsen
    May 11, 2017

    What a lovely song in celebration of your wonder-full wife and best friend! XO

    • Tom
      May 11, 2017

      Thank you Trisha. Hard to believe I have been doing this blog for ten years. – Tom

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