The Kitchen Musician ~ October 2017

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Hello friends,

I have finally broken though the barrier of my current events trauma and have written a song just for fun! A year ago I semi-retired and have been enjoying my new freedoms. But I didn’t get that tickly feeling until last month when I finished my part-time assignment. It came out in a new song. Join me in the kitchen and I’ll play it for you!

  This Month’s Music: I Ain’t Gonna Work No Mo’
  Upcoming Shows
  Featured Non-Profit: UNIDOS Disaster Relief and Recovery Program to Support Puerto Rico

Tom at Passim Campfire, Photo: Matt Smith


Save the date! I’d love to see you at Not Just Another Coffeehouse in Sharon, MA on Nov 18 at 7 pm when I will be doing two full sets with my talented friend and collaborator, Seth Connelly. Complete details on my Upcoming Shows page.

I am featured in the current program for 502 Sessions, hosted by Brian Kerby. Produced at the local cable TV station in Dedham, MA it is broadcast on several channels and on the web. You can view my episode below (9 songs plus interview, 55 minutes). Alternatively, you can view a Youtube playlist of the 9 individual songs at this link.

502 Sessions, featuring Tom Smith
Hosted by Brian Kerby
Click the image above to play the video.

This Month’s Music
I Ain’t Gonna Work No Mo’

I Ain’t Gonna Work No Mo’
© 2017 Tom Smith (ASCAP)
Click the image above to play the video.

I semi-retired a year ago, retaining part time status to work on a few special projects for the school where I happily worked for the last hundred years or so. But now my projects are done, so I completed the transition to full time retirement. Every day is Saturday! It is time to celebrate with a new song.

I thought an old fashioned barn dance type song was suitable for the way it feels to retire. I think I made up the tune, but I could have stolen pieces of it from old memories of playing fiddle tunes with my band “The Harvest Home Stringband” back in the 1970’s. The lyrics are a mash-up of nine fiddle tune titles, one old family expression that I think my mother invented (“whistle up a drain pipe”), one Pennsylvania Dutch expression we like in my house (“throw the cow over the fence some hay”) a nod to Winnie the Pooh (“rum tum tiddle”), and a few connecting lines to hold it all together.

One of the fiddle tune titles is “Cornstalk Fiddle and a Shoe String Bow”. (I will leave the rest for you to figure out.) Here is a photo of an unknown old-timer playing a cornstalk fiddle. I first heard about cornstalk fiddles from Evelyn Beers when I performed at the wonderful Fox Hollow Folk Festival in Petersburgh, NY in 1980. She sang the tune as she played her cornstalk fiddle with a shoestring bow. It sounded terrible but the joy on her face was infectious. On the way home from the festival I pulled over next to a farmer’s cornfield and “commissioned” a stout corn stalk and fashioned a fiddle of my own. Mine did not improve upon the sound of Evelyn’s fiddle. It was perfect! Here is the tune played and sung by old-time fiddler Clyde Davenport. Unfortunately, to my knowledge there is no recording of Evelyn singing and playing her cornstalk fiddle.

“I Ain’t Gonna Work No Mo'” is a classic case of song lyrics not having any real coherent meaning, but there is no doubt about the singer’s message and how he feels.

Happy me!


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

Upcoming Shows

October 21, 2017: Poetry in the Garden, Natick, MA
I will be one of several performers at the Common Street Spritual Center in Natick, MA.

October 29, 2017 @ 8:00 pm: Live interview on WATD-FM
I will sing some songs and be interviewed live on WATD-FM (Boston South Shore) by Sandy Streid. Tune it at 95.9 FM or streamed live at

November 4, 2017 @ 8:00 pm: Arts at the Armory, Somerville, MA
Joining the Songwriter Showcase at the Somerville Armory, with Kirsten Manville and Joanne Lurgio.

November 5, 2017 @ 1:00 pm: Narrows Center for the Arts, Fall River, MA
Joining some great artists to pay tribute to Michael Troy, a good friend and one of the world’s great songwriters. Also appearing are Chuck Williams, Danielle Miraglia, Barbara Phaneuf, Mike Laureanno, Johnny Botelho and more.

November 9-12, 2017: Northeast Regional Folk Alliance, Stamford, CT
My first time at this conference of musicians, venue operators, and publicity folks. I hear that there is not much time for sleep at this four-day “hotel festival”.

November 18, 2017 @ 7:00 pm: Not Just Another Coffeehouse, Sharon, MA
I will be joined by my very talented collaborator Seth Connelly at the Unitarian Church of Sharon, MA. Great venue to listen to acoustic music!

Click to view details for these and all upcoming shows.

Featured Non-profit: UNIDOS Disaster Relief and Recovery Program to Support Puerto Rico

“On September 20th, 2017, everything changed for Puerto Rico. A hurricane of unprecedented strength destroyed much of the island, leaving a great majority of Puerto Ricans without power, access to food, water and communications. Anticipating the immense impact of Hurricane Maria, the Hispanic Federation convened government officials and community leaders in New York, Connecticut, Florida and Washington DC to create the UNIDOS Disaster Relief & Recovery Program. The objective of the UNIDOS Disaster Relief & Recovery Program is to meet hurricane-related needs and recovery in Puerto Rico. One hundred percent of contributions to the UNIDOS Fund goes to help the immediate and long-term recovery needs of children, families and communities in distress from the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria.”

Please join me in supporting the UNIDOS fund.

  • Tom
    October 12, 2017

    I Ain’t Gonna Work No Mo’
    © 2017 Tom Smith (ASCAP)

    Whistle up a drain pipe
    Pigeon on a gate
    Throw away the pin stripes
    Time to celebrate
    With a corn stalk fiddle and a bow (Oh!)
    I ain’t gonna work no mo’!

       Gonna hum to the beat of a rum tum tiddle
       Gonna drum my feet like spittle on a griddle
       Gonna bleat like a sheep from the edge to the middle
       Of a tune on the old banjo (Oh!)
       I ain’t gonna work no mo’!

    Turkey in the pea patch
    Huckleberry wine
    Grasshopper sittin on
    A sweet potato vine
    Throw the cow oe’r the fence some hay (Hay!)
    I ain’t gonna work today!

    Ducks in the mill pond
    Possum up a tree
    Polly put the kettle on
    Have a cuppa tea
    Gonna give the fiddler a dram (Damn!)
    I ain’t gonna work again!

  • Jeannie Oliver Butler
    October 13, 2017

    Tom, Your new song is my favorite here- your smile even prior to you smooth, pleasant singing tells your joy. ..Nice Energy-“young man”. My Darling, Scott retires in 40 days from UPS. We will be working on our music any hour of the day then-
    Yes!! We have so many guitars already – but if one came along- perhaps?!
    I used to teach hs & mid school Science too-as well as filled in for the Nurse. & used songs for years-in Family gatherings, Church, fund-raising shows, nursing homes, Science teaching & private- Nursing. I’m retired & have been writing songs for over 50 yrs. Such Fun!! Congratulations on finishing up your job & Play On!! Beautiful Season full of creativity- Thanking for sharing your musical talent and infectious smile- Enjoy this Glorious Day – look forward to hearing more of your music!. Happy Trails-

    • Tom
      October 13, 2017

      Thank you Jeannie! I appreciate your very kind words of encouragement. Yes, songwriting is my passion. It feeds my soul and helps me process the chaos I read in the front pages. Great to read that you are a member of that “club”!
      Carry on!

  • Cooper
    October 23, 2017

    Love me a happy song

    • Tom
      November 1, 2017

      Thanks Coop! Sing ’em loud and strong!

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