The Kitchen Musician ~ February 2018

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Hello friends,
I have a life-long love of traditional folk music. This month I merge that with my love of song writing – taking a nineteenth century Irish folksong as the foundation to express my feelings as we enter the second year of this extraordinary presidential administration. Step into the kitchen. I’ll sing it for you.

  This Month’s Music: Liberty’s Shore
  Upcoming Shows
  Featured Non-Profit: American Civil Liberties Union

Narrows Center for the Arts, Fall River, MA
Photo: © 2017 Nicole Mandel Photography


I am really chuffed (just learned that word from pop singer, Ed Sheeran) to share a show on Saturday, March 3rd at The Burren Backroom Series with John Schindler, an extraordinary songwriter from Boothbay Harbor, Maine. To make this even more special, I will be joined by my long time musical collaborator, Seth Connelly and my talented daughter Mally Smith. Use the special $2 discount coupon code “24HOUR” when you purchase in advance.

Oh lordy, this is going to be fun! Please join us… and tell your friends!

This Month’s Music
Liberty’s Shore

Liberty’s Shore
© 2018 Traditional and Tom Smith (ASCAP)
Click the image above to play the video.

As a young man, I sang a nineteenth century Irish folk song called Erin’s Green Shore. In this song, the spirit of Ireland appears to the singer in a dream in the form of a woman who expresses her sadness about the state of her country. By singing that song, I actually believed I felt what the Irish must have felt about English oppression. But of course, it didn’t apply to me and my country. It was simply a way to connect with a foreign concept.

Fast forward to 2018 and it takes on a deeper meaning. In the time-honored folk tradition, I rewrote portions of this song to re-focus it on America – and to relate this spirit to the Statue of Liberty. I hope singers of that old Irish song will forgive me.

William Butler Yeats scholars might recognize the influence of his poem The Second Coming on the third verse of this song. Yeats’ poem is another powerful statement about current events.

Last weekend we saw a remarkable Women’s March take place all over the nation. It seemed like a loud echo of the sentiment I was trying to put into this song – positive power being activated by women “to waken my sisters and brothers, who slumber on Liberty’s shore.”

Steady on!



I shared an earlier version of this song with several of my songwriting friends. A big thanks to Mally Smith, Chris Boehmer, John Boehmer and Kirsten Manville for valuable feedback.

A special thank you to the good folks at the Roslindale Open Mike, where I recorded the video. Hosts Neal Braverman, Mike Delaney, Branson Bofat and Ken Porter. Audio by Steve Friedman. Video by King Yee.

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

Upcoming Shows

February 10, 2018 @ 8:00 pm: The Hearing Room, Lowell, MA
Songwriter showcase, joined by John McDade and Amy Kucharik.

March 2, 2018 @ 7:00 pm: Sunapee Coffee House, Sunapee, NH
Sharing the evening with my good friend Chris Lavancher. This will be my first appearance at the Sunapee Coffeehouse. Hoping some of my midlands New Hampshire friends will share the evening with us. Should be fun!

March 3, 2018 @ 7:00 pm: The Burren, Somerville, MA
I am super excited to split a bill with my talented friend John Schindler (and special guests, Seth Connelly and Mally Smith) at The Burren back room. Doors @ 6 pm, show @ 7 pm. Come early and choose a dinner from their great menu. This all-ages show ends at 9 pm. Use the special code “24HOUR” when you order in advance to get $2 off the ticket price. Purchase tickets here.

April 6th, 2018 @ 7:00 pm: Dublin, NH
I will be the feature artist at this relatively new open mike. Dublin is a great old New England town. Come and do a couple songs at the open mike!

April 21, 2018 @ noon: New England Folk Festival, Mansfield,

Sharing a set with my good buds Peter Fischman & Deb O’Hanlon for a program entitled “Working Folks: Traditional and new songs about work, a working life, work going away.” Lots more happening at the festival all weekend long!

Click to view details for these and more upcoming shows.

Featured Non-profit: American Civil Liberties Union

The American Civil Liberties Union works tirelessly in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the Constitution’s promise of liberty for everyone in our country. Their work is more important than ever.

Please join me in supporting the ACLU.

  • Tom
    January 29, 2018

    Liberty’s Shore
    © 2018 Traditional and Tom Smith (ASCAP)

    One evening so late as I rambled
    On the banks of a wild rushing stream,
    I took shelter from oncoming weather,
    And fell into an unquiet dream.

        I dreamed I beheld a fair maiden
        Her equal I ne’er saw before,
        She cried for the sake of our country
        As she strayed along Liberty’s shore.

    I arose and boldly addressed her
    “Fair maid, what’s the cause of your pain?
    And why to this perilous country
    In the midst of this turmoil you came?”

        She said, “I carry this lantern
        To lift and give light to the world
        I have come to awaken my brethren
        Who slumber on Liberty’s shore”

    She said, “With all innocence drownded
    And virtue confused and afraid
    With the good lacking direction
    And the bad full of passion and rage”

        “Now is the time we must summon
        The spirit of love and accord
        To vanquish the wrongs of our country
        And cast them from Liberty’s shore”

    Then in a flurry of lightning
    Thunder ruptured my dream
    This beautiful maiden had left me
    Though I know I shall see her again

        May the heavens before her split open
        A storm that we can not ignore
        To waken my sisters and brothers
        Who slumber on Liberty’s shore

  • Amy Conley
    January 30, 2018

    Thanks, Tom, what a creative concept for a song, it’s beautiful as all your songs are. I can relate to “lacking direction” …. it seems there are so many unkind and wrong things happening all the time it is difficult to face them all and decide what actions to take.

    Off the topic, just this morning I was teaching my Music Together class of two-ish year olds and we were jamming with our kitchen toys (a bunch of recycled food containers, metal pans, plastic dishes, wooden sticks, etc) to the recording of your “Baked a Cake” (awesome rendition) and singing along! Then I opened your email!

    • Tom
      January 30, 2018

      Hi Amy,
      Thank you for the kind comment. There is clearly a lot of work to do to turn ourselves around. Thank you for your part in that.

      … and singing “Baked a Cake” with this kids is a great start! So glad that informal CD is finding a place in your music room.

      Sing on!


  • Brian
    January 31, 2018

    I must say I disagree with your support of the SPLC. Although it may have started as an organization with good intentions, they now seem to be fast and loose with creating “lists” of people to target, e.g. Maajid Nawaz and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who SLPC branded as “haters” and “anti-muslim” extremists. Nawaz is a muslim who speaks out against hate and bigotry, and seeks a reformation. Ali is an atheist who speaks out against all dogma monotheisms. They both use strong words that some may find offensive, and by SPLC putting them on a “list”, their point is proven for them.
    History isn’t kind to organizations that make “lists” of people to target. By acting so, SPLC is exactly the kind of organization it claims to stand against. I don’t need to give examples here of people that have been targeted and butchered because they were on a “list'”.

    • Tom
      January 31, 2018

      Hello Brian,
      Thank you very much for your comment. You inspired me to look deeper into the Southern Poverty Law Center. I can see that while they have had some significant successes in working against hate groups in the past, there are also credible reports that call into question their altruism. Consequently, I have replaced them as the featured non-profit for this issue with the ACLU.

      Again, thank you. Being informed is an evolutionary endeavor.


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