My kitchen is humming with activity as we attend to the final details to celebrate the release of my new CD Journey Home on Sunday Nov. 6th at 3:00 pm at Amazing Things Arts Center in Framingham, MA. I also wrote a song that speaks to current events reflected in the Occupy Wall Street movement. With our first big snow of the season falling around us here in New England, take that cup down from the shelf. I choose the Mango Ceylon tea with honey. What can I get for you?
Tom and Mally at Club Passim, Photo: Dan Tappan
Last week I had the great pleasure to split a billing at the venerable Club Passim with my friend and fellow song chiseler Randall Kromm. A sell-out house full of friends, family and new fans joined us as we shared the stage with Seth Connelly (on bass and mandolin) and our daughters Mally Smith, Emma Kromm and Grace Kromm. Randall and I both introduced our new CDs at this show, which made it even more special.
THANK YOU to sixty one patrons who contributed $3001 to pay for the post-production of my new CD. My kickstarter campaign far surpassed my funding goal! Journey Home is ready to be shared with the world. I am extremely proud of the songwriting and musicianship on this album. It was a labor of love.
Joining me on Journey Home are stellar musicians Mally Smith and Alle Santiago (vocals), Oen Kennedy (vocals and whistling), Joyce Andersen (fiddle and viola), Sean Staples (mandolin), Eric Royer (banjo), Billy Novick (clarinet) and Seth Connelly (vocals, guitar, upright bass, mandolin, banjo and bouzouki).
Birch Beer Records will be doing the distribution. You can purchase my CD from the Birch Beer Records store starting Nov. 8, 2011, or from me at one of my shows. Shortly thereafter it will be available on iTunes, Amazon and other online distributors. It is an honor to be included as a Birch Beer Records artist, along with Dan Cloutier, Kim Jennings, Oen Kennedy and Levi Schmidt. My new album “Journey Home” is a perfect fit. Although each BBR title is unique, all have a common respect for music on a human scale. No big dollar productions here – just great songwriting delivered by top notch musicians in warm acoustic settings. It is wonderful to be in such company.
This Month’s Music “The Cards are All Stacked on My Side”
© 2010 Tom Smith
Click the image above to play the video.
Like most of you, I have been tuning in to news about the ongoing movement that has come to be known as Occupy Wall Street. Now there are various spinoffs to occupy Boston, Washington, Oakland, and other places where folks are gathering to express themselves about how 99% of us are losing economic ground to the wealthiest 1%. The statistics are powerful, showing that the wealthiest of individuals have a disproportionate net worth and income and that the negative trend since 1980 is making matters worse. Statistics also show that taxes paid by the wealthiest individuals are declining when compared to those paid by the 99%.
As compelling as the statistics are, I believe that the most important fuel that gives energy to the ‘Occupy’ movement is the lack of gainful employment for those able and eager to work. With household incomes declining, and employment uncertain or non-existent, people are pointing their expressions of anger at those they think are responsible for the problem, or those whom they believe can do something about it.
The collapse of the financial sector that was brought on by greed, incompetence, poor public policy and even fraud is on the minds of those struggling to retain ownership of homes that are now worth less than their mortgage. It is on the minds of highly educated and capable unemployed or underemployed who have large debts and little or no prospects to improve their condition.
I know people who work in the financial industry, some of whom are members of “the 1%”. I know them as people who work extremely hard for the common good. So I don’t automatically vilify everyone based upon their net worth. I sense a frustration from them too, and a desire to fix what has gone wrong. And so I am hopeful that a peaceful ‘Occupy’ movement will give birth to a fruitful discussion that will put country above political party and self-interest.
In my song this month (written and recorded last May) I put myself in the shoes of a modern day Woody Guthrie looking at the financial collapse through the eyes of the 99%. Like the ‘Occupy’ protesters, I offer no solutions in this song. Sometimes sarcasm and exaggeration are the only tools available.
Peace and music,
(If so inclined, I invite you to leave a comment by scrolling to the end of this page.)
Nov. 6, Sunday, 3:00 pm in Framingham, MA My big CD Release Celebration at the Amazing Things Arts Center. Special guests include The And Company, Seth Connelly, Peter Tillotson, Jackie Damsky, Oen Kennedy and some surprise guests! This is going to be so much fun, and it would mean a lot to me to fill the room with friends!
Nov. 10, Thursday, 7:30 pm in Keene, NH I will do a 20 minute set at Fritz, The Place to Eat on Main Street.
Click to view all upcoming shows.
Featured Non-Profit: Rosie’s Place
Rosie’s Place is “…a sanctuary for poor and homeless women, [that] offers emergency and long-term assistance to women who have nowhere else to turn.
Since 1974 poor and homeless women have found an oasis of hope and nourishment at Rosie’s Place. The mission of Rosie’s Place is to help women maintain their dignity, seek opportunity and find security in their lives.
Many of the women we assist are working and in housing but simply can’t make ends meet. Some are newly homeless, while other women have been living on the streets for years. We serve women as young as 18 and as old as 80.”
Join us to support Rosie’s Place.
If you have a non-profit to suggest for an upcoming issue of The Kitchen Musician please send me an e-mail.