Recently I spent a few days visiting the small Pennsylvania town where I grew up. I took few side trips to some of the places where I used to go as a teen ager. They left me wondering about the old saying, “You can’t go home again”. I posted about this on Facebook, and my friend Dawn Kenney suggested we turn it into a song. Step into my kitchen – I’ll sing it for you!
Photo: Peter Fischman
Last month we had a successful songwriting workshop in Milford, NH. Fourteen folks assembled for three hours of discussion and writing exercises. I am looking forward to hearing the songs that will result. Thanks to Amy Conley for organizing and hosting. I would love to do this workshop again, if any one out there would care to host.
For the last three weeks our two grandchildren (Anna and Andrew) lived with my wife Margo and me at our rustic little cabin in Jaffrey, NH. Click the image below to catch a glimpse of life inside of our cabin on one of the rainy days.
This Month’s Music
The Road from Now to Then (Take Me Home Again)
© 2014 Tom Smith and Dawn Kenney
See the lyrics in the comments section below.
As we started our annual August escape from civilization, Margo and I learned that my elderly mother had fallen in her driveway and was being treated at the local hospital. Fortunately, she is okay and recuperating in a very nice facility nearby. Over a period of two weeks, I made three trips to my small hometown in northeastern Pennsylvania to attend to my mother’s needs. Sleeping in my childhood bedroom, meeting some of my old high school classmates, and eating in the diner I used to frequent as a high schooler led to some intense time warp experiences. During one visit to the diner, I used my phone to post this status update on my personal Facebook page.
I think I am in a time warp. Am at the diner (a real diner) in the Pennsylvania town near where I grew up. Ricky Nelson on the box. 2 eggs, hash browns (cooked right), toast with jelly from a jar, coffee – the bill came to $2.93. I can almost hear my old friend Donny Rogers in the opposing naugahyde seat – giving me the details of the Gibson Les Paul he just bought. Strange to share this with this tiny device. First time I ever gave a 200% tip. Beam me up Scotty.
To my surprise, a great many people saw this and commented – including my talented songwriting friend Dawn Kenney. She commented that this would be a good starting point for a song and suggested that it would be fun to work together on it. Although I was very busy taking care of my mother’s affairs, and hosting our grandchildren at the cabin (a full time job!), Dawn’s invitation was too good to pass up. So I sketched up a few verses, recorded a simple audio track on my phone and sent it off to her. She too was very busy preparing for a bluegrass festival, but somehow we found the time to exchange ideas which significantly improved the song.
Dawn Kenney is a very accomplished performing songwriter with many recordings, accolades, awards and live performances to her credit. For more information, please visit her web site at DawnKenney.com. You can hear Dawn perform at Club Passim on Sept. 27th as part of the New England Americana Fest, and on Oct 2nd in Raleigh, NC as part of the International Bluegrass Music Association World of Bluegrass Conference.
“Each song is a road from now to then
that takes me home again.”
(If so inclined, I invite you to leave a comment by scrolling to the end of this page.)
Saturday, August 30, 2014, 8:45pm – 10:05pm: Cambridge, MA
At Club Passim’s famous Campfire Festival in the round with Chris Mills, Jim Trick, Tom Smith & Dave Dersham. For more information about all of the great acoustic music happening at the Campfire Festival, see Club Passim. For example, my daughter Mally Smith performs on Sunday at 9:45 pm.
Friday, September 12, 2014, 8:00pm: Framingham, MA
I am honored to open for one of my all time favorite songwriters, David Mallett. At Amazing Things Arts Center, one of my favorite places to perform and listen to music.
Saturday, September 20, 2014, 8:30pm: Providence, RI Brooklyn Coffee and Tea House
Returning to this wonderful little listening room, sharing the evening with Alex Solomonoff and one other (TBD).
Sunday, September 21, 2014, 2:00pm – 4:00pm: Concord, MA
The Chanticleers joyfully return to the Old Manse in historic Concord, MA. Kate Chadbourne, Oen Kennedy, Pat Kenneally, Robert Phillipps, Linda Abrams and I perform traditional Irish/English/American and original music with guitar, harp, flute, banjo, boudhran, harmonica, and other instruments. Weather permitting. Free.
Monday, September 22, 2014, 8:30pm: Roslindale, MA
Featuring at this active open mike. My set starts at about 8:30 pm. Show starts at about 7:00 pm. Arrive early to sign up for a spot to sing or offer a poem. Hosted by Neal Braverman and Mike Delaney.
Friday, October 17, 2014, 7:30pm: Angelica, NY
Looking to my first visit to The Black Eyed Susan, a great little western New York state cafe. The Angerlica folks don’t really know me (yet) so if you have friends in the area, please help spread the word!
Saturday, October 18, 2014, 8:00pm: Rochester, NY
Returning to the Tango Cafe in Rochester, NY for Brian Coughlin’s Songwriters on the Round series. Joining us is the great duo Steve Gretz and Leslie Lee. We shared a lot of great music last year. Road trip anyone?
Sunday, October 19, 2014, 7:00pm: Rochester, NY
Retruning to Greece Baptist Church in Rochester, NY to share some music at The Old Time Music Night, hosted by Leslie Lee and Steve Gretz. Free and open to the public.
Click to view details for all upcoming shows.
Featured Non-profit: Girls Rock Campaign Boston
I first learned of Girls Rocks when I saw some of their volunteers perform at The Burren in Somerville. Subsequently I spoke with an enthusiastic parent of two girls who participated in their wonderful program. “Girls Rock Campaign Boston empowers girls to believe in themselves by providing a supportive community that fosters self-expression, confidence, and collaboration through musical education and performance. Girls Rock Campaign Boston offers a volunteer run summer program for girls aged 8-17. During each session, girls have the opportunity to form bands, learn how to play an instrument like drums with the use of a useful site online, compose an original song and perform live at a local rock venue – all in one week’s time. In addition to the band practices and instrumental lessons, GRCB also provides workshops geared towards self-esteem building and self-expression including Self-Defense, Screen Printing, Women in Rock History, and Songwriting.” You can learn more about Girls Rock and how to make a tax deductible donation at Girls Rock Campaign Boston.