Have you ever gotten part way through a game and realized that you and your partner were not playing by the same rules, or perhaps not even the same game? My friend Mark Stepakoff suggested I use this idea to write a song for a recent Rhode Island Songwriters event. Join me in the kitchen. I’ll share it with you.
Tom and Seth Connelly at Good Arts in Dedham, MA.
Photo: Neal Braverman
This August I am headed for the woods of southern New Hampshire for my annual attitude adjustment. I feel blessed to have a place where Margo and I can get away from busy day-to-day life and spend quiet time together and joyful not-so-quiet time with our progeny. If you are in the area, join me when I feature at the Meetinghouse Stage in Rindge, NH on Friday, August 14.
I am very pleased to return to Club Passim on Sunday of Labor Day weekend to join all the fun at the Campfire Festival. My daughter Mally will also perform on Monday evening. Details below.
This Month’s Music
© 2015 Tom Smith,
Music based upon “Waiting for a Train”, by Jimmie Rodgers
Lyrics in comments below.
I was invited by Beth DeSombre to join the Rhode Island Songwriters Association May event at Paradise Cafe in my home town of Dedham, MA. It was a pleasure to perform in-the-round with great songwriters like Beth, Molly Pinto Madigan and Lenny Solomon. In addition to our normal repertoire, we each had the same assignment to write an original song based upon a prompt provided by the audience of the previous session. Our prompt for the evening was “checkers”.
After struggling unsuccessfully to write a song about all of the famous dogs I know (including Richard Nixon’s dog Checkers), I had a conversation with my talented songwriting friend Mark Stepakoff in which he suggested the theme for the song I eventually wrote. Mark has won many songwriting awards, including American Songwriter Magazine, USA Songwriting Competition, Great American Song Contest, and many more. Equally impressive to me is his ability to provide constructive feedback about songs-in-progress. Several of my songs have benefitted from his comments. So when Mark suggested a “hook” line, my reply of course was “Are you going to write that song?”. Happily, Mark gave me permission to use his idea. Heck, if taking someone else’s lyric idea is okay, why not also take melodic inspiration from another master – Jimmie Rodgers, the “yodeling brakeman”. Here he is singing Waiting for a Train, the song that inspired the music for my “checkers” lyrics.
Thanks also to Gayle Picard and the good folks at the Main Street Cafe in Groton, MA for getting into the mood when I performed it for this video.
I am so fortunate to have such a wonderful music community.
(If so inclined, I invite you to leave a comment by scrolling to the end of this page.)
Friday, August 14, 2015 at 7:00 pm, Rindge, NH
I am featuring at the historic Rindge Meeting House open mic. Arrive early to sign up to perform.
Sunday, Sept 6, 2015 at 3:00 pm, Cambridge, MA
I return to the venerable Club Passim for the Campfire Festival on Labor Day weekend, in the round with Sean Smith, Joel Ninesling and Bertrand Laurence.
Sunday, Sept 20, 2015 at 2:00 pm, 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.
Sunday, Sept 27, 2015 at 2:00 pm, Concord, MA
I am pleased to play a small part in this gathering at The Old Manse to remember Jake Kensinger, hosted by Ellen Schmidt. We will perform songs that Jake sang and songs and spoken word inspired by Jake’s life as a musician and patron of the arts. Bring your voice – there will be many opportunities to sing along. If weather does not permit, we will move this event to another location indoors. Please watch my website or Facebook for last minute details.
Saturday/Sunday, October 24/25, 2015, Rochester, NY
I hit the road to share music with my good friends Leslie Lee and Steve Gretz in the Rochester, NY area. Stay tuned for details.
Click to view details for all upcoming shows.
Featured Non-profit: Rhode Island Songwriters Association
RISA is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization. Its mission is “to encourage, foster and conduct the art and craft of original lyrical and musical composition; provide educational programs, critique sessions and performance opportunities for all artistic styles; and support open collaboration within the RISA community.” You don’t have to be from Rhode Island to enjoy the benefits of membership. You don’t even have to be a songwriter. The membership fee is quite modest.
If this intrigues you but you would rather join an organization near you or with a different focus, Songwriter Universe, Taxi, Addicted to Songwriting and MusesMuse have lists to start from. Alternatively, start your own group – find a couple friends and set up a meeting time when you can share your songs for feedback.