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!
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
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.
(If so inclined, I invite you to leave a comment by scrolling to the end of this page.)
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 959watd.com.
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.