This month’s new song is inspired by my grandson’s elementary school Social Justice assembly. There is so much hope for positive change to be found in American youth. Their activism is taking on new energy in recent months. We could use some new songs to help keep the fire burning brightly. Join my talented friend Seth Connelly and me as we share an example – and please sing along!
Tom and Seth, Parish Center for the Arts, Westford, MA
Photo: © 2018 Dan Tappan
This month marks the 11th anniversary of launching my web site to share information about the music I write and perform. Shortly thereafter, as a way to inspire me to write, I committed to publishing a monthly blog in which I feature a recently written song. That was the birth of “The Kitchen Musician”. One of the very first songs I shared was “Talking PostTrauma Blues“, a new take on a musical form made famous by Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan (and others). This song now has over 60,000 views and has garnered comments and correspondence from many war veterans and their loved ones.
I am so grateful that I am able to write, perform and express myself through music – and for the many wonderful friends it has brought into my life.
This Month’s Music
I’m Gonna Use My Hands
I’m Gonna Use My Hands
© 2018 Tom Smith (ASCAP)
Assisted by Seth Connelly.
Lyrics in the comments below.
Yesterday would have been Pete Seeger’s 99th birthday. I think of him frequently and miss his positive outlook and “let’s roll up our sleeves” attitude for making positive social changes in our world.
I recently attended my grandson’s Social Justice Assembly – an informal sharing of music, art and poems by students in Kindergarten through Grade 2 at The Park School in Brookline, MA. This assembly was perfectly timed to match an unusually low period in which I was feeling quite hopeless about current events here in the USA. The children’s expressions of what they know and are doing about social justice had a powerful affect on me. I don’t mind admitting that the drive home was made much more difficult with tears of emotion running down my face.
I decided to give myself the assignment to write a song that the kids could sing at next year’s Social Justice Assembly – and that others might sing with their teachers and care givers. That was the inspiration for “I’m Gonna Use My Hands”. Please feel free to share this song with those who might find it useful.
“Let’s find a common place and start!”
Credits: Big thanks to John Ferullo and The Parish Center for the Arts in Westford, where this song was recorded. Dan Tappan managed the sound and photographed the evening. And a special thanks to Seth Connelly on lead guitar. Seth was hearing this song for the second time when I asked him to accompany me.
(If so inclined, I invite you to leave a comment by scrolling to the end of this page.)
May 9, 2018: Pepperell, MA
Doing a private show for the students and teachers at Maple Dene & Moppet School. This is going to be fun!
May 27, 2018, 6:45 pm: Passim Campfire Festival, Cambridge, MA
Looking forward to returning to the Club Passim Campfire Festival, singing in the round with Lisa Bastoni, Tenzin Chopak, and Bob Bradshaw. This great festival is the best bargain for folk and acoustic music in New England over Memorial Day weekend. Twelve hours of music each day, starting from Friday evening through Monday night. Check out all of the details at this link.
June 2, 2018, 7 pm: Francestown, NH
Co-bill with my talented friend Chris Lavancher, at the historic Olde Meetinghouse in Francestown, NH. Tickets at the door, $15.
June 10, 2018, 7 pm: Westford, MA
Featuring at the Parish Center for the Arts in Westford, MA. This is a great open mike, hosted by John Ferullo. Arrive 6:30 to sign up for an open mike spot. Music starts at 7:00 and I will do a half hour set at about 8:00 pm.
June 21, 2018, 6:30 pm: ECAT-TV
Recording an interview and performance at ECAT-TV studios in Easton, MA. “For the Love of Words” show.
June 25, 2018, 10:30 am: Rindge, NH
Doing a family show to kick off the Ingalls Memorial Library summer reading program in Rindge, NH. We will sing some old familiar songs, break out the banjo and a few more old folk instruments, and will add a few songs you may never have heard. Free and open to the public.
June 30, 2018, 7 pm: Medfield, MA
Featuring at Expresso Yourself Coffeehouse open mic at First Parish UU Medfield. The open mic (limit: 5 minutes) welcomes teens and adults, poets, storytellers, musicians, singer/songwriters. The feature set is about 40 minutes. Entry admission $5 ($3 students).
Click to view details for these and more upcoming shows.
Featured Non-profit: Musicians on Call
Musicians on Call “brings live and recorded music to the bedsides of patients in healthcare facilities. By delivering live, in-room performances to patients undergoing treatment or unable to leave their beds, we add a dose of joy to life in a healthcare facility. Since 1999, Musicians On Call volunteer musicians have performed for over 600,000 patients and their families.”
“There are 35 million hospital beds in the United States. Each occupied by a loved one or friend. We seek to change the cold, sterile environment in hospital rooms. Musicians On Call believes that all patients, families and caregivers should have access to and benefit from the healing power of live music.”
Please join me in supporting Musicians on Call.