To make music with family and friends is a great joy. This month I share “Journey Home”, a new song co-written with my wife Margo, and performed with my daughter Mally and her bandmate Alle Santiago. I also have news about four big shows coming up over the next week. Grab a cup of tea and join me in the kitchen!
Tom at HCAM-TV, Oct. 2010, Photo: Dan Tappan
I had a great time as the featured humorist at the Amazing Things Arts Center comedy night last month. Humor is one way to cope in a troubled world. I love it when I receive the gift of unexpected laughter. Like the time I drove down main street in Jaffrey, NH and looked up at the side of a building to see the painted image of a man standing on the ledge. I had to pull my car to the curb, and give a silent “thank you” to the proprietor. It gave me new energy to reach for the next item on my to-do list, though more slowly and with a giggle in the back of my throat.
This experience brought to mind that old TV show, Northern Exposure – a quirky show about eccentric residents of a small rural Alaskan town. I am not a huge TV enthusiast, but something about that show spoke to me on many different levels. In that little town there was a tolerance for differences, and an understated humor could be found at every turn of the road. I was so enamored by the show, I visited the production set in the remote village of Roslyn in central Washington state and had a steak breakfast at the famous Roslyn Cafe.
This Month’s Music
© 2010 Tom & Margo Smith
Performed by Tom, Mally Smith & Alle Santiago
I think nearly every folksinger of my age would like to write the next “Blowin’ in the Wind” – a song to match the Bob Dylan classic that moved a generation in the 1960’s and continues to this day. Well… my song this month is definitely NOT the next “Blowin’ in the Wind”, but it did percolate from the presumptuous fantasy of writing such a song.
At our New Hampshire cabin in Jaffrey, NH, I dared to share my private Bob Dylan fantasy and the first draft of this song with my wife and trusted advisor, Margo. Her response? “Forget the fantasy. What are you trying to say?” I described a vague notion of writing a song that would help wake up the sleeping good in all of us. Understanding that people sometimes follow a path dictated by a deity assigned to them by the chance of birth, it would enlist the deities themselves to sing such a song! Margo’s response? “Then write THAT song.”
Over the following week, I discussed several drafts with Margo in conversations that would often end with “but that is not what this line is saying”. Sometimes the perfect phrase would then appear like magic. Sometimes it would have to be carved from stone. Sometimes it is what you remove or leave unsaid that communicates best.
As chance would have it, my daughter Mally and her band The And Company were staying with us at the time. They were using our outbuilding as a studio to record their forthcoming album. (Look for it later this year – Fantastic!). While singing this song on the cabin porch one morning, Mally and her bandmate Alle Santiago worked up a wonderful harmony. I love the combination of their voices – both true and natural. Yesterday we recorded it for you at Mally’s home in Somerville, MA.
Everyone should experience the gift of home made music shared with family and friends. It doesn’t have to be professional. It doesn’t even have to be good. It just has to be honest.
“Step by step, stone by stone. On my journey home”
~ Peace and music,
(I invite you to leave a comment. Just scroll down to the end of this page.)
Oct. 30, Saturday, 2:00 pm, Framingham, MA A ‘Pete Seeger style’ family show at Amazing Things Arts Center. This is a last minute addition to my calendar. Bring the whole family! Click for details. Every family that shows up will leave with a free home-made copy of my family-friendly CD, “Peace on Peabody Hill”.
Oct. 30, Saturday, 8:00 pm, Watertown, MA What a treat to be included in a special concert to benefit the Folk Song Society of Greater Boston. I will support the talented Celtic musician and scholar Kate Chadbourne along with a gaggle of musician friends. I am looking forward to this one.
Nov. 1, Monday, 8:00 pm, Concord, MA. My daughter Mally and I return to Emerson Umbrella for a “split bill feature” at one of my favorite open mikes.
Nov. 6, Saturday, 7:30 pm (doors @ 7:00), Sudbury, MA. Mally Smith and I are headlining the evening at the Coffeehouse on the Rocky Plain, First Parish Sudbury Uniterian Universalist Church. Drew Stevens is opening. This is a great opportunity to hear an entire evening of Mally and her dad – some solo and lots of collaboration. Look for a few guests to join us.
Click to view all upcoming shows.
Featured Non-Profit: The Folk Song Society of Greater Boston
The Folk Song Society of Greater Boston is celebrating its fifty first year! When I first arrived in Boston, they scooped me up and gave me a community of fellow lovers of traditional and old-time music. From their web site:
The Folk Song Society of Greater Boston is a non-profit organization of people interested in folk music: its traditional origins and sources and its current expressions. We are dedicated to providing opportunities for everyone to make, enjoy, and support this music.
If you live in the Boston area, join me and click here to become a member.