This month, I add new lyrics to an Irish air written by a friend. It seems fitting to share a song of farewell and godspeed as summer wanes and daylight retreats. Join me at the kitchen table. Chamomile with honey for me!
NEWS: Energizing the Vote, and Club Passim Campfire
THIS MONTH’S MUSIC: “Leaving Home”
FEATURED NON-PROFIT: Movement Voter Project
Photo: Dan Tappan (© 2016)
My Energize Your Vote campaign is in full swing. As I write this, over 16,000 people have viewed the video, many of whom have clicked on the links I provide to check their registration status and other voter information. I am keeping the flame lit to encourage folks in swing states to prepare to vote, and then act on it in November.
In other news, I will return to Club Passim for their annual Labor Day Campfire Festival. This year I have my own solo set on Saturday, September 5th at 8:30 pm. There are many great performances scheduled from Friday through Monday. The entire festival will be streamed live at the above Campfire link or the Passim Facebook page.
I am working on a few more live stream shows. Check in on my Upcoming Shows page for the latest.
This Month’s Music: “Leaving Home”
Music: © 1996 T. F. O’Hare – Lyrics: © 2020 Tom Smith (ASCAP)
Lyrics in the comments below.
No doubt, we are living through dark and difficult times. The COVID pandemic has sickened or killed many, crippled our economy, destroyed millions of jobs, and physically isolated everyone. When you add the social upheaval and political mayhem, it is enough to make one want to crawl into bed and stay there twenty four hours per day; but this month I shine a small light on a positive connection that I would not have experienced if it were not for the pandemic.
My friend Jon Roper invited me to join a small weekly Zoom virtual song circle of friends who used to sing together in “Patchwork”, a folk group who’s members went their separate ways many years ago. They now live all over the map, spread throughout New England, Florida and Minnesota. At the end of each session, we decide on a theme for the next one. Past themes have been cowboys, body parts, money (or lack of it), bodies of water, food, nature, adult beverages, songs of farewell, and more. It is great fun to hear the songs we bring to each session.
For the recent “farewell” theme session, Betsy Lake (from her home office in Minnesota) played a beautiful Irish air called “Leaving Home” on her fiddle. I was surprised to learn that it was written by fellow “Patchwork” member Tom O’Hare in 1996 in honor of her when she moved away from Massachusetts. I asked about the lyrics and Tom said that there are none. It didn’t take much convincing for him to give me permission to write lyrics to his tune.
Tom O’Hare is a fine singer with a rich voice that matches well to his large repertoire of originals and traditional songs of Ireland, Scotland, England and America. Tom has honed his singing in pubs in Kinvara, County Galway, Ireland where he owns a home. In the preface to “Music Without Borders”, one of six self-published songbooks, Tom writes “I grew up in a time and place of tall, old trees, the seasons marked by their shade, or colors, or bare, icy limbs. A kid could lie in the grass, watching the clouds sail by, and dream of other things, other places. I hope that some of the songs I’ve written reflect that time and place.”
Although the years that have separated us melt away when we sing together, it would be untrue for me to say that the music we make has not changed over that time. We each have lost a few notes from our vocal range, and proficiency on our instruments has also lost some of its zip. We play more than our share of flubbed chords and frequently forget lyrics. Undaunted, we return each week with songs to match new themes and always finish each evening with a renewed energy and positive attitude.
I am grateful for friends, music and resilience.
Music heals! Steady on, my friends!
P.S. I send this song out to my daughter, Mally who is scheduled to return to Scotland this month to continue her post-graduate education at the University of Edinburgh. “Home will go with you.” I.L.U.
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