“One More Sail Around the Sun” is a new song that looks backward and forward. I have been thinking about transitions and passages lately. Step into the kitchen. I’ll fix you some tea and tell you about it.
Tom with Bill Kehoe and Kate Chadbourne ~ Photo: Howard Cannon
Enjoying our Saint Patrick’s Day Songfest at Emerson Umbrella
Margo and I have some great news to share. Our second grandchild, Andrew Hsu arrived last night at about 11:30. Everyone is in great shape. I think I feel another song coming on.
This Month’s Music
One More Sail Around the Sun
© 2011 Tom Smith
Click the image above to play the video.
There was a convergence of emotions in my life last month that somehow all got cooked up into this song. To start, I had my 62nd birthday and celebrated the occasion happily by doing a children’s show at The Amazing Things Arts Center. At this point in my life I only count the birthdays that land on prime numbers, so I can’t explain why this one got me thinking about my own mortality. Perhaps it is because four days later was the twenty-fourth anniversary of my father’s death – a man who died when he was only a little older than I am now.
I have also decided that after seventeen years in my current position at work, I would step down from a leadership role. I am not retiring, only taking a step back in an effort to put my work and personal lives in balance. Although I am very happy with this decision and am confident I will continue to enthusiastically go to work each day, it is nonetheless a bittersweet passage. Memories come to mind of the people I worked with and the joy of working together to reach common goals. My motivation to work has always been much more than for financial gain alone.
Finally, I am trying to fulfill a challenge that I placed on myself to write a song for my wife Margo as we look forward to our thirty-fifth wedding anniversary. We are so fortunate to have each other to share the joys and challenges of married life and to have raised three wonderful children who are now strong and independent adults. My Uncle Delbert would have told us, “You done good.” That is a great feeling – to know that even if I were not around, our children would be alright, but a parent is always a parent even after one’s children are independent. So as we are now “looking back at work well done”, it is another bittersweet celebration.
I guess I have been feeling a little “unstrung” lately. When I was younger, I never would have admitted that in public – ‘stiff upper lip’ and all that. But one side effect of age is a decided softening of one’s upper lip. Some people cope with their feelings by bottling them up (guilty), drinking, misbehaving in their personal lives, or buying expensive toys. Yes I admit to having the thought of buying another expensive guitar recently, but I have instead decided to write a song. When that goes well, it can help one come to a kind of peaceful coexistence pact with feelings. And when it goes very well, it can reflect what others feel and have a similar effect for them. It is good to have high aspirations, and I will leave it to others to say if any of my songs approach that goal. In the mean time, if I were asked to measure the results for this song, I think I will use the words of writer Bill Purdin – “A measure of honest introspection is worth more than an immeasurable pile of pontification.”
Some of my younger friends have called this a sad song. I prefer to describe it as peaceful. In the classic words of parents of many generations, “perhaps you will understand when you get older”.
Wishing you the healing power of music,
(I invite you to leave a comment. Just scroll down to the end of this page.)
April 16, Saturday, 1:00 – 1:50 pm, Mansfield, MA I return to the New England Folk Festival to share a set with good friends Peter Fischman and Deb O’Hanlon. Our program is entitled Tongue In Cheek – songs of humor and hubris. This will be a lot of fun.
April 16, Saturday, 8:00 pm – midnight, Lizard Lounge, Cambridge, MA I will join other winners of the regular Monday night Lizard Lounge Open Mic Challenge in the semi-annual “Main Event”. This is a single elimination competition, but it is mostly an excuse to get together with other musicians to share good music. This is a 21+ event.
April 18, Monday, 7:30 pm, Emerson Umbrella, Concord, MA I join friends Chris Pahud, Cheryl Perreault and Steve Rapson ‘in the round’ at this long-standing area open mike, hosted by Ellen Schmidt. Our 50 minute feature set starts about 8:30 pm.
April 21, Thursday, 11:00 am, Lasell College, Newton, MA I will be the guest lecturer/performer to discuss and demonstrate how folk music humanizes and deepens our perception of history. Hosted by Lorraine Hammond. This is not open to the public.
April 29, Friday, 8:30 pm, Old Groton Inn, Groton, MA Doing a short set to open for Fran Lamalva at the Friday open mic. Doors at 6:30. Music starts at 7:00 pm.
Click to view all upcoming shows.
Featured Non-Profit: Rosie’s Place
I recently returned from a wonderful event hosted by Ruthann Baler and Strike A Chord Concerts for Charity to support Rosie’s Place, “…a sanctuary for poor and homeless women, [that] offers emergency and long-term assistance to women who have nowhere else to turn.” Ruthann organized a seven hour event that featured over thirty women musicians and artists at a local restaurant.
“Since 1974 poor and homeless women have found an oasis of hope and nourishment at Rosie’s Place. The mission of Rosie’s Place is to help women maintain their dignity, seek opportunity and find security in their lives.
Many of the women we assist are working and in housing but simply canâ€™t make ends meet. Some are newly homeless, while other women have been living on the streets for years. We serve women as young as 18 and as old as 80.”
Let’s keep the momentum going. Join us to support Rosie’s Place.
If you have a non-profit to suggest for an upcoming issue of The Kitchen Musician please send me an e-mail.