Spéir

I started piano lessons at the age of 11; I’ve never stopped playing since. I’ve continued to perform in public at least weekly for most of that time; often, I perform music I myself have written, such as the simple piece attached here.

We had books of old Scottish and Irish folk songs in our house when I was a teen, and my mother could sometimes be prevailed upon to sing if I ever played them. No one in my family really liked singing solos, so these were rare and memorable events. There was a connection to the old countries in this music, for her, and for me, and they make for some of my fondest memories.

I wrote this piece as a tribute to that music, trying to capture the feel of it rather than anything specific.

“Spéir,” by the way, is the Gaelic word for “Heaven”.

“dreaming is free”

dreaming can be all we have –
reality gets turned to dust
when here among the vagary
and ruins of our crumbled trust
we find shortcomings, weaknesses,
and darkness that none else may see;
but there is hope, or can be, since
dreaming is still free

there’s what we mean and what we say:
we stumble o’er each “should” or “must”,
and wander in complacency,
each boom turned into one more bust;
we find shortcomings, weaknesses,
and limits in locality –
but there is this: a different us
for dreaming is still free

it’s dreaming makes us better than
whatever past transgressions be —
for love is thought turned into act,
and dreaming
is free


There are a lot of cover versions of this song, but I really like the very straightforward version below:


When I met you in the restaurant
You could tell I was no debutante
You asked me what’s my pleasure
A movie or a measure?
I’ll have a cup of tea
And tell you of my
Dreaming
Dreaming is free

I don’t want to live on charity
Pleasure’s real or is it fantasy?
Reel to reel is living rarity
People stop and stare at me
We just walk on by,
We just keep on
Dreaming

Feet feet, walking a two mile
Meet meet, meet me at the turnstile
I never met him, I’ll never forget him
Dream dream, even for a little while
Dream dream, filling up an idle hour
Fade away, radiate

I sit by and watch the river flow
I sit by and watch the traffic go
Imagine something of your very own
Something you can have and hold
I’d build a road in gold
Just to have some
Dreaming
Dreaming is free

Dreaming
Dreaming is free

Dreaming
Dreaming is free

By – Deborah Harry & Chris Stein

Favorite Songs: “Linden Lea”

I have a lot of hobbies and pursuits of passion, but probably the deepest and longest of those is what today is called classical music.

In my years playing classical music, by far my favorite type of playing is to accompany soloists, whether vocal or instrumental. You get to be part of the music, and you have the best seat in the house.

This song is a relatively simple one, but the lyrics are beautiful. This performance, by Natalie Merchant of “10,000 Maniacs” fame, I found to be particularly endearing.

“Linden Lea”

words: William Barnes
tune: Ralph Vaughn Williams

Lyrics:

Within the woodlands, flow’ry gladed,
By the oak tree’s mossy root,
The shining grass blades, timber shaded
Now do quiver under foot –
The birds do whistle overhead,
The water’s bubbling in its bed,
And there for me the apple tree
Do lean down, low in Linden Lea.

The leaves that lately were a-springin’
Now do fade within the copse,
The painted birds do hush their singin’
Up above the timber tops,
The brown leaved fruits are turning red,
In cloudless sunshine overhead,
With root for me the apple tree
Do lean down, low in Linden Lea.

Let other folk make money faster
In the air of dark roomed towns.
I don’t dread a peevish master,
Though no man may heed my frowns –
(For) I be free to go abroad,
Or take again my homeward road —
To where, for me, the apple tree
Do lean down, low in Linden Lea.

Favorite Songs: But You Know I Love You

For years, my job involved a lot of traveling, and this song always seemed like the perfect love song for the traveling life. This is Alison Krauss and Union Station.

Lyrics:

When the mornin’ sun
Streaks across my room
And I’m wakin’ up
From another dream of you

When I’m on the road
Once again it seems
And all that’s left behind
Is a chain of broken dreams

But you know I love you
Yes, I love you
Oh, I love you

How I wish that love
Was all we need to live
What a life we’d have
‘Cause I’ve got so much to give

But it seems so wrong
Deep inside my heart
That the dollar sign
Should be keepin’ us apart

But you know I love you
Yes, I love you
Oh, I love you

And if only I could find my way back to the time
When the problems of this life had not yet crossed your mind
And the answers could be found in children’s nursery rhymes
I’d come runnin’ back to you
I’d come runnin’ back to you

But you know we can’t
Live on dreams alone
And to pay the rent
I must leave you all alone

‘Cause I made my choice
Many years ago
And now this travelin’ life
It’s the only life I know

But you know I love you
Yes, I love you
Oh, I love you

But you know I love you
Yes, I love you
Oh, I love you

Favorite Songs: Ghost In This House

I love Alison Krauss’s voice, and I love this song.

This isn’t the version of this song I’m best familiar with (it usually has her band, this has an orchestra) but the words she said prior to the song spoke to me, so I’m using it.



Lyrics:

I don’t pick up the mail
I don’t pick up the phone
I don’t answer the door
I’d just as soon be alone
I don’t keep this place up
I just keep the lights down
I don’t live in these rooms
I just rattle around

I’m just a ghost in this house
I’m just a shadow upon these walls
As quietly as a mouse I haunt these halls
I’m just a whisper of smoke
I’m all that’s left of two hearts on fire
That once burned out of control
You took my body and soul
I’m just a ghost in this house

I don’t care if it rains
I don’t care if it’s clear
I don’t mind staying in
There’s another ghost here
He sits down in your chair
And he shines with your light
And he lays down his head
On your pillow at night

I’m just a ghost in this house
I’m just a shadow upon these walls
I’m living proof of the damage
Heartbreak does
I’m just a whisper of smoke
I’m all that’s left of two hearts on fire
That once burned out of control
You took my body and soul
I’m just a ghost in this house
That once burned out of control
You took my body and soul
I’m just a ghost in this house

Favorite Songs: Evil Woman and Mr. Blue Sky

Hey, it’s a two-for-one special!

Same band as yesterday, Jeff Lynne’s ELO (Electric Light Orchestra). This performance is from the Grammy’s and is notable for the people in the crowd they caught enjoying it.

Lyrics:

“Evil Woman” (Abbreviated)

Hey, woman, you got the blues
‘Cause you ain’t got no one else to use
There’s an open road that leads nowhere
So just make some miles between here and there
There’s a hole in my head where the rain comes in
You took my body and played to win
Ha, ha, woman, it’s a cryin’ shame
But you ain’t got nobody else to blame

Evil woman
Evil woman
Evil woman
Evil woman

“Mr Blue Sky” (Abbreviated)

Sun is shinin’ in the sky
There ain’t a cloud in sight.
It’s stopped rainin’
Everybody’s in the play.
And don’t you know
It’s a beautiful new day
Hey, hey

Runnin’ down the avenue
See how the sun shines.
Brightly in the city on the streets
Where once was pity.
Mister Blue Sky
Is living here today
Hey hey

Mister Blue Sky
Please tell us why
You had to hide away for so long
Where did we go wrong?
Mister Blue Sky
Please tell us why
You had to hide away for so long
Where did we go wrong

Hey
You with the pretty face
Welcome to the human race.
A celebration
Mister Blue Sky’s up there waitin’
And today is the day we’ve waited for

Mister Blue Sky
Please tell us why
You had to hide away for so long
Hey, there
Mister Blue
We’re so pleased
To be with you look around
See what you do everybody smiles at you.

Favorite Songs: “Junk”

Motor cars, handlebars
Bicycles for two
Broken hearted jubilee

Parachutes, army boots
Sleeping bags for two
Sentimental jamboree

Buy buy says the sign in the shop window
Why why says the in junk the yard

Candlesticks, building bricks
Something old and new
Memories for you and me

Buy buy says the sign in the shop window
Why why says the in junk in the yard

– Music & Lyrics by Paul McCartney