Tom Kimmel’s April 2014 News

1. Greetings!

The window is open in front of my desk, and all I can see is green. Was there ever a more welcome sight? If spring hasn’t sprung where you are, for heaven’s sake you know it’s just around the corner—and thank goodness.

Speaking of welcome: Welcome!

2. April News-in-Brief

a. Unique songwriting retreat opportunity in May

Calling all songwriters!

I’ll be hosting a small songwriting retreat May 18-24 in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains. A group of  8 (maximum size) writers will convene for a week of writing, mentoring, inspiration and relaxing—part of the Doe Branch Ink series of writing retreats.

Seats remain! So join me and other kindred spirits for a cost effective, one-of-a-kind opportunity. For more, visit my info page HERE.

b. Room for 3 or 4 peeps on my July 26-Aug 4 tour of Ireland’s scenic west coast

Just learned there are up to 4 seats available for my July 26-Aug 4 tour of Counties Mayo, Galway and Clare. These tours are special beyond words. If you’re curious, all the info’s HERE at my website, including a FAQ page and a gallery of Ireland photos from past tours.

[Note: August tour with co-host Kenneth Robinson is sold out.]

c. Waymores debut CD among Top 5 most-played albums in the folk world!

That’s right, the Waymores  self-titled debut album has charted as high as #3 on the Folk-DJ most-played list and is currently hugging the Top 10.

Thanks to Erik Balkey and Hudson Harding Music for the great promo!

If your local folk-public-college-or-community station doesn’t have the CD (and would like one for the station library), just reply to this email and we’ll have a copy sent, pronto.

Bob McWilliams of Kansas Public Radio calls the album, a tremendously FUN album of catchy folk-pop, with Byrds and Beatles influences.”

To listen to a sampling or buy the album at CD Baby, click HERE.

FYI the Waymores are the talented Don Henry and Sally Barris (and me).

d. New Agrarians

Speaking of debut albums, pre-release copies of the New Agrarians CD are now available.. A real labor of love, it features a soulful batch of folk-gospel-soul originals.

My New Ag trio partners are two southern singer-writers who’ve inspired me tremendously: Pierce Pettis and Kate Campbell.

You can order the CD via a PayPal page HERE.

4. TK Poem of the Month

Easter on the Road

It’s Easter morning
and as I’m two blocks away
from a church I stroll down and join
the stream of genteel couples
converging at the portal.

A young family slides down the pew
making room for me
and the prelude begins:
horns, choir,
economical Anglican melodies.

Suddenly I’m tearful. Why?
Because it’s Easter
and I’m far from home?
Because these my people?

The gangly acolyte’s Docksiders
are caked with mud.
Little girls sport bows, and men, bow ties.
A baby is squalling in the back
and the procession commences.

The couple’s children beside me
look from me to their mother.
Is he OK? I wink to assure them
and blow my nose.

Now the priest’s theatrical welcome
and the service unfolds
measured in lay readers’ lessons,
stints of standing, kneeling, sitting, standing again
—and hymns, each grander than the last:
the sensational horns, triumphant choir,
congregants moving our lips, as if we’re singing too.

Soon incense is lit,
the censer, a chained pendulum
flowing from the altar up the aisle,
smoke billowing as the gospel is read,
spilling its message down the rows
of ladies stifling coughs from the smoke,
breathing in little gasps,
composed as the Holy Mother.

And now, somehow
I’m thinking only of Tallulah Bankhead,
home from Hollywood to small town Alabama,
sloshed one Easter morning,
calling loudly to the incense bearer,
Dahling I hate to tell you,
but your purse is on fire.

5. Spring Food for Thought

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”
—Margaret Atwood, author, poet & activist (b. 1939)

“There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem—once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit.”
—Al Gallagher, former professional baseball player (b. 1945)

5. Recommended: Heather Rigdon’s lovely new jazz vocal EP, Everything to Me

We’ve all heard someone say of a singer they admire, “She could sing the phone book.” Well, in my opinion, Heather Rigdon could really pull it off.

The first time I heard Heather sing was in a friend’s living room, and I’ve been on her bandwagon ever since.

Her new second release, an 8-song EP called Everything to Me, showcases her voice perfectly. Cliff Goldmacher’s spare jazz trio production is sure-handed, but never heavy handed, and it gives Heather the spotlight on every spare, exquisite track.

Listen to a sample of all songs at Heather’s website HERE.

(Scroll down the page to download a free bonus track.)

And for more on my good friend Cliff—a talented producer, writer, artist and teacher—click HERE.

Heather’s excellent first album, Young and Naïve and the new EP Everything to Me are available for download at iTunes and at Amazon. (See links at Heather’s site.)

6. Great Songs of the Month: 2 powerful songs stripped bare by Johnny Cash

Most folk and Americana fans appreciate a great song taken down to its roots, and who has managed that better than Johnny Cash? Both this month’s songs are from Mr. Cash’s American Recordings, an album of solo voice and guitar recorded mostly in producer Rick Rubin’s living room.

“The Beast in Me”
Writer: Nick Lowe
From American Recordings (American Recordings/1994)
Produced by Rick Rubin

(Nick Lowe’s version appears on his 1994 album The Impossible Bird.)

“Down There by the Train”
Writer: Tom Waits
From American Recordings (American Recordings/1994)
Produced by Rick Rubin

(Tom Waits’ version appears on his 2006 album Orphans.)

Both tracks are available at iTunes and other outlets, or you can stream them for free if you have the free Spotify app on your computer. (Visit to easily download and install. Then you can search by song title or artist.)

Please note that iTunes and Spotify license the material they feature.

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