1. Greetings! (If it’s Monday this must be Chicago.)
I am in transit once again, on my way home to Mississippi from the Golden State (California), where I just wrapped up a wonderful 10 day run with the Waymores. Big Thanks to everybody who turned out, clapped and danced, took us in, fed us and generally treated us like family.
FYI California was admitted to the Union in 1850 as the 31st state, between Wisconsin (1848) and Minnesota (1858). It’s an enormous land area—third in size only to Alaska and Texas. You really need to drive the length of it to get a sense of how big. Or you can take my word for it!
(How do you like the way I worked the history lesson in there?)
2. News: Sherpas in Maryland NEXT weekend (May 17); Tom’s May writers retreat (May 18-24) in NC is a GO!… plus very brief Ireland update, Waymores & New Agrarians news…
For all the info, visit my tour dates page HERE.
b. The songwriters retreat I’m hosting May 18-24 near Asheville, NC is coming up fast. There’s still time to join our small group for a week of intensive writing, fun and relaxation. I don’t guarantee much, but I guarantee this will be special.
For all the info, click HERE. (Or reply to this email and we’ll contact you right away to answer your questions etc.)
c. The IRELAND tours I’m hosting this summer are sold out. The dates of my 2015 tour of Counties Cork, Kerry and Clare are July 28-Aug 6.
My Ireland webpages will be updated for 2015 within a few days. In the meantime you can get an overview of our tours HERE.
—IF you’re curious or interested in joining me in 2015, email Inishfree Tours’ Vicki Belinoski at vicki(at)austin(dot)rr(dot)com to be added to our early bird mailing list.
d. The WAYMORES (me, Sally Barris, Don Henry) carry on and on, and our California tour was simply delightful. Our debut self-titled CD continues to get strong radio play in public/community radio markets. If your local station is in need of a copy, reply to this email to let us know… and we’ll send one straight out.
To buy the album at CDBaby, click HERE. (It’s also available for downloading and streaming everywhere.)
BTW Pierce, Kate and I will be hooking up for a couple of shows next month: Duluth, GA on Thu June 12 and and Fernandina Beach, FL on Sat June 14. (See all my Tour Dates HERE.)
3. TK Poem of the Month
When I turned 40 I celebrated by buying an old Jaguar XJ6 from a fellow in Texas who’d restored it outside and in and put a Chevrolet engine in it. My friend Michael Lille called it my “Jagrolet.” I loved that car, but she spent an awful lot of time in the shop.
Jaguar for Sale
Any day now she’s
gonna treat me right;
I know it, can feel
the unspoken promise.
And look at her—long
like a Cuban cigar,
curvy like a Stratocaster,
slung like a black belt
across the hips. Yes, she
got it right the first time
and we both know it. But
can I be called a fool
when even a fool would’ve bought
the sensible car and said,
good enough? No I had to fall
in love, fling myself down
the well like a terrier
after a squirrel.
New starter, no problem.
New battery, all right.
Transmission, if we must.
Rear end, help me.
New engine, oh but she will only
purr sweeter, fly faster.
No I’m past foolishness.
I’m simply sad. Sad and unashamed,
because look at her: So elegant, black
and beautiful. So beautiful.
4. Food for Thought
The recent botched state execution in Oklahoma brings to mind a few much needed words of wisdom:
“Murder and capital punishment are not opposites that cancel one another, but similars that breed their kind. It is the deed that teaches, not the name we give it.”
-George Bernard Shaw, Irish author (1856-1950)
5. Recommended for May: Jesse Winchester classic albums
Jesse Winchester has inspired me more than I can say. I first heard his music in 1974, and it was largely through my attempts to copy his writing and singing that I somehow found my own voice.
As a young journeyman playing long hours in bars and clubs I would cover a half dozen of his songs nightly, and over the years whenever Jesse performed in Nashville I could look around the room and see most of the songwriters I knew.
As many of you know, Jesse passed away last month at the ripe young age of 69, and it seems fitting that I recommend 2 early albums I especially love. They still sound so damn good.
a. 3rd Down, 110 to Go
Released in 1972 on Bearsville Records, this was Jesse’s second release, and it featured a basketful of short groovy gems, including Isn’t That So?, Dangerous Fun, Midnight Bus and All of Your Stories.
It’s available on CD (paired with Jesse’s great self-titled debut album) at Amazon and elsewhere, or as an MP3 download (album or single tracks) from Amazon, iTunes and other digital outlets.
b. Learn to Love It
Released in 1974 on Bearsville, this was Jesse’s third album, and I doubt any other single work has influenced me more. When I was living in New England in 1975 and 1976 nothing made me more homesick than Mississippi, You’re On My Mind. I was haunted by L’Air De La Louisane and Martha Carson’s gospel classic, You Can’t Stand Up Alone (which I covered on my Shallow Water album many years later). Jesse’s groove, tone, poetry and economy of style set the bar for me.
Learn to Love It is available on CD (paired with Jesse’s fine fourth album, Let the Rough Side Drag), or as an MP3 download (album or single tracks) from Amazon, iTunes et al.
BTW lyrics all Jesse’s songs are posted at www.jessewinchester.com
6. Great Songs of the Month: In Splendid Memory of Jesse Winchester
Jesse was one of those rare singer/writers who made great records and whose songs were also widely covered by other artists including Emmylou Harris, George Strait, Jimmy Buffett, Jerry Jeff Walker, The Everly Brothers, Joan Baez and Wynonna Judd.
These two are among my very favorites.
“The Brand New Tennessee Waltz”
Writer: Jesse Winchester
From Jesse Winchester (Ampex Records/1970)
Produced by Robbie Robertson
Writer: Jesse Winchester
From Talk Memphis (Bearsville Records/1981)
Produced by Willie Mitchell
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 Spotify.com to easily download the app and install. Then you can search by song title or artist and even make your own playlists.)
Please note that iTunes and Spotify license the material they feature.