A Lovely Day, Release date - December 21st, 2019. 

Produced by Colin Farrell & Jim Sharkey

The fourteen original songs on “A Lovely Day” are diverse but all are rooted in the Irish traditional heritage Jim grew up with in Ireland. “The Old Piano” is the story of an Irish immigrant music teacher who finds herself fleeing the Oklahoma Dust Bowl in 1935. She ends up in California and continues to teach children familiar songs and songs from her past such as “Skibbereen” and “The Homes of Donegal”. “Mother Jones” recounts the story of Cork-born Mary Harris who grew into the labor leader known as Mother Jones. “The Beautiful Game” is a more contemporary song about the Women’s World Cup of 2019. It features Derek Hickey on button accordion who provides a French cafe feel to the song. The musicians on the album are top class with Colin Farrell producing and playing fiddle and whistles. His brother Shane provides banjo and mandolin; Alan Murray is brilliant as ever on bouzouki and guitar; Nuala Kennedy sings subtle and beautiful harmony on three songs; Will MacMorran plays accordion on five or six tracks, Cillian Vallely plays pipes on two tracks and Anna Colliton plays bodhran on two songs. Local North Carolina musicians Luke Boudreault, trumpet; Destiny Stone, piano; and Kelly Siske-Dunworth, vocals; round out the talent featured on this, Jim Sharkey’s fourth, album.

  • Mixed and Mastered by Dave Fason at Windfall Studios, Floyd, Virginia.

  • Nuala Kennedy recorded by mé féin at Elm Park Studios, Ennis, County Clare, Ireland.

  • Colin Farrell, Shane Farrell, Alan Murray, Anna Colliton, Derek Hickey recorded by Colin Farrell in various places.

  • Cillian Vallely recorded by Cillian in New York City.

  • Jim Sharkey, Destiny Stone, and Kelly Siske-Dunworth recorded by Jim in Salisbury, North Carolina,(Kelly was recorded in Mooresville, North Carolina).

  • Luke Boudreault recorded at Presbyterian Church of the Covenant, Greensboro, North Carolina.  

The Old Piano

written by Jim Sharkey

That old piano, sir, I'm bound to fix her

to hear the songs the way my grandma did

Dust it off, wipe it down

Tune it up and we'll hear the sounds

 

Chorus:

Of Galway Bay; and The Homes of Donegal; 

Skibbereen; and The Derry Air;

Shenandoah; This Land is Your Land;

Songs that helped our country grow

 

They left Boise City, Oklahoma,

in a beat up Ford, in the spring of thirty-five

And took the dusty road to California 

Doing all they could to stay alive

 

And she told him 

“Mister, I said, all our belongings”

I'm not leaving the Wentworth behind,

It might weigh a ton, as much as a mountain,

but we've moved mountains before, you and I”

'Cause she gives light, as good as any kerosene lantern

To warm the soul she'll put fire inside

I've seen her chase the wolf from our doorway

I've seen her put the light back in your eyes

and back in mine

 

Chorus:

Of Galway Bay; and The Homes of Donegal; 

Skibbereen; and The Derry Air;

Shenandoah; This Land is Your Land;

Songs that helped our country grow

She taught children in the San Joaquin Valley

how to play their chords and practice their scales

She earned extra money but everybody knew

her great reward was to hear them playing

Chorus:

Of Galway Bay; and The Homes of Donegal; 

Skibbereen; and The Derry Air;

Shenandoah; This Land is Your Land;

Songs that helped our country grow

That old piano, sir, I'm bound to fix

So take it off the auction list

It's not for sale, not for any reason

We'll bring her home, and hear her sing

Chorus:

Of Galway Bay; The Homes of Donegal; 

Skibbereen; and The Derry Air;

Shenandoah; This Land is Your Land;

Songs that helped our country grow

Songs from grandma's heart and soul

A Lovely Day (for Mary and Hugh)

written by Jim Sharkey

I'm happy when I see her smile

I'm happy when she stays a while

I'm happy when I see her face

and oh, so happy when we embrace

 

Chorus:

today will be a lovely day

I expect it will stay that way 

All is well when I'm with Mary

Today will be a lovely day

All day long my family's calling

friends write on my Facebook wall

and say Happy birthday, here's to you

We hope you have a good one Hugh

Chorus:

It will be a lovely day

I expect it will stay that way 

All is well when I'm with Mary

Today will be a lovely day

It seems like only yesterday

Some memories never fade

I placed a ring upon her finger

It was Springtime, in New England

 

Chorus:

Today will be a lovely day

I expect it will stay that way 

All is well when I'm with Mary

Today will be a lovely day

Bridge:

Round and round the dance floor we glide

My hand by her side

Round and round and round we go

Her hand on my shoulder

Last night at the Gaelic Club I saw

our kids, and the young ones, all grown up

but I felt content and I felt proud

to be the elder in the family now

 

Chorus:

It sure was a lovely day

all my life has been this way 

All is well when I'm with you Mary

Today was a lovely day, (Mary)

Jim Sharkey, 01 March 2018

JUST TRY IT

written by Jim Sharkey

 

When you're feeling down

When you're feeling blue

When all you've got

is an uninspired option

staring back at you

CHORUS:

Can't you just try it

Can't you just try it

You never know

it just might hold the answer

and if it does

the whole world will be thankful

and we can sleep soundly at night

Can't you just try it

When your high heel splits

When the shoe won't fit

When your granny says 

“Try a pair of mine on”

Don't be quick to dismiss her

CHORUS:

Can't you just try it

Can't you just try it

You never know

It just might hold the answer

and if it does

the whole world will be thankful

and we can sleep soundly at night

Can't you just try it

 

When the fish won't bite

When your lamp won't light

When the breaker trips

and your ice cream drips

When you're up all night

and your hair's a fright

Don't overlook, disregard or slight

Just give it a try

When your tire's flat

and Triple AAA says your membership has lapsed

you recall, your old man sayin'

something about a jack, … I think it's somewhere in the back

 

CHORUS:

Can't you just try it

Can't you just try it

You never know

It just might hold the answer

and if it does

the whole world will be thankful

and we can sleep soundly at night

Can't you just try it

When you're feeling down

When you're feeling blue

When the only choice

is an uninspired option

What have you got to lose

Chorus – REPEAST LAST LINES 3 TIMES

Lyrics

MY HOME IN ROSCOMMON    

I started in the morning the air was crisp and clean

on the top of Bockagh Hill over-looking Ballaghadereen 

I walked amongst the heather and thought of younger days

The fairs on Market Street the football games we played

 

CHORUS:

O the hay is baled, the turf is home

I'm taking a few days to myself to get to know

My home in Roscommon where the Beaker Folk of old,

settled round Aughurine 4,000 years ago   

 

Then out to Aughalista with my bamboo fishing rod

I cast my line and cork-float, there was people on the bog

They were footing turf and clamping

and blowing in the breeze

They straightened up to look around

and they bent their backs with ease

 

CHORUS:

O the hay is baled, the turf is home

I'm taking a few days to myself to get to know

My home in Roscommon

where the Beaker Folk of old,

settled round Aughurine 4,000 years ago   

 

Two big trout I landed but I put them back again

and a woman in Edmondstown

said she would have eaten them

she took me to The Four Altars

and told me long ago

the people walked on plank roads

to get where they were going

 

CHORUS:

O the hay is baled, the turf is home

I'm taking a few days to myself to get to know

My home in Roscommon where the Beaker Folk of old,

settled round Aughurine 4,000 years ago 

 

And up on Fairymount around an Iron-Age fort 

I fell asleep upon a ditch and I dreamt that I was sort

of a chieftain in charge

of a half a dozen men

we raided every fairy fort

from Buckhill to Elphin

CHORUS:

O the hay is baled, the turf is home

I'm taking a few days to myself to get to know

My home in Roscommon where the Beaker Folk of old,

settled round Aughurine 4,000 years ago   

 

and now the sun is setting on the long ago demenses

I'll stop a while in Spells, a session is underway

Niall is pulling pints of beer

and stout behind the bar

Joe is on the fiddle,

Phil is on guitar

CHORUS:

O the hay is baled, the turf is home

I'm taking a few days to myself to get to know

My home in Roscommon where the Beaker Folk of old,

settled round Aughurine 4,000 years ago

MOTHER JONES

Framed inside an old photograph,

an elder woman dressed in black, 

lace collar, and snow white hair,

a 19th century Mama Bear

CHORUS:

Miners called her Mother Jones,

because their burdens were her own

she spoke up for the working poor,

when they worked the mines & the factory floors

Politicians and newspapers,

the Pinkertons and the mine owners

said she was a radical,

the “most dangerous woman in America”

So they locked her up, and threatened her,

they wrote ill of her character 

they tried to put her “in her place”

as she wiped the gild off The Gilded Age 

CHORUS:

Miners called her Mother Jones

because their burdens were her own

she spoke up for the working poor,

when they worked the mines & the factory floors

She marched with the little mill children

from Philadelphia to Oyster Bay

Where they tried to see the President,

but he told them “go away”

In the hills of West Virginia,

in the brutal feudal system

she braved the bullets and brutality

of the thugs, the thieves and her government

 

CHORUS:

Miners called her Mother Jones,

because their burdens were her own

she spoke up for the working poor,

when they worked the mines & the factory floors

 

She gave them hell, and railed against

the blood and tear-stained opulence

and when she died, she left a bright beacon,

and the fire's burning ever yet

So when you see a firebrand,

a brave and radical woman or man

Please remember Mary Jones

by another name more widely known because

CHORUS:

Miners called her Mother Jones,

because their burdens were her own

she spoke up for the working poor,

when they worked the mines & the factory floors

 

… the cold, dark mines, and the factory floors

www.jimsharkeymusic.com

THE STATE IT HAS ME IN

 

For thirty years he never

dared to linger in the past

“What good does it do”? he'd say if someone asked

So, don't you know, it frightened him

and left him feeling weird

to type in “Mary Joyce” on his new computer gear 

CHORUS:

Oh, I wish you'd never bought that computer thing

I was happy here on me own 

til you brought the damn thing in

It's alright for some things; a card game, now and then

But I'd just as soon be left alone with the state it has me in

 

Ten or fifteen Mary Joyce's popped up on the screen

and he clicked on every one from Lisacul to Knocknareagh 

He clicked on one from Birmingham, & one from Aberdeen

& Eureka! Then he clicked on Mary Joyce in New Orleans 

CHORUS:

Oh, I wish you'd never bought that computer thing

I was happy here on me own 

til you brought the damn thing in

It's alright for some things; a card game, now and then

But I'd just as soon be left alone with the state it has me in

He heard her voice, like a bell, as in days of yore

In a video that maybe was a year old - not much more

She sang "I'll Always Love You"

at a do on Conti Street

Down south in New Orleans,

and she never looked so sweet 

It brought him back to the days

he thought would never end

But he was young and she was too

And you know what happened then 

The summer passed and left his poor heart

hanging on the trees

to fall down in November

among the withered leaves

CHORUS:

Oh, I wish you'd never bought that computer thing

I was happy here on me own 

til you brought the damn thing in

It's alright for some things; a card game, now and then

But I'd just as soon be left alone with the state it has me in

He tried to get to sleep that night

but thoughts ran through his head

Should he try to contact her? Or find out her address?

She might like to hear from him?

Or would she be appalled?

Riddled with anxiety he never slept at all 

CHORUS:

Oh, I wish you'd never bought that computer thing

I was happy here on me own 

til you brought the damn thing in

It's alright for some things; a card game, now and then

But I'd just as soon be left alone with the state it has me in

 

 

FATHER OF THE BRIDE

On the day before her wedding

the father of the bride

took down a box of photographs

that might help to jog his mind

so he could write the speech he had to write;

that custom has required

but a man of few words all his life

was the father of the bride

Chorus:

Like a ship without a captain

when the waves come rushing in

mem'ries heaped down on him

he didn't know where to begin

So much is so important

which ones should he include?

when every precious moment

is too precious to exclude 

At three years old, she wore black tights

and her favorite, Disney dress

with a slip-on left shoe on the right foot

and the right one on her left

We got a doll and she named it “Woggly”

the day her sister was born

she wanted to be like her mother

with a newborn of her own

 

Chorus:

Like a ship without a captain

when the waves come rushing in

mem'ries heaped down on him

he didn't know where to begin

So much is so important

which ones should he include?

when every precious moment

is too precious to exclude 

He laid down his weary head

as day turned into night

sleep gave way and dreams held sway

in the oceans of his mind

a tapping on the windowpane;

brought a late night visitor

“my name is William Butler Yeats”

he said, “I hear you're stuck for words”

 

Chorus:

I'm like a ship without a captain

when the waves come rushing in

mem'ries heap down on me

I don't know where to begin

So much is so important

which ones would you include?

when every precious moment 

is too precious to exclude 

all through the night, they'd write and write

they'd drain the ink well dry

by 6 o'clock the work was done

and he timed it under nine

the photographs, with care, were put back

his mind now in repose

he knew exactly what to say

later on, when he rose, on her wedding day

 

 

THE CHAMPION

                

Goodnight, darlin', my grand-daughter dear

I'll tell you the story you like to hear

about your father, when he was a child

You know it well, it always makes you smile

How he would run through the fields

when we'd send him to the shop

and hear thousands cheering

as he burst out of the blocks

then home he'd arrive,

saying “I ran it under five, I think

I might be a champion someday”

Goodnight, darlin', my grand-daughter dear

I'll tell you the story you like to hear

about your father, when he was a child

You know it well, it always makes you smile

A meadow in June occurred to him to be

a perfect place to play against imaginary teams

For hours he'd dribble 'round

the stacks and bales of hay and say

“I'm going to be a champion someday”

Goodnight, darlin', my grand-daughter dear

I have a story that you'd like to hear

about your father, when he was a child

You know it well, I've told you many times

He wrote a letter to the President one day

he told her his name

and gave her his age

The President wrote back

and said “young man, I'd say,

you're going to be a champion someday.”

Goodnight, darlin', my grand-daughter dear

I have a story you'd like to hear

about your father, when he was a child

You know it well, it always makes you smile

In a few short years he left home for work

and flew across the ocean like a bird

when he returned

with his wife and baby girl

They said,

“we've brought you home a champion today”

Goodnight, darlin', my grand-daughter dear

I've told you the stories, you wanted to hear

about your father, when he was a child

I'll tell you no more, 'cause it's time,

we said goodnight

 

 

THE BEAUTIFUL GAME 

(The 2019 Women's World Cup)

 

Twenty-four teams

togged out for the World Cup in France

They came from all over,

they'd worked hard when given the chance

down through the years, and for little pay

with plenty of laughter, hardship and pain,

they bonded together,

to play in the beautiful game

They wore yellow and green, orange,

red, white and blue

and played for their countries, their friends,

and their loved ones too

some played on the back line,

some played on the wing

the goal was the same, just get the ball in

cross to the forward she'll pounce

to score once again

My grandmother told me

if ever I was to roam

Upon returning make sure

to bring presents home

There's chocolates in Paris,

there's cheeses and wine

Eiffel Tower replicas,

famous street signs

And footballing mem'ries

to own for rest of your life

Alas, now it's over,

and one team, has come out on top

and more and more teams

will start training for their next shot

When four years roll round

they'll be here once again

it's a long way from now

but the World Cup for men

will help pass the time,

'til our ladies return once again. 

Twenty-four teams togged out

for the World Cup in France

They came from all over,

they'd worked hard when given the chance

down through the years, and for little pay

with plenty of laughter, hardship and pain,

they bonded together,

to play in the beautiful game

THE HIGHWAYMAN

On a fine and pleasant morning

Just before the break of day

As I walked along the coast road

To the fair in Massachusetts Bay

I heard my father's warning

From a time so far away

Beware of the  highwayman

On the road to Massachusetts Bay

He will hide amongst the heather

Like a red fox to the hare

As you walk along the coast road

Just before the break of day

He will take your hard-earned shillling­

Your cattle and your jacket blue

He'll make you thank the good lord

That he left your life with you

Out of the dewey heather

Just before the break of day

As I walked along the coast road

A fair maid stood in my way

She said hand me your hard-earned shilling

hand me your jacket blue

hand over your beef cattle

I will keep them safe for you

For my father stands before us

and the fair in Massachusetts Bay

He will rob you of your treasures

He's a highwayman by trade 

We'll take the road less travelled

and around him we will stray

and your cattle you will sell today

at the fair in Massachusetts Bay

Oh, we walked and talked together

then she kissed me on the mouth

and her father with his pistols

stood up and gave a shout

“Hand over your hard-earned shillling­

Your cattle and jacket blue

Kneel down and thank the good lord

That I leave your life with you”

He said, “Stand aside my daughter

You have done your job so well

You may go back to your mother

take his money with you as well”

Oh Father, said the young maid

Your ways I can't abide

For I've come to love this young man

and I mean to make him mine

Now we live along the coast road

and around us children play

and this song that I sing to you

I'll sing to them some day

 

I'LL TAKE CARE OF YOU

Winter arrived today,

the fields are all wet with rain

The cold, blustery, painful kind, to sting your face

and make you close your eyes

I pass a little robin's nest, oh! my goodness,

there's life there yet

what's the matter little bird,

did you not get the word

CHORUS

I'll take care of you, like a true friend would do

I won't abandon you, I'll be true, and I'll take care of you

Little Robin all alone,

shivering, in your little Irish home

Come inside to warm yourself,

you can bring along your little nest

Sleepy eyes, shallow breathe,

frightened ball of feathers in a nest;

Did they leave you unknowingly,

in their haste to get to Italy?

CHORUS

I'll take care of you, like a true friend would do and

I won't abandon you, I'll be true, I'll take care of you

I read that long ago the ancient myths

thought that all the birds turned into fish

They didn't know that you flew away

when the weather got too cold to stay

Have you seen the Serengetti Plain?

I've heard it's nice in Portugal and Spain, 

They say the weather there is always fine,

but a little hot in summertime

 

CHORUS

I'll take care of you, like a true friend would do and

I won't abandon you, I'll be true, and I'll take care of you

 

BRIDGE

It's so nice to make a connection

It's important not to be alone

and I'm more than happy that I met you

'Cause you turn my house into a home

Aren't we a right old pair now,

sitting here for over half a year

Winter's gone, springtime's near,

time flew by, goodbyes are here

Won't you come and visit me

when your friends come back from Italy

Tell them now and then you have to go for,

to visit with an old friend you know

 

CHORUS

I'll take care of you, like a true friend would do and

I won't abandon you, I'll be true, and I'll take care of you

 

 

DELIA & SAINT CHRISTOPHER

Oh, Delia, where have you gone?­

Your brother is worried

he thinks something's wrong

he thinks something's happened

you're in trouble someway

write soon and tell him 

that you're doing okay

 

Oh, Delia,where have ye gone?

Your mother is worried

You've been gone so long

she rereads the letter

you sent last year

and all the letters you first wrote

when you were so full of cheer

BRIDGE

All around the county 

children left their homes 

young boys and young girls 

barely fifteen years old

 

Oh, Delia, where have you gone?

Your father is worried

he's quiet and withdrawn

He lights votive candles

and prays to my name

He's reaching for anything

that'll help ease the pain

 

Oh, Delia, you've done nothing wrong

take pen to paper

it doesn't have to be long

and there I left her

and as I was goin'

I saw she had written 

“I'll be coming home,

Dear Mammy and Daddy

I'll be coming home”

 

 

 

THE CHRISTMAS COMET

 

He'll tip / his cap / at strangers

and smile / as children stare 

dressed in / a red tuxedo 

he appears / out of thin air

 

CHORUS:

His home / is on / the western breeze

where the heathery / bogs abound

he comes out / every Christmas Eve

like a comet / coming round / to our town

He'll unfold / a silver trumpet

from a cloth / of velvet green

and when / he blows / “Joy to the World”

not a dry / eye can / be seen 

 

CHORUS:

His home / is on / the western breeze

where the heathery / bogs abound

he comes out / every Christmas Eve

like a comet / coming round / to our town

 

And they say / all grief / and trouble

in the crowd / that gathers there

rises up upon the music

and dissolves / into / thin air

CHORUS:

His home / is on / the western breeze

where the heathery / bogs abound

he comes out / every Christmas Eve

like a comet / coming round / to our town

He'll tell / jokes / that have no punchline

in between // most every tune

yet the way that he tells them 

makes you laugh / as if they do

CHORUS:

His home / is on / the western breeze

where the heathery / bogs abound

he comes out / every Christmas Eve

like a comet / coming round / to our town

 

Happy Christmas / O'Donoghue

What would we do / without you

Happy Christmas / O'Donoghue

Happy Christmas / and a Happy / New Year / too

 

 

I HAVE TO BE SOMEPLACE

Out on the ocean there is a wave

That passes Bermuda every other day

With white hair blazing and news to relay

Sayin, “I can't stop now I have to be someplace,

I can't stop now I have to be someplace

On the coast of Ireland, there is a girl

her hands cup to capture the ocean swirl

and raising it up to her shimmering lips 

she whispers softly before releasing it 

Saying, “Hey, hey, John, I long to see your face”

“Hey, hey, John, I long to see your face”

That old wave now with her message in hand

Treks over the ocean, back to NewFoundLand

and down south to Boston, her lover to trace

Saying, “I can't stop now I have to be someplace”

“I can't stop now I have to be someplace”

And I say, Hey, hey, for the ocean wave

Hey, hey, for the ocean wave

BRIDGE:

At night I overhear them talk of him

the westerly wind and the rain

I hear them say “that wave is so strange, 

to take his work so seriously”

Coming off the water into New Bedford Bay

with lobster traps set, John winds down the day

and over to starboard, there's a welcoming sight

It's that tired old wave carrying a message tonight 

Saying, “Hey, hey, John, she longs to see your face” 

“Hey, hey, John, she longs to see your face”

 

BRIDGE:

At night I overhear them talk of him

the westerly wind and the rain

I hear them say “that wave is so strange, 

to take his work so seriously”

Out on the ocean there is a wave

and if you should see him help him on his way

and don't be offended when you hear him say

“I can't stop now I have to be someplace”

“I can't stop now I have to be someplace”

 

And I say, hey, hey, for the ocean waves 

The tireless, hardworking ocean waves

Hey, hey, for the ocean waves 

Fair play to the ocean waves

 

 

 

DELIA & SAINT CHRISTOPHER

Oh, Delia, where have you gone?­

Your brother is worried

he thinks something's wrong

he thinks something's happened

you're in trouble someway

write soon and tell him 

that you're doing okay

 

Oh, Delia,where have ye gone?

Your mother is worried

You've been gone so long

she rereads the letter

you sent last year

and all the letters you first wrote

when you were so full of cheer

BRIDGE

All around the county 

children left their homes 

young boys and young girls 

barely fifteen years old

 

Oh, Delia, where have you gone?

Your father is worried

he's quiet and withdrawn

He lights votive candles

and prays to my name

He's reaching for anything

that'll help ease the pain

 

Oh, Delia, you've done nothing wrong

take pen to paper

it doesn't have to be long

and there I left her

and as I was goin'

I saw she had written 

“I'll be coming home,

Dear Mammy and Daddy

I'll be coming home”