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For "Misty Morning Rain" Lyrics please follow the link below


Misty Morning Rain is a song about keeping someone's memory alive. Someone dear to you. The person may be passed on or may just be living far enough away that you don't get to see each other anymore. It's set on a farm somewhere in Ireland.

I wrote The Enchanted Cap sometime in 2016. It's based on a mermaid story I heard from Batt Burns of Sneem, County Kerry. I bought a cassette of his storytelling years ago at a Celtic fair in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. After I had written it I was thinking the song could be taken literally - that she definitely was a mermaid but she could also have been a troubled person who became that way as a result of her captivity and her great sorrow of being held against her will. 

I was thinking of a good friend of mine one day. He has over the last few years developed Alzheimer's. So, that led to me writing down a few lines. All The Way From Home is a song about a young immigrant couple from County Mayo, Ireland who came to the US when they were very young. They meet here, marry, and raise a family. Now, the wife is developing Alzheimer's but somedays are better than others. This day, that the song is set on, is a good day and the couple can talk and reminisce about the past. The husband knows his wife likes to listen to Midwest Radio which can be streamed live from the west of Ireland. However, he has problems "dialing it in". He can't understand that it's not a short-wave radio that he is using. So, he gets help from his grand-daughter to set it up so they can hear the sounds of Tommy Marren, and Paul Claffey. Olivia Hunter, from Roanoke, Virginia, provides the voice of the grandchild.

I taught high school in Maine for a few years and I had a small enough class so I would make the students Hot Chocolate. Maine is cold most of the year and it was a nice thing to do. Of course hot chocolate is nice any time of year.  One day a new student came to school and I was called down to meet her in the guidance office which I did. She was dressed like a skateboarder and had a hoodie on so that you could hardly see her face. We went up to the classroom and she did not want to be in school, in my class or anywhere but where she wanted to be, wherever that was, I don't know. Anyway, I asked her if she wanted hot chocolate when I was making it for the others and she said "No!" Later on that day we were walking, just the two of us, downtown to take some photographs for a project our class was doing. I thought she might enjoy that. It was a very cold day and she only had the light hoodie on. I asked her to take my jacket and she said "No!" A few minutes later I saw a Dunkin Donuts and I said "we'll go in there so you can warm up and I'll get you a hot chocolate".  She stopped in her tracks, cleared her nose and throat and spit a big gob in the ditch and said "what the f&*#K is wrong with you and hot chocolate!!" I burst out laughing because it was a bit odd. She settled in over the next few weeks and would  be asking me to make her some before long. I was thinking of her one day last summer when I was out for a walk. I hadn't thought of her in a while and when I did I laughed and thought of a few lines to put down. But the song needed something more. As the year went on we had a lot of police killing citizens, and citizens killing police, and it was horrible. I started to think how we as a society are responsible for everything that occurs in it - even these terrible murders, especially if we choose not to address them and prevent them from happening in our name. On the other hand we are also responsible for all the good that happens in our society of which there is a lot. But we have to keep doing good and not give up on treating others with kindness and understanding.   I made the song about a police officer who is murdered on the streets doing his/her job. Even though he does his job in a caring way to look out for those in his charge and often against bureaucratic rules he meets a bad end. Which makes it all the more tragic - like every murder.

The Blue Stars Above is about looking forward to someone coming to visit. It's about the anticipation of waiting when the day finally comes and the flight begins. Then the relief when they have landed and the visit begins. I was thinking about the night flight to Shannon Airport and the blue quiet outside the plane that one can see on a moonlit night flying over The Atlantic Ocean.

Walking Her Home is a song about a man who has no clue at all about how to behave socially. He likes a girl who works at a local family-owned restaurant.  The girl likes to read poetry, so he thinks if he learns a few lines by some famous poets she'll be intrigued by this "common interest" they share and he'll get to walk her home. He continues on in his clueless way, and there's not much hope for him. He gets a bit vexed towards the end seeing as he's not making much progress. I've since updated this song because I think I've come to realize it really comes from a bit of theatrical banter that I saw in a local pub between a customer and bartender. It was early in the day and the pub was empty. When I came in the customer and bartender began a performance that often comes about in local pubs when little else is going on. People make up stuff that is always on the verge of being inappropriate but very funny.

I saw a post on Facebook  in 2015 about an event that was being held in Durkin's Bar and Restaurant in my hometown of Ballaghadereen, County Roscommon. I got to thinking about all the other events that have been held in Durkin's over the years since it opened in the late seventies and how important it has become to the surrounding area. The continued success of Durkin's is a great story of perseverance and hard work on the part of Bill and Mena who started the business and their children who helped get it off the ground and who continued to build it up throughout the years. So, I wrote The Bar on the Square not long after seeing that Facebook post. Most towns have a place such as this.

Nothing in Particular was written after our long election cycle ended in 2016. It's about going to my favorite place, Sunset Beach, North Carolina and spending some time away from the world. If you walk along Sunset Beach and down into Bird Island you will pass a mailbox put there by someone a long time ago. Inside, is an ordinary notebook where people write notes, poems, comments about life. You can read the writings or add your own and when the notebook is filled it is replaced with another. Here is a link to a CBS News story on "The Kindred Spirit" .

The Plight of the Yazidis is a song about the Yazidi of Northern Iraq who were mercilessly hunted down by Isis in 2014. Thousands were killed. They fled their homes and eventually ended up on Mount Sinjar where Isis surrounded them and had moved in to slaughter them all. President Obama sent in planes to bomb Isis which created an opening for the Yazidis to escape. Thousands of Yazidi girls had, by this time, been captured by Isis and sold as sex slaves to members of the group. Many are still being held captive. Young Yazidi males were indoctrinated in Isis schools and groomed to be Isis fighters. It's a horrific story of abuse/genocide and one which will go unpunished if evidence is not collected and processed to hold those responsible for these atrocities accountable.

I wrote Fiona after a songwriting meeting near Charlotte, North Carolina. The previous meeting I had played "Misty Morning Rain" and by chance there was a woman leading the group whose name is Misty. Someone joked that next time I should have a song for Fiona who is also a leading member of the group (Nashville Songwriter's Association). So, the first line in the song "Fiona, it's fine, it's not your fault, it's mine" came to mind and then I just kept going with it. That's how that song came about. I didn't intend to write it but it sort of insisted on me doing so. It's a song about a single dad raising his daughter through various stages of their lives together.

Vignettes of the West is a song I started in 2015 but put aside for a while because I wasn't able to get it to come together. It may be because it is a collection of images that I remember particularly well from growing up in Ireland in the sixties and early seventies. But it eventually did start to work once I realized that it is a song that is also about letting go of the past.  

Song for Conor is for Conor O'Hara who died tragically in a traffic accident while in Budapest, Hungary. It was a terrible shock as news like this always is. Conor's father asked if I would post something on Conor's Facebook page in tribute to him and so I wrote the song about a man from County Mayo, where Conor's ancestor's were from,  who goes on a journey in search of answers after losing someone close to him. He returns with a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel. Enough light to carry on living his life. 


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