- Hello list,
We heard Jack perform in Fall River, Mass. just over a week ago, and I
thought I'd write it up for those who are interested. If anyone else on
the list was there-I always look around and wonder-please add your
Opening for Jack was Terence Martin, playing guitar and harmonica,
accompanied by Dan Bonis on mandolin, lap steel, and Dobro. Terence's
soothing voice and his lyrical imagery (often from myth, legend, weather
and water) could combine especially with the otherworldly sounds of the
lap steel to produce a mesmerizing effect.
This was taking place at the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River.
You go through a side door, up a steep staircase, then turn left into a
cavernous space. It's a renovated warehouse or a factory. There is wood
above, wood below, and steel columns supporting. Behind the stage there
are floor to ceiling views over the water. The seats are recycled church
pews. Behind those, makeshift walls define studio space for artists.
(One was present during the performance, hidden away, painting.) It looks
like a great place for creativity. Also, sometimes, for dissent.
Up those stairs last week I dragged a heavy heart, full of dismay at the
policies coming out of Washington. I'm sure I wasn't the only one feeling
that way. Jack can be a bard in the old sense, traveling around bringing
news and commentary. He has a keen sense of history. And he doesn't
suffer fools. At this moment in time, what would he say?
"We have a theme tonight," said Jack to Mike Laureanno and Tom Duval, who
wanted to play upbeat. Many of the songs, taken together, were like a
musical history tour, highlighting the great forces and noting instances
of collateral damage. Affecting, and edifying, though not particularly
encouraging. Jack sang a new song, which might be called In Bed With the
Enemy. It is ferociously funny and it's for Dubya. Now this might not be
high art, but there's nothing like a good laugh when you really need it.
Jack would rather sing a song than explain it, so I'm always alert for the
times when he will offer some background. On this night he told how Das
Kapital came from a conversation he overheard between a mother and a
daughter. We've all had that experience, observing a parent who is doing
a number on a child. We ache for the child, and for our own helplessness.
So Jack wrote this song. Now I have to stop and think what I might be
saying to my own children!
Tom brought his very first electric guitar, a 1959 Gretsch. It really
looked old-fashioned. He said it was rather hard to play, that he had to
fight with it. Sounded great, though.
Since you're on this list you'll already know how beautiful the music is
when these guys play, how polished the performance, how easy they make it
look. And yes, there was the usual bickering on stage, to the enjoyment
of all. So as not to leave us feeling dangerously grim, given the
evening's theme, they played a couple of lighter songs and ended with
Gazebo. I must confess to having some trouble following the story, but
that is one rousing bit of silliness there. A fellow named Gary Martin
(?) came onstage to sing along, and he just about knew all the words (no
Here is the list of the songs performed:
The Moon is Full
You're in Bed with the Enemy (just a guess at the title)
Sile na gCioch (Sheila)
Dead Man's Hand (slightly altered from the recorded version, I think)
I OughtTo Know
Sending Home the Slates
The 20th Century
In the Building of the Boat
In Memory of Federico Garcia Lorca
Dover to Dunkirk
The Twelfth of July (Gazebo)
- Great report. Thanks, Mary Jane.
> Tom brought his very first electric guitar, a 1959 Gretsch.Glad to hear that. As good as the acoustic guitar sounds on
_Bandolier_, I wouldn't want to go for too long a period without
hearing Tom on electric. I'm glad that Jack isn't restricting him to
acoustic guitar until the next album!
> A fellow named Gary MartinHe's a good friend of Jack's. He went to Ireland with Jack at least
> (?) came onstage to sing along, and he just about knew all the words (no
> simple feat).
once, the time when "Síar ón nDaingean" [West of Dingle] was written.
Gary also runs the Music by the Bay house concert series
- On Wed, 2 Apr 2003, Ron Mura replied to Mary Jane:
> > Tom brought his very first electric guitar, a 1959 Gretsch.Doesn't Jack disagree with "folk police" in an old Fast Folk
> Glad to hear that. As good as the acoustic guitar sounds on
> _Bandolier_, I wouldn't want to go for too long a period without
> hearing Tom on electric. I'm glad that Jack isn't restricting him to
> acoustic guitar until the next album!
article specifically on the topic of electric instruments in folk?
- --- In JHardy-L@yahoogroups.com, Ron Mura <rmura@w...>
>the words (no
> > A fellow named Gary Martin
> > (?) came onstage to sing along, and he just about knew all
> > simple feat).least
> He's a good friend of Jack's. He went to Ireland with Jack at
> once, the time when "Síar ón nDaingean" [West of Dingle] waswritten.
> Gary also runs the Music by the Bay house concert seriesThanks, Ron.
Twice to Ireland. Not sure yet what songs came from the 2002
trip. 1998-99 resulted in "Síar ón nDaingean", apparently
inspired by my singing of the English song variously called "The
Constant Lovers" or "The Forsaken Mermaid". Jack said, at the
time, that if it had been an Irish song, it would have been more
subtle. It took me about six months to realize that Jack had
written the "Irish" version. We heard the fiddler in a session in
the Tig Pheig pub in Ballyferriter on New Years Day and gave her
and two friends a lift to Dingle a few days later as they were
"Sheila" also came from that trip. We met her in a pub in an
amazing coincidence. After the musician, whom she had been
listening closely to, left, she came over and sat near enough to
us to strike up a conversation. Turns out she's a singer/
songwriter. Turns out she lived in the same apartment that Jack
rented in 1978, five miles away. Most of the song is true. The
dress was in a ditch on the left side of the road as we walked
west from the house we rented. I did show him how to run the
washing machine, though! And the present progressive in
regards to his hair turning gray is wishful thinking.
I think there was a third song from the trip that didn't make it onto
Omens. Can't remember what it might have been.
"12th of July" was written for a concert that Jack did at my house
on July 12, 1998. It was pretty easy to learn - when there's a
good story and a strong tune, it's remarkably easy to learn a
song - much easier than "If I Ever Pass This Way Again", which
took me about three weeks.
Well, that's enough secrets for one post.
- Thanks very much, Gary, for the background on the songs. It adds
another level of appreciation.
On Thursday, April 03, 2003, garyalanmartin (g1martin@...) wrote:
> "Sheila" also came from that trip. [...] And the present progressive in
> regards to his hair turning gray is wishful thinking.
There was one show, a little while after Jack had started performing
"Sheila," at which he gave a touching introduction about the song
being about a young lassie, a dress by the side of the road, and
(from memory--not an exact quote) "an aging tinker that looks quite
a bit like me." He had given similar introductions before, but this
was the only time I heard him make a reference to himself; usually
it was just "a tinker" or "an aging tinker." As Mary Jane wrote recently,
you can learn a lot from listening to Jack's introductions when he gives
them. Every once in a while he adds a comment that gives you a gem of
> I think there was a third song from the trip that didn't make it onto
> Omens. Can't remember what it might have been.
Might it have been "Sending Home the Slates"? Or was that written
before that time?