New Traditions is a product of my eastern Canadian upbringing, my love of traditional folk songs and my interest in the history of Irish immigration to Canada. From melancholy to playful, trads or 'neo-trads' transcend time and place to encompass very basic human emotions and desires. They appeal to our love of 'stories'. All of the songs on New Traditions have stories behind them.
Blacksmith was written for my husband, who is, among other things, a blacksmith. Blacksmith stories and legends depict them as strong and independent. There is almost a reverence or awe connected with their ability to transform steel, as though magic were a key ingredient. I expanded upon this in Blacksmith, creating a magical story grounded in scientific fact.
I wrote Faerie Hill after hearing an old song called the Sister's Lament. The story of how a girl out walking hears her long lost sister singing to her from a 'fairy hill', conjured up deliciously magical images. After hearing my first draft of the song, Bill Henderson ('Chilliwack' and 'UHF') suggested I add a 'twist' at the end. I did, and was very happy for the input as I think it made a much better song of it.
It's Alright was just for fun! Proof that I can write a drinking song!
Johnny Oh shows a strong willed woman in a world where being 'bidable' was more prized. Stubbornly clinging to the hope that her true love will return she turns down every offer of marriage, much to the dismay of her parents. But only in the end as she gallops away with her Johnny, she wonders if she's been wise to just dash off with him. Will he "...take or forsake her..." ?
Maid from the Misty Mountainside is pure moondust. A tale that simply came to me from the ether.
Mermaid is based on the story of the Mermaid of Zennor; an old Welsh legend. I think Disney did a version of this too, ahem.
Onward is a happy, simple song honouring happy people leading simple lives. Great fun to perform live as the chorus is very 'singable'.
Rowan Tree is a sad song of love lost on the high sea. We take the ease of modern travel for granted. When you think of the long separations, the dangers and uncertainties of having a loved on a ship so long ago, when wood and sail, expertise and providence were the only things between sailors and the deep blue sea, it makes you realize how strong these women must have been. And how easy it could be to become obsessed with watching for him to come home.
This Land is one of my favourite songs. It came about after a great deal of research. Poring over ships logs, immigrant diaries, and the correspondance of Father Bernard, I immersed myself in the period and the story nearly wrote itself. It is a story of great courage. I know my ancestors came to Canada from Ireland but I don't know when or what the circumstances were for certain but one cannot but admire the bravery and tenacity of these immigrants of the 1840's who left it all behind to start a new and better life in a foreign land. No satelite telephones, no jet planes connected them to their past. It was an all or nothing jump with no expectation of ever seeing their homeland or the people they left behind ever again. I have great admiration for such commitment.
I'll Not Wed a Man (Who'll Go Down to the Mine) is a bit tongue in cheek. The grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence!
Wheels Go Round celebrates the circular nature of life, connecting Traditional to Cyber...
Wild Geese is dedicated to all the Irish soldiers who fled Ireland to fight in the armies of foreign lands and to the legacy and the lost children of Ireland they have left behind them all over the world.
There will be a sequel to New Traditions. I cannot tell for sure when, but, among others, I am working on the songs for "Newer Traditions"...