Saturday, February 13, 2016

Love Songs, Love Stories

Love: it is a source of endless reflection, conversation, story, at all times of the year. In the depths of winter love stories are often spun in form of song, shared and told and sung around and passed along again, as the lives and loves of those who handed them on to us join in from the shadows and as we add our own new love songs to the mix. Romantic love (it is near Valentine’s Day as I write) is an endless subject for musicians. They turn their thoughts to other aspects of love as well.

Mairead Ni Mhaoniagh grew up in Donegal, in the far northwest of the island of Ireland. One of her earliest music teachers there was her father Francie Mooney, himself an accomplished fiddler as well as a playwright and man who loved the sea. When her father died, two of Mairead’s friends wrote a song they hoped would help her. Named for a place on the far western edge of Donegal’s coast, it is called Far Beyond Carrickfinn. Mairead recorded it with Altan on their album called The Widening Gyre.

Eddi Reader is a native Scot. For many years though she lived and followed her career in music south of Hadrian’s Wall down in England. Her friend John Douglas -- now her husband -- thought she really belonged back in Scotland. One of the things he did to help her see this idea was write a song called Wild Mountainside. A love song to country and to woman both, you could say. Reader put the song on her album Songs of Robert Burns to show, she says, that great poetry and song are still flourishing in Scotland. It stands just fine in the company.

One snowy winter night, Carrie Newcomer was driving back to her home in Indiana after being away on tour. As she traveled she was taken by seeing lights in the windows of homes set back from the road, lights sent out by people she would never know and yet which lighted her path in more ways than one. She wrote a song drawing on where those thoughts led her called, unsurprisingly, A Light in the Window. Newcomer has recorded the song on her album called A Permeable Life.

Cathie Ryan gives a graceful and understated yet warm and welcoming voice to Rick Kemp's song of connection Somewhere Along the Road. She has recorded it on her album Somewhere Along the Road. A recognition of change and the continuing strength of connection.

Love songs for many situations and seasons....

Photographs by Kerry Dexter. Thank you for respecting copyright.

You may also wish to see
Cara Dillon: A Thousand Hearts
Cathie Ryan: Through Wind and Rain
Music and Mystery: Conversation with Carrie Newcomer

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