Have You Written Any Other Songs?

Now that you mention it, I have. “Sweet Baby Grand” and “Touch Dirt,” as detailed in the June 4, 2017 blog, were both collaborations with my singer-songwriter-instrumentalist brother Phil Casey. Both songs are available for download at several sites, including Amazon, Spotify, and iHeart radio. 

But a couple years ago, I was thrilled to discover that one of my poems, a straight-out lyric, was set to music in a song cycle with parts for soprano, flute, viola, harp and marimba. It has been performed in Boston, Glasgow, and elsewhere. 

Here is how that came about: A while ago, I had written “On Learning That My Daughter Was Pregnant,” in the aftermath of that startlingly wonderful event. I’m talking before the turn of this century! The poem appeared in the lovely Carquinez Poetry Review, which ceased publication in 2006, but in the meantime, was chosen by Beth Denisch, a contemporary composer at Berklee College of Music in Boston for use in her 17-poem lifecycle of women composition, One Blazing Glance. The title of the entire piece was taken from a line in my poem.

In addition to the thrill that my first grandson’s entry into the world was so celebrated, I found it especially meaningful to have written a lyric that called out to be sung and performed. As the name implies, in the ancient Greek tradition, a lyric poem was one intended to be accompanied by the lyre. 

And speaking of unusual stringed instruments, I collaborated with Phil on another song, "Double Luck," which is not yet available for download anywhere.

Demo Song on you tube "Cross Picking Demonstration on 3 string cigar box guitar.”

Demo Song on you tube "Cross Picking Demonstration on 3 string cigar box guitar.”

It is awaiting companion songs on a second album. However, if you are interested in listening to it, he sings and plays it as the demo song on his you tube video, “Cross Picking Demonstration on 3 string cigar box guitar.”

So, yes, I have written a few songs, very few, but their current whereabouts I’ve gathered into one spot, the Songs page on the drop-down menu. Songs are cool; they get sung again and again.

Do You Like Occasional Poetry?

Occasionally. Especially if it’s occasioned by an event of personal importance. And especially if it is set to music by my singer-songwriter-performer-master of guitar, mandolin, ukulele, harmonica, singing-strumming brother, Phil Casey. Also of Scuppernongaree fame. 

In 2014, our father’s life was coming to a close. On his last cogent weekend, my daughter was flying to Florida for a last goodbye when she got another long-awaited phone call. She had an invitation to meet with a birth mother to discuss adoption. What to do? No contest. My daughter cancelled her flight to visit her grandfather and met with the birth mother. As my father said, "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. "

A time of great intensity, when the boundaries of the beyond seemed to lift. Tears and joy, no longer at odds. I wrote what I hoped would be a song to celebrate the upcoming birth of our new granddaughter, and my brother obliged by putting to music and performing what I think is one of the most beautiful songs ever written! An act of generosity for which I am profoundly grateful. 

“Sweet Baby Grand” became available as an MP3 download on Amazon today, our father’s birthday, link here and lyrics below. Another occasion, to note! It is part of his new album, The Tidewater Fishing Report, self-produced and performed, conceived and created. Many of the songs are rooted in local Virginia history where he and his family now live. Fun, fun, fun. I also wrote the lyrics, with some tweaking by Phil, for “Touch Dirt,” but at least, if you’re reading this, sample “Sweet Baby Grand.” 


SWEET BABY GRAND

By the grace, grace, grace of God
Our family’s turnin’ round and right   
Oh, Lord, she’s birthin’ in the cool twilight
And more than her delivery is surely at hand
Our baby, sweet baby grand  (repeat at end)

On Sunday, we’re soaring ever so high
On Monday, we flow to th’ sound of her cry
On Tuesday, her smile’s midsummer’s night
Come Wednesday, no doubt, our princess delight

CHORUS

By Thursday, high noon on mountain tops
We watch when she dances, spins, and then stops
Whoever saw coming, this amazin’ surprise  
 A balm for our hearts, a feast for our eyes.

CHORUS

Come Friday, we’re worried, a shadow falls
Out and about, will she come when we call?
There’s valleys and chasms and trouble out there.
Be safe, cherished girl-child, always our prayer.

CHORUS

On Saturday, what if she seems all grown,
We belong to each other, perm(a)nent loan.
Sweet baby’s remakin’ our world each day.  
Our sunshine and starlight, come what may

CHORUS

                    Maryanne Hannan c 2014

Sweet Baby Grand
Good Time Tunes Va