Far From Home

Far From Home is my first CD, and it is a long time coming. I hope that it will be a good introduction for those of you who don't know my music. Just click on one of the links in the list below for more information, including lyrics, translations, credits and previews. Visit my biography section for more information about me and the other musicians that appear on this album. So many people are due my sincere thanks that I could never include them all, but I have made this attempt.

  1. Farewell to Nova Scotia
  2. Reels: The Shaskeen/Lady Anne Montgomery/Maude Millar's
  3. An Cailín Álainn
  4. The Lily of Tyrone
  5. Air: Bríd Óg Ní Mhaille
  6. Deoraí Thír an Fhia/The Silver Spear
  7. Reels: Dinny O'Brien's/Farewell to Connaught
  8. Fill a Rúin
  9. Amhrán Shandyston Mheiriceá
  10. Jigs: An tAthair Jack Walsh/The Shaskeen/Brendan Tonra's
  11. You Can't Leave Netcong after Seven
  12. As I Roved Out/Castle Kelly
  13. Reels: The Swallow's Nest/Maguire's
  14. Their Sons Know Only Beer
  15. Ciara na Gruaige Rua

Farewell to Nova Scotia  [ credits | lyrics ]

I first learned this song at a choral festival in the late 1980s. I started singing it again a few years ago in honor of my wife, whose father comes from Stellarton. All Canadians seem to have learned it at summer camp! It has become one of my most requested songs at sessions around Boston. No one requests it more often than Sean Connor, with whom I have had the privilege of playing music at least twice a week for the last two years. I am so happy to have his fiddling on this track and throughout this album. Melissa Foley's harmony vocals round out this arrangement, which is a bit different from the version that we play live.

Reels: The Shaskeen/Lady Anne Montgomery/Maude Millar's  [ credits ]

These three reels were among the first I learned from Dan Cummins and Bev Buchannan. They are a husband and wife music team that leads a suprisingly vibrant Irish music scene in Lexington, Kentucky. I was fortunate enough to meet up with them in the mid 1990s when I was going to school there. The last two tunes are often played together at sessionsxI was delighted one night at the Banshee when Sean's father (box player John Connor) launched into them, and that led me to dust off what has become one of our favorite sets. This live recording was made at Club Passim in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

An Cailín Álainn  [ credits | lyrics | translation ]

Fuair mé an t-amhrán breá seo ó Mhicheál Mac Con Iomaire, a mhúin rang amhránaíochta ar an gCeathú Rua, i 1997, agus mise ag foghlaim Gaeilge ansin. Ar ndóigh, chuala mé go minic é ó Thómás Mac Eoin é féin, ins an gCistín! Céad mile beannacht air – d’iarradh sé amhrán orm i gcónaí nuair a bhíodh sé do m’fheiceáil sa mbear. Rinne mé vearsa nua anseo, mar cheap mé ariamh go raibh sé ró-ghéar ar fad.  Tá súil agam go mbainfidh an cumadóir é féin sult as, agus nach gceapfaidh sé gur an-dána mise dhá dhéanadh.

I learned this fine song from Micheál Mac Con Iomaire, who taught a singing class in Carraroe in 1997, when I was there studying Irish. Of course, I also heard it many times from Tomás Mac Eoin himself, at An Chistín. God bless him, he would always ask me to sing when he saw me in the bar. I have written a new verse (the third) for this recording, which I hope the author will approve of and enjoy.

The Lily of Tyrone  [ credits | lyrics ]

I have loved "The Salley Gardens" since I first heard the song in the mid 1980s, on one of the early Clannad albums. I have been singing it for over twenty years, but I have always wanted to hear the rest of the story! Here is my attempt to tell it. I have added traditional verses from "You Rambling Boys of Pleasure" (the song W.B. Yeats half-remembered when he wrote the poem) and written two new verses to tie it all together.

Air: Bríd Óg Ní Mhaille  [ credits ]

I don't remember where I first heard this wonderful air—it was probably either from Silly Wizard's version (sung in English) on So Many Partings or from Mairéad Ní Mhaoinaigh's singing on Altan's Island Angel. Whichever it was, it was one of the first songs I ever learned to sing in Irish. I sang it at my first Fleadh in the early '90s and started playing it as an air around the same time. The version that I play on the flute has divirged a bit over the years from the song.

Deoraí Thír an Fhia/The Silver Spear  [ credits | lyrics | translation ]

'Céad Slan do Leitir Mealláin, Cúigéal is Corra Bhuí' — focail scríofa ag Tom a' tSeoighe faoina bhaile féin i gCeantar na nOileán, agus nach mbíonn siad cloiste go minic ag muintir Chonamara?  Cloistear i gceantar Bhostúin anois freisin, mar is breá liom 'Ceol Tire Chonamara' ón am a chuala mé ar dtús é, agus mé i mo dhálta Gaeilge ar an gCeathrú Rua.  Bím dhá bhliain anois ag seinm dhá sheisiún sa tseachtain le Seán Connor (Seán Nuala Mháirtín) agus is minic go mbíonn muintir Chonamara nó Gaeilgeoirí eile sa teach.  Nach mór an t-athas a bhíonns orm nuair a éirím mo chloigeann le féachaint ar na daoine ag jiveáil!

"A hundred times farewell to Leitir Mealláin, Cúigéal and Corra Bhuí"the words of Tom a' tSeoighe, about his home on Lettermullan island, and aren't they often heard around Conamara?  They are often heard in Boston now as well!  I have loved "Conamara Country Music" since I first heard it when I was studying in Carraroe.  For the last two years I have played two sessions a week with Sean Connor, and there are often Conamara people or other Irish speakers in the place.  How great is my joy when I raise my head to look out at the people jiving!

Reels: Dinny O'Brien's/Farewell to Connaught  [ credits ]

I learned these reels from Dan Cummins and Bev Buchanan, who learned them from Billy McComiskey. The first tune was composed by Paddy O'Brien, the Co. Tipperary B/C box pioneer, who named it in honor of his father.  Sean Connor's savage fiddling leads off the set, and I join him on the flute for the second tune.

Fill a Rúin  [ credits | lyrics | translation ]

Fuair mé an t-amhrán breá seo ó amhránaíocht Mheaití Jó Shéamuis, óna album iontach, Bóithríní an Locháin. Is breá liom dhá chasadh ar an sean-nós, ach tá veirsean nua válsach déanta agam anseo leis an ngiotar. Rinne mé cupla botún leis an nGaeilge, mar taifeadadh beo atá ann, agus b'fhéidir go raibh mé beagán neirbhiseach — ach is maith liom an taifeadadh ar aon chaoi. Ach má táthar ag iarraidh an t-amhrán seo a fhoghlaim, faigh album Mheaití Jó — dheamhan duine níos fearr!

I learned this fine song from the singing of Meaití Jó Shéamuis Ó Fátharta on his wondeful album, Bóithríní an Locháin. I have arranged it waltz-style with the guitar.

Amhrán Shandyston Mheiriceá  [ credits | lyrics | translation ]

Seo dhaoibh amhrán a rinne mé féin, faoi mo bhaile dúchais in iarthuaisceart New Jersey.  Fuair mé an dara céim leis, sa gcomórtas Amhrán Nua Cheaptha ag Fleadh Ceoil na hÉireann i 2007.

I wrote this song about my home town in northwest New Jersey.  I won second place with it in the Newly Composed Song category at Fleadh Ceoil na hÉireann in 2007.

Jigs: An tAthair Jack Walsh/The Shaskeen/Brendan Tonra's  [ credits ]

This jig set is a favorite at our sessions. I first heard Tatter Jack Walsh on Liam O'Flynn's album Out To An Other Side, where it is set to the words of Swift's "The Dean's Pamphlet" with Liam's magnificent piping on the tune afterwards. I learned the Shaskeen years ago from Dan Cummins and later discovered that Michael Rafferty played it with Brendan Tonra's. Sean and I are backed on this set by Emerald Rae on the baritone ukelele. When she is not rocking out with us on the "ladies guitar" (as it was once called by a Boston bar-goer) she is an absolutely savage fiddle player. Those who were to check out her band, Annalivia, would surely not be disappointed.

You Can't Leave Netcong after Seven  [ credits | lyrics ]

I wrote this song for everyone who rides the Morris and Essex line in North Jersey. The last four stops on the line are pulled by deisel engines on a single track, since the electrified line ends at Dover. This means that train service is slow and infrequent in Netcong, where my friend Kurt Conquy was living in the middle of the last decade. Since that last train back to civilization left at seven, we had to decide early whether to make the train or whether someone would remain sober enough to drive to Dover. I have attempted to convey a bit about the character (and characters) of some of the towns along the way: Hoboken (the city that never sleeps but passes out regularly); Newark, where a magnificent cathedral stands amidst the ruins of a great city; Madison, the university town; the leafy Irish-American enclave of Maplewood; and Morristown, where George Washington and his continentals spent two grueling winters.

As I Roved Out/Castle Kelly  [ credits | lyrics ]

I found this version of this ubiquitous folk song in the great Alan Lomax collection, The Folk Songs of North America. It was collected in Nova Scotia. I have paired it here with Castle Kelly, a reel I learned from Carl Hylin.

Reels: The Swallow's Nest/Maguire's  [ credits ]

The Swallow's Nest is a Paddy O'Brien tune that I first learned from a manuscript copy that belonged to the uncle of a whistle student of mine, Ryan Dugan. I learned Maguire's from Dan Cummins and Bev Buchanan.

Their Sons Know Only Beer  [ credits | lyrics ]

This song tells the story of the demise of traditional cider making in my home county. I wrote it not long after the death of the Ayers boys, who were the last in a tradition that stretched back to colonial days. Go ndéanaí Dia trócaire ar a n-anamacha.

Ciara na Gruaige Rua  [ credits | lyrics | translation | free download ]

Nuair a léigh mé an dán seo álainn ar an mblog Hilary NY, tháinig an fonn go díreach isteach im mheabhair.  Fonn traidisiúnta atá ann, a chuala mé ó amhránaíocht Áine Uí Cheallaigh, lena focail Bhéarla, "Peace in Éireann."  Fuair Ciara Durkin bás in Afghanistan, agus í ina saighdiúir in Arm na Stáit Aontaithe.  Is féidir síntiús a thabhairt ar mhaithe le The Ciara Durkin Cancer Resource Center, 2nd Floor, Quincy Medical Centre, Whitwell St., Quincy. MA 02169, nó is féidir cuimhní clainne agus cairde a léamh ag www.ciaraweerabrat.com, suíomh a d’eascair as domhainghrá a muintire do Ciara na Gruaige Rua.

When I first read this beautiful poem on the blog Hilary NY, the air for it came to me immeadiately.  It is a traditional air that I first heard from the singing of Áine Uí Cheallaigh, with the English words "Peace in Eireann."  Ciara Durkin died in Afghanistan while serving in the US Army.  Donations, in Ciara’s memory, may be made to The Ciara Durkin Cancer Resource Center, 2nd Floor, Quincy Medical Centre, Whitwell St., Quincy. MA 02169, or she can be remembered by visiting the website her family created from their deep love for Ciara, www.ciaraweerabrat.com.

Credits

Farewell to Nova Scotia (Traditional, arr. Liam Hart)
Liam Hart (vocals, guitar, flute, whistle); Sean Connor (fiddle); Melissa Foley (vocal)

Reels: The Shaskeen/Lady Anne Montgomery/Maude Millar's (Traditional)
Liam Hart (flute); Sean Connor (fiddle)

An Cailín Álainn (Tomás Mac Eoin, except v.3, Liam Hart)
Liam Hart (vocals, guitar, flute, whistle); Melissa Foley (vocal)

The Lily of Tyrone
(Music: Traditional; Lyrics: Traditional, except v. 2 and 6, W. B. Yeats and v. 3 and 7, Liam Hart)
Liam Hart (vocals, guitar, mandolin, whistles)

Air: Bríd Óg Ní Mhaille (Traditional, arr. Liam Hart)
Liam Hart (flute)

Deoraí Thír an Fhia/The Silver Spear (Song: Tom a' tSeoige; Reel: Traditional)
Liam Hart (vocal, guitar); Sean Connor (fiddle); Martin Butler (bodhrán)

Reels: Dinny O'Brien's/Farewell to Connaught (Paddy O'Brien/Traditional)
Sean Connor (fiddle); Liam Hart (flute, guitar)

Fill a Rúin (Traditional, arr. Liam Hart)
Liam Hart (vocal, guitar); Sean Connor (fiddle)

Amhrán Shandyston Mheiriceá (Music: Traditional; Lyrics: Liam Hart)
Liam Hart (vocal, guitar, mandolin); Martin Butler (bodhrán)

Jigs: An tAthair Jack Walsh/The Shaskeen/Brendan Tonra's
(Traditional/Brendan Tonra/Brendan Tonra)
Liam Hart (flute); Sean Connor (fiddle); Emerald Rae (baritone ukelele)

You Can't Leave Netcong after Seven (Liam Hart)
Liam Hart (vocals, guitar); Sean Connor (fiddle)

As I Roved Out/Castle Kelly (Traditional, arr. Liam Hart)
Liam Hart (vocal, guitar, flute); Phil Harwood (Mandolin)

Reels: The Swallow's Nest/Maguire's (Paddy O'Brien/Traditional)
Liam Hart (guitar, flute, whistle); Martin Butler (bodhrán)

Their Sons Know Only Beer (Liam Hart)
Liam Hart (vocal, guitar); Sean Connor (fiddle)

Ciara na Gruaige Rua (Music: Traditional, arr. Liam Hart; Lyrics: Áine Durkin)
Liam Hart (vocal)

 

Lyrics

Farewell to Nova Scotia

The sun was setting in the west.
The birds were singing on every tree.
All nature seemed inclined for a rest,
But still there was no rest for me.

Chorus:

Farewell to Nova Scotia, the sea-bound coast.
Let your mountains dark and dreary be!
When I am far away on the briny ocean tossed,
Will you ever heave a sigh and a wish for me?

I grieve to leave my native land.
I grieve to leave my comrades all,
And my parents whom I held so dear,
And the bonny, bonny lass that I do adore.

Chorus

The drums do beat and the wars do alarm,
My captain calls, I must obey.
Farewell, farewell to Nova Scotia's charms,
It's early in the morining, I am far, far away.

Chorus

I have three brothers, and they are at rest.
Their arms are folded on their chest.
But a poor, simple sailor, just like me,
Must be tossed and driven on the deep dark sea.

Chorus 2X

An Cailín Álainn (Thomás Mac Eoin)

Tá cailín álainn a dtug mé grá dhi,
Sí is deise is áille ná bláth is ná rós.
Gan í ar láimh liom is cloíte atá mé.
Ó a chailín álainn is tú fáth mo bhróin.

Curfá:

A chailín álainn a dtug mé grá dhuit,
bí ar láimh liom mo mhíle stór.
Abair liomsa gur tú mo ghrá gheal,
's beidh orm áthas in áit an bhróin.

Nuair a éirím amach go huaigneach,
siúd é an uair is mó mo bhrón.
Bím ag smaoineamh ar an gcailín uasal,
Atá i bhfad uaimse, mo chreach is mo bhrón.

Curfá

Cá mbíonn tú ar maidin, a chailín álainn?
Cá mbíonn tú sa ló, is cá mbíonn tú san oíche?
Gan tusa liomsa, táim brúite briste,
's tá leaca gual dubh in áit mo chroí.

Curfá

Dá dtiocfá liomsa, a chailín álainn,
arís go brách ní bheadh orm brón.
Sheinnfinn ceol dhuit mar cheol na cláirsí,
Nó ceol binn smóilín is an drúcht gheal cheo.

The Beautiful Girl (translated by Liam Hart)

I fell in love with a beautiful girl,
Who is as pretty as any blossom or rose.
Without her on my arm I am devastated.
O beautiful girl, you are the cause of my sorrow.

Chorus:

O beautiful girl that I love,
Be on my arm, my great treasure.
And tell me that you are my bright love.
And I will have joy in place of sorrow.

When I rise and go out alone,
That is the hour that I am the saddest.
I am always thinking of the noble girl
Who is far from me, to my great sorrow.

Chorus

Where do you spend the morning, beautiful girl?
Where do you spend the day and the night?
Without you I am briused and broken,
And a black lump of coal is where my heart should be.

Chorus

If you would come with me, beautiful girl,
I would never be sad again.
I would play music for you, like the music of harps,
Or the sweet music of the thrush in the bright foggy dew.

The Lily of Tyrone 

You rambling boys of pleasure, give ear to these lines I write.
For I own I am a rover—in rambling I take delight.
I set my mind on a handsome girl who oft times did me slight,
And my mind was never easy 'til my treasure was in my sight.

It was in her father’s garden my love and I did meet.
She passed those flowery gardens on little snow-white feet.
She bid me take love easy, as the leaves grow on the tree.
But I was young and foolish—with her I would not agree.

It’s well I knew her father; long had I worked his land.
But he cursed me and he raged at me when I asked him for his daughter’s hand
I bade her leave her father’s house and come away with me
All across the roiling ocean to the land of liberty.

The next time that I met my love, I thought her heart was mine.
But as the weather changes, my love, she changed her mind.
Cursed gold is the root of evil, though it bear a glittering hue,
Causes many the lad and lass to part, even though their hearts were true.

How I wish I was home in Dungannon; my true love along with me,
With money to support us and keep us in good company.
With wine and liquor plentiful, flowing bowls on every side,
May fortune never daunt you, my love, we are young and the world is wide.

In a field by the river, my love and I did stand.
And on my leaning shoulder, she placed her snow-white hand.
She bid me take life easy, as the grass grows on the weirs.
But I was young and foolish, and now am full of tears.

And here I sit in Boston town, upon your Common’s grass,
And my heart turns ever homeward, to the green days that are passsed.
But for all New England’s roses, none is fairer than my own!
I am speaking of my Nancy, the lily of Tyrone.

Deoraí Thír an Fhia  (Tom a' tSeoige)

Nuair a d'fhága mise an baile nár bhrónach é mo chroí,
Ó b'shin é lár an Earraigh is daoine baint an fheamainn bhuí,
Nár smaoinigh mé ar an mbaile, ar tuile 's ar trá
Is mise i bhfad ó bhaile is ón gcaladh a mbíodh mo bhád.

Tá na fiche bliain sin caite is mé smaoineadh ar an am,
Mé glanadh soir thar Daingean tabhairt m'aghaidh ar an mbád bán,
Nár smaoinigh mé ar mo dheaide bocht a d'fhága mé i dTír an Fhia,
Is gur minic mé féin a cheapadh gur mé a ghiorraigh lena shaol.

Curfá:

Céad slán go Leitir Mealláin, Cúigéal 's Corra Bhuí,
Céad slán go Pholl Uí Mhuirinn mar is ann a bhíodh an spraoi,
Bhí sú an ghrán eorna go fairsing ann is nár mhilis é mar bhraon,
Is mo ghrá thú a Phádraig Bradley mar ba flaithiúil thú dhá roinnt.

Bhí mé ag smaoineadh ar na bádóirí ag teacht go Glais na nUan,
Is iad ag fanacht leis an tuile nó go dtóigidís an mhóin,
Iad ag seoladh amach ar maidin in aghaidh stoirm is taoille trá,
Ag tabhairt a n-aghaidh ar chéibh Cill Ronáin nó soir go Contae an Chláir.

Ach sna flaithis go raibh na n-anam sin an taobh eile de na naoimh,
Mar ba sclábhíocht leis an bhfliuchán a chaith siad seal den tsaol,
Nár chuala muid sa seanchas nuair a bhíodh na daoine cruinn,
Gur mhaith na fir ar farraige a bhí i mbádóirí Thír an Fhia.

Curfá

Bhí mé ag smaoineamh ar an teachín siúd a chaith mé seal den tsaol,
Nach bhfacthas aon phúir deataigh as ó chuaigh mo Mhaime i gcill,
Tá caonach ar na fuinneoga, 's an bháisteach tríd an díon,
Is mise i Londain Shasana ar an tramp i mBoldergreen.

Mo dhiomú ar na pubanna, ar na clubanna 's ar na mná,
Is iad a d'fhág mo phócaí falamh is chuir liathachan i mo cheann,
Ó Chamden Town go Hammersmith thart timpeall Edgeware Road,
Is iad a d'fhág cois na mballaí mé gan barriall i mo bhróg.

Curfá

The Tír an Fhia Exile (translated by Liam Hart)

Wasn't my heart sad when I left home.
It was the middle of the Spring, and the people were cutting the
fheamainn bhuí*.
I didn't think about home, tide, or strand.
I am far from home, and far from the pier where my boat used to be.

Twenty years are passed now, and I am thinking of the time
When I was sailing past Daingean to turn my face to the emmigration boat.
I didn't think about my poor dad whom I left in Tír an Fhia.
I often think that it was me who cut his life short.

Chorus:

A hundred times farewell to Leitir Mealláin, Cúigéal and Corra Bhuí.
A hundred times farewell to Poll Uí Mhuirinn, because that's where the fun was.
The juice of the barley was plentiful there, and wasn't it sweet to taste?
How I love you, Pádraig Bradley, because you were generous sharing it out.

I was thinking on the boatmen coming to Glais na nUan,
Waiting for the tide, so they could bring the turf,
Sailing out in the morning, against storm and tide,
Turning their faces to Cill Rónán quay, or east to County Clare.

But their souls are in heaven now, on the other side of the saints
Because they spent their lives slaving in the damp.
When the people gathered to listen to the old stories, didn't we hear
How the boatmen of Tír an Fhia were good men on the ocean.

Chorus

I was thinking of that little house where I spent my childhood.
Not a puff of smoke to be seen from it, since my mum went to her grave.
There's moss on the windows; the rain comes through the roof.
And I am in London, England
a tramp in Boldergreen.

My curse on pubs and clubs and women.
They emptied my pockets and turned my head grey,
From Camden Town to Hammersmith and all around Edgeware Road,
They have left me sitting by the walls, with no soles on my shoes.

Chorus

* A type of seaweed used as fertilizer.

Fill a Rúin 

Ó bhí mé tigh an mhinistéara aréir.
Bhí ithe agus ól ag an duine sin.
Bhí triúr cailíní óga ann,
's nach trua gan mé pósta le duine acub.

Curfá:

Agus fill, fill a rún, ó,
Fill a rún, ó, is ná himigh uaim!
Fill ar do Dhearthairín ó,
agus gheobhaidh tú an ghlóir má fhilleann tú.

Ó chonaic mé 'níon an mhinistéara aréir,
hata agus clóca dubh uirthi,
armcoat dtína dá ghlúin,
's nár gheall leis an púca chugat í.

Curfá

B'fhearr liomsa a bheith amuigh ar an trá,
mo mhaide i mo lámh agus pluid orm,
Ná a bheith thuas ar fhuinneogaí arda
ag éisteacht le dáintearacht mhinistéara

Curfá:

Agus fill, fill a rún, ó,
Fill a rún, ó, is ná himigh uaim!
Fill ar do mhathairín ó,
agus gheobhaidh tú an ghlóir má fhilleann tú.


Shiúil mé abhus agus thall,
i Móta Ghráinneoga 'sea rugadh mé,
ach ní fhacas aon iontas le fáil
mar an Sagairt Ó Domhnaill ina mhinistéar.

Curfá

Tá mallacht na sagairt is na mbráithre
leat i do mhála ag imeacht dhuit,
ach is measa dhuit mallacht do mháthar
nach bhfaca tú ariamh den cineáil sin.

Curfá

Mo mhallacht go deo ar na mná—
's iad a bhain uaimse mo shagairtín.
Léigh sé an t-aifreann Dé Domhnaigh
agus bhí sé Dé Luain ina mhinistéar.

Curfá:

Agus fill, fill a rún, ó,
Fill a rún, ó, is ná himigh uaim!
Fill ar do phobal faoi dhó,
mar tá Banríon na Glóire ag feitheamh leat.

Come Back, my Dear (translated by Liam Hart)

I was at the minister's house last night,
And that fella had food and drink!
Three young girls were there.
Isn't it a pity that I am not married to one of them?

Chorus:

And come back, dear, come back.
Come back, dear, and don't go away from me.
Come back to your little brother.
Yours the glory, if you come back!

I saw the minister's daughter last night,
and she was wearing a hat and a cloak
With an armcoat down to her knees.
Wasn't she like a
púca?

Chorus

I would rather be out on the strand
With my stick in my hand and a blanket around me
Than to be up there in the high windows
Listening to the chanting of a minister.

Chorus:

And come back, dear, come back.
Come back, dear, and don't go away from me.
Come back to your dear mother.
Yours the glory, if you come back!

I have walked all around.
I was born in Móta Ghráinneoga,
But there was never a wonder to be found
Like Fr. O'Donnell as a minister.

Chorus

You have a bag to go away with,
Full of the curses of priests and brothers.
But worse for you is the curse of your mother
Who never saw you as one of that kind.

Chorus

My curse forever on women,
For they stole away my dear little priest.
He said mass on Sunday
And was a minister on Monday.

Chorus:

And come back, dear, come back.
Come back, dear, and don't go away from me.
Come back to your congregation again,
Because the Queen of Glory is waiting for you.

Amhrán Shandyston Mheiriceá  (Liam Hart)

Táim ag smaoineadh ar mo bhaile féin, mo chreach nach bhfuil mé ann,
nó ar na sléibhte ina thimpeall i measc na ndarach ag fás.
Ins an ngleann ar chúl an locha, tá m’athair fós le fáil,
’s mé tuirseach tinn leis an eolas seo – nach mbeidh mise ina áit.

D’fhágainn an teach go moch ar maidin, agus mé i mo stócach óg,
le mo ghunna ar mo ghualainn ‘am, shiúlainn an choill mhór
ar lorg fhia an eireabaill bháin, sa bhfuacht is faoi cheo,
ach dhá fhaide an saol a dtugtar dhom, ní fhillfidh mé go deo.

Nár dheas a bheith amuigh ar an loch, le m’athair ins an mbád—
ceol na n-éan le cloisteáil, is suaimhneas binn le fáil.
Gíoscán na maidí rámha ar maidin chiúin sa ngleann,
’s mo mháthairín sa teach ag fanacht linn, le béile maith ar chlár.

Nár bhreá é an teach beag sin san oíche, ‘s nach raibh sé lán de cheol
nuair a tháinig cairde is comharsanna, a bheith ag seinm le mo mhaimeó.
D’éirigh an ceol óna n-uirlisí mar a éiríonns ón loch an cheo,
’s dhá mbeinn i measc mo dhaoine féin, ní bheadh aríst orm brón.

B’fhéidir go mbíodh an geimhreadh fuar is gur chrua é an saol.
Nár muide a ghearradh an t-adhmad, leis an teas a chuir chun tí.
Ba as an loch agus as an gcoill thagadh cuid is mó dár mbia,
Ach b’fhearr liom a bheith i mo chónaí ann nó in áit ar bith faoi Dhia.

Anois tá tithe móra nua dhá dtóigeáil ar gach taobh,
is iomaí daoine saibhre ag teacht óna cathaireacha aníos.
Tá ‘chuile chrann na n-úll ar lár, ‘s gach feilm ag dul faoi,
’s mo mhuintir bhocht faoin talamh, nó scaipthe leis an ngaoth.

A mhuintir mhaith na sléibhte, nach dtigeann sibh mo chrá?
Nach n-airíonn sibh an drochghaoth seo, a bhíonns ag séideadh ‘chuile lá?
Nach muid i lár an tsamhraidh, gan rud ar bith faoi bhláth?
’s dhá bhreá an áit a bhí againn, níorbh fhéidir fanacht ann.

Song of Sandyston, America (translated by the author)

I am thinking about my own home, what a pity I am not there,
Or in the mountains around it, among the growing oaks,
My father is still to be found in the glen, at the back of the lake,
And I am sick and tired with this knowledge -- I will not be in his place.

I used to leave the house early in the morning, when I was a lad,
I walked the great woods with my gun on my shoulder,
Looking for the white-tailed deer, in the cold and the fog,
But however long I live, I shall never return.

Wasn't it nice to be on the lake, in the boat with my father
When birdsong could be heard, and sweet peace was all around
The creaking of the oars filled a quiet morning in the glen
And my dear mother was waiting for us in the house, with a good meal on the table.

Wasn't that a fine little house, full of music
When friends and neighbors would come to play with my Gran
The music rose from their instruments, as the fog rises from the lake
And if I were among my own people, I wouldn't be in sorrow again.

Maybe the winter was cold, and maybe life was hard.
Wasn't it us that cut the wood, to heat the house?
Most of our food came from the lake or the woods,
But I would rather be living there than anywhere else under God.

But now big new houses are going up on every side
And lots of rich people coming up from the cities
Every apple tree is laid low, ever farm is going under
And my own people are under the ground, or scattered to the four winds.

Good people of the mountains, don't you know my torment,
Don't you feel this ill wind that is blowing every day,
Isn't it the middle of summer, without anything blooming?
However fine a place we had, we couldn't stay.

You Can't Leave Netcong after Seven  (Liam Hart)

The train she leaves Hoboken town where the liquor stores deliver.
Or if you're broke, you can have a toke in the park beside the river.
That city of a thousand bars
and parking spots for fourteen cars.
Take my advise, get yourself a slice—
it's manna sent down from heaven.
But you can't leave Netcong after seven.

High above the rails in Newark town, there stands a great cathedral
Where priests and nuns are on their knees, preserving us from evil.
You can hear Creole or Cantonese—
watch soccer with the Portugese.
You can drink your jar at McGovern's Bar
sitting next to a cop named Kevin.
But you can't leave Netcong after seven.

Madison's the place of fame for to get an education,
and folks come there from miles around to improve their situation.
But while you've got your student card,
bechrist be sure to study hard.
You won’t find much use for your mind
when you’re managing a 7-11,
and you can’t leave Netcong after seven.

At the St. James Gate in Maplewood there is a mighty session,
and musicians gather Thursday night to engage in self-expression.
With Tony on the fiddle and Tom on the box,
be sure to hang on to your socks.
Will we have a song, a wee amhrán?
Says Frank, "Muise, go deimhin."
But you can’t leave Netcong after seven.

You can ride the rails to Morristown, where they fought the revolution.
You can have a pint at Hennessey's to refresh your constitiution.
You can have a picnic on the green
and, barring troubles unforseen,
sleaze and squeeze at Double D's
and be home by eleven.
But you can't leave Netcong after seven.

As I Roved Out 

As I roved ot one bright may morning,
To view the flowers and to take the air,
There I spied a tender mother,
Talking to her daghter dear.

Daughter, O Daughter, I'd have you to marry,
No longer to lead a single life.
Mother, O Mother, I'd rather tarry,
And be some brave young sailor's wife.

A sailor boy likes all for to wander,
He will prove your overflow.
Better by far to wed with a farmer,
To the sea he ne'er do go.

O Mother, I cannot wed with a farmer,
Though he deck me in diamonds bright.
I'll wait for my love with the terry, terry trousers;
He's my darling and my heart's delight.

Now polly's the wife of some jolly sailor,
See how neat and trim she goes!
See how neatly he maintains her,
Dressed in silk from top to toes.

She lays her head on her true lover's shoulder,
Tears from down her eyes do flow.
"Stay with me, my dearest Willie,
To the seas no more don't go."

As I roved out one bright may morning,
To view the flowers and to take the air
There I spied a tender mother
Talking to her daghter dear.

Their Sons Know Only Beer (Liam Hart)

Long before I'd tasted beer, winter nights when I was young,
A drop of cider, sweet and clear, slid clean across my tongue.
Just a jug of the local stuff, left in the morning by the door,
It could be strong bt was never rough, always left you wanting more.

Chorus:

My father said, "Come in and bring that jug beside the door.
Take a sip but take it slow, 'cause when it's gone there won't be more."
And all along the ridgelines, old eyes are filled with tears,
Their fathers all drank cider, but their sons know only beer.

Well I remember son, when the winter winds did blow,
We'd roll a couple of barrells out and leave the in the snow,
And we'd crack them barrells every day and throw the ice away,
And by the first of March that cider it was like the light of day.

Chorus

Back a hundred years ago, barrells aged in every barn.
What once was common as winter's snow disappeared, just like the farms
'Til in my childhood only two carried on their trade alone,
Now they've gone out to the field and I hear they won't be home.

Chorus

Ciara na Gruaige Rua (Ciara Durkin) 

Is brónach é an focal slán
Focal tiubh le mothúcháin
Ach tháinig míniú iomlán nua
Nuair a chaill muid Ciara na gruaige rua

Séasúr le séasúr fágann slán
Nádúr sa ngluaiseacht ó am go ham
Ach cail an nádúr sa gcogadh crua
A sciob uainn Ciara na gruaige rua

A corp ar leac i dtír gan suan
A béilín álainn socair ciúin
Slán ní bhfuair muid seans le lua
Nuair a d’imigh Ciara na gruaige rua

Níl radharc sna súile gorma geala
A chonaic áilleacht sa saol in iomlán a seala
Cineáltas ‘s cairdeas an rud ba dhual
Do Chiara álainn na gruaige rua

Níl preab níos mó ón gcroí mór fial
A thug grá ‘gus gáire isteach sa saol
Níl gile sa lá, tá an domhan gan bua
Ó bhásaigh Ciara na gruaige rua

Is brónach é an focal slán
Focal tiubh le mothúcháin
Ach tháinig míniú iomlán nua
Nuair a chaill muid Ciara na gruaige rua.

Red-Haired Ciara (translated by the author)

Such a sad word is goodbye
Emotions in it thickly lie
But none describe the feelings bared
By the loss of Ciara with the wild red hair

Seasons to seasons bid farewell
Time as natural as the ocean’s swell
But what is natural in a war unfair
That stole our Ciara with the wild red hair

Her body lying in a troubled place
Lips now still on a beautiful face
Goodbye we never got a chance to share
With our lovely Ciara of the wild red hair

Her eyes so kind, so clear, so blue
No longer see the beauty of the world she knew
Kindness and goodness in abundance to share
Were the gifts of Ciara with the wild red hair

The beat of her heart we no longer hear
Having filled our lives with laughter and cheer
A light ‘s gone out, the world is bare
Since we lost our Ciara with the wild red hair

Such a sad word is goodbye
Emotions in it thickly lie
But none describe the feeling bared
When we lost our Ciara with the wild red hair.

Bios

Liam Hart

Liam at Dún Eochla

Liam was born in Newton, New Jersey, and grew up in the shadow of the ridge that the Indians called Kittatinny.  He was blessed with a musical family, with folk songs from his mother, country and bluegrass from his father, and jazz standards from his grandmother.  He discovered Irish music at the age of twelve, when he came upon a Clancy Brothers record in his mother's collection.  It was there that he first heard the Irish language, and he began studying it in the late 1980s.  Around that time, as a young teenager, he taught himself the bodhrán and a few tunes on the whistle and he started to visit sessions in Manhattan, where he was introduced to Irish dance music by some of the best traditional musicians in the New York area.  He left home in 1993 to attend the University of Kentucky, where he studied classical singing and spent many hours at the listening library, immersing himself in field recordings from Ireland, Britain and Appalachia.  In 1996 and 1997, he competed at the CCE Midwest Fleadh, winning thirteen medals and qualifying for Fleadh Ceoil na hÉireann.  He traveled to Ireland in 1997 and competed at the Fleadh after spending a summer term at UCG's Carraroe campus studying Irish in an immersion enviornment.  While still in Kentucky, he met Dan Cummins and Bev Buchanan, and soon began playing with them regularly in a band called Liam's Fancy, named for the source of much of their music, the great Billy McComiskey.  Returning to New Jersey in 1999, Liam spent the next eight years teaching music and the Irish language at the Irish American Association of Northwest New Jersey, while teaching himself to play the flute.  At the same time, he pursued his lifelong interest in church music at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, NJ.  In 2007, Liam once again travelled to Ireland to compete at Fleadh Ceoil na hÉireann, taking second place in the in the Newly Composed Song in Irish competition with his "Amhrán Sandyston Mheiriceá."  That fall, Liam and his wife Kitty moved to New England, where his daughter Flora Jean was born the following year.  He quickly established himself as a mainstay of the Boston session scene, and for the past two years he has hosted at least two weekly sessions, usually with Co. Mayo Fiddler Sean Connor.  His first album, Far From Home, was released in 2010. 

Seán Connor

Seán is a native of Kilmaine, Co. Mayo. Born into a family with a rich tradition in music, he began playing fiddle at age eight. Seán won his first Fleadh at age fourteen in Stonehill, MA. Heavily influenced by both Sliabh Luachra and Sligo fiddle styles, he became very well known on European and American seisiún circuits. Expanding his instrument repertoire to include mandolin and banjo, Seán toured with a succession of bands in the U.S. and England, recording extensively. He has appeared on radio in England performing with famed country/bluegrass rockers "The Woodsmen." Seán also guested on McDermott's album, Goodbye to the Madhouse with Nick Burbridge.

Martin Butler

Martin grew up in Cloughjordan, Co. Tipperary, moving to the States in the early 1990's. He began playing with the Boston branch of Comhaltas and in many sessions with the Gannon Family and other notable musicians in the Boston area. He was an All-Ireland finalist in Bodhrán in 2002, winning the CCE Northeast Fleadh in New York. Martin performed in a series of concerts with famed Irish tenor Ronan Tynan of The Irish Tenors in 2004. His current project is a band called Cúnla Dear, with Amy Basse, David Bowman and Mike Kelleher.

Melissa Foley

Melissa is a Massachusetts native who exhibited an early interest in music, playing piano and guitar as well as singing in her church and school choirs. About 10 years ago, she started attending area sessions and singing along at every opportunity. What followed was a passion for learning the songs and stories of this rich tradition. Her current project is baby daughter Wren, who Melissa and her husband look forward to bringing to her first session soon.

Emerald Rae

Emerald is a U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Champion and a graduate of Berklee College of Music.

Phil Harwood

Phil plays bass in the band Ramming Speed, which Liam believes may play some sort of metal or another.  It is not Irish music, but it is probably savage altogether if you are into that sort of thing.

Special Thanks

I would like to extend my sincere thanks to everyone with whom I have had the privlege of making music over the last three decades.  I wish I could mention you all by name (even those of you whose names I never knew), but I owe special thanks to the following men and women.

My mother, Sherri Hopkins Hart, who sang to me and with me from my earliest childhood until the day she died.  We sang together in the car and in the kitchen, in smokey barrooms and in the church choir. 

My father, William Hart, who to use his own words "couldn't carry a tune in a bucket if it had four handles." Instead of singing, he played me records: Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Ernest Tubb, Hank Snow, Tex Ritter, Johnny Horton, Bill Monroe, Roy Acuff, and many more. 

My grandmother, Phyllis Hopkins, who taught me to read music.  I can still remember what it felt like to have friends and family gathered around Grandma at her old Lowery organ, my dad and my uncle Clinton on trumpets, some friend or another beating brushes on the table, and everyone else singing or dancing or both.  I have spent my musical life trying to recapture that feeling.

Joseph Mello, my first voice teacher, who introduced me to art song: German Lied, Neopolitan songs, French song, and most of all English song, Benjamin Brittain and Ralph Vaughan Williams.  Joe is a fine singer, a great teacher and a superb musician–he was the best mentor a young singer could ask for. 

Sally Buckmaster and Karl Sidnam, friends from my high school days who must have liked me an awful lot to agree to participate in my decidely un-cool musical enterprises. 

Greg Low, Tara Anderson, Carl Hylin and Cammi Payne, who made up my college band, Fianna Rua.  I learned a lot from all of them and had a great time doing it.

Máirín Nic Con Iomaire, fíorGhael de mhuintir Chonamara, a mhúin mo rang Gaeilge ar an gCeathrú Rua, i 1997. 

Mícheál Mac Con Iomaire, uncail Mháirín, a mhúin rang amhránaíochta an tsamhraidh sin.

Meaití Jo Shéamuis Ó Fátharta, Máirtín Tom Sheáinín Mac Donnacha agus lucht RnaG, a chuir blas Chonamara ar mo chuid caint.

Dan Cummins and Beverly Buchanan, who opened the door to jigs and reels.  Dan and Bev have a great store of music from the great Billy McComiskey, which they were gracious enough to share with me.  When I met them in the mid 1990s, I had been singing Irish music for almost a decade, but I had hardly scratched the surface of the dance music.  It was the hours that they spent playing with me, (and access to Bev's excellent transcriptions) that laid the foundation for all the flute and whistle playing heard on this album.

Marge Greenan, Iris Nevins, Rich Sutton and everyone from the Irish American Association of Northwest New Jersey, where I taught music and Irish from 2000-2007.

Larry Reynolds and the whole crowd from the Green Briar, who welcomed me to Boston and helped connect me with the local community. 

Sean Connor, who plays music with me at least twice a week, and without whose fiddle this album would be much, much poorer.

Emerald Rae, Phil Harwood, Melissa Foley and Martin Butler for graciously agreeing to play on the album.

Steven Friedman, my recording engineer.

Zabet, for last minute graphic design heroics.

Cisco, Sonny, and Leadbelly, for lending their hearts and hands.

And most of all my wife, Kitty Findlay, and all her family, for all their love and support.

CD Cover Image