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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
John Hardly Michigan Musically Revisited (2009) (28) RE: Michigan Musically Revisited (2009) 18 May 09


Though nobody was interested at the time, I transcribed this and posted it here a few years ago. Another terrific Michigan musician and songwriter is Kitty Donohoe's fiddler/mandolin/guitar/back-up vocals -- David Mosher. Both solo and with his trio "The Raisin Picker", David has produced some great music in that same folk/songwriter/swing tradition as Joel Mabus.

THE FIDDLER'S REPLY
Joel Mabus

It's a question that I've heard before
And all that I can say to that is -- no sir!
No sir!

I have played a tune in the dark on the porch of a prairie farm
Summer rain coming down so straight
You could set your chair right there on the edge of the porch
And keep bone dry.
Such straight regular rain, they say, is good for the crop.
Good for tunes too, I say,
Deep in the night, listening to the corn.

And I remember a tune one winter afternoon up north, fiddling after chores.
The sun staring in through a wet kitchen window
All ice outside, all steam inside.
My chair tips back; the wood stove snaps loudly,
Popping irregular time to the steppy tunes,
Flannel and coffee, biscuits and boots.

I've played tunes on a fine spring evening at the town hall dance
Where everybody shows,
Joking with the caller, shaking off winter,
Stretching limbs, swapping partners for neighbors.
Good healthy tempos break the first real sweat.
Long lines forward and back and -- Look! Outside!
The sun's still up on a fine green evening !

And then there is a tune I know that plays just like a cold November morning.
Sober. Inside, looking out.
A gray air that wants chords unresolved
Turning into the mist like so many leaves, riven and broken,
Returning from sky to earth after fall --The undeniable fall -- calls them home.

I have played tunes -- not songs.
Not voiceable, obvious word-infested songs -- but tunes,
Each tune a puzzle, each one a box with its own proud secret.
Each its own smile sweetly shown -- each tune is a lesson pondered.
Pattern -- at once familiar yet unique --Like snow crystals -- like footprints
Like the way the world is
right
now.

That's what a tune is, and, no sir.
No sir.
They don't all sound the same to me.


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