New Song – Tour Countdown

On May 12th 2016 the grammy award winning singer Susan McKeown invited me to perform at Cooper Union, NYC. It was part of an event marking the 100th anniversary of the death of James Connolly. I wrote this song from the perspective of his daughter Nora and his wife Lily. Thanks Susan for the song challenge and for organising CualaNYC festival.

I made this bench from some fallen trees. I made this song from stories from our history. I sang the song on the bench for some very loud insects and my very quiet wife with camera. Something large jumped out of the bush behind me at one point. Some friends have been asking me for this one for a while. I’ll record it properly soon, but for now here’s a little home video.

If you would like to sing this song too, please do. The words are below, I play it in the key of E. On guitar I have the capo on the 4th fret but the low e string is left open.  This is a fun trick to use while playing around with a C chord shape. I sometimes do a similar thing with capo on 2nd fret and a D chord shape.

May 12th 1916 – A Song for James Connolly

My father fought for justice, for our country to be free,

He was my father first and foremost, and I sat on his knee,

I remember his voice and the words he said to me,

Before my father he went down, down in history.

Said the mill owner to the factory girls, there’ll be singing here no more,

Well the factory girls in unison, they walked on out the door,

Do not tell us when to talk, do not tell us when to sing,

As long as we have voices, our voices will be king.

Nora don’t you cry, Nora Don’t you cry,

I have lived the fullest of lives.

My father he was wounded, Easter 1916,

Stretchered by a boy, of only 14,

“That boy he tried to take the bullets meant for me,

As long as we have boys like that, our country will be free”

At 1 am on May 12th the message it was sent,

The prisoner Connolly, his wife and eldest daughter does request,

Dublin under curfew such a strange and sorry sight,

Oh Lily you know, that this means goodbye,

but Lily don’t you cry, Lily don’t you cry,

I have lived the fullest of lives.

Said the nurse I am bound to search you but I don not think I can,

I see not prisoner but virtuous, proud family man,

There is little I can do now, I will do what I can.

They carried my wounded father tied him to his final chair,

Said Father Aloysius, for your killer say a prayer,

My father fought for justice, for the workers to be free,

He said I pray for all men who must do their duty,

Lily don’t you cry, Lily don’t you cry,

I have lived the fullest of lives.

Said my father to the factory girls, your cause is just and right,

It’s a battle we won’t win but a battle we must fight,

When you back hold your head high and sing your song out proud,

That it might echo 100 years from now,

Lily don’t you cry, Lily don’t you cry,

I have lived the fullest of lives.

Ireland Tour

I fly to Dublin on Monday afternoon and will be playing Bangor, Dundalk, Cork, Bantry, Galway, Myrtleville, Ballymore Eustace, Wexford and Dublin. Nine gigs in nine days. Come and find me. 


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