Sometimes to make positive change, we have to take big steps. But also, there is a lot of value in small things, the little but important ways we are kind to each other, the small changes that we make. And when we feel overwhelmed, we can try to focus back in on the small immediate things in our lives that give us joy and sustain us. This week we have music from Jeremiah McLane, Joanne Garton, Tristan Henderson, and Brendan Taaffe. Julie Vallimont reads a poem by John Keats, and Sam Sanders reads a poem by Emily Dickinson, accompanied by Aaron Marcus. As always, anyone is welcome to submit music and poetry. You can reach out to us at starsintherafters.com.
1. Honey in the Woodpile / The Grinding Stone – Jeremiah McLane (Sharon, VT). These two compositions by Jeremiah are from his album The Grinding Stone and feature him on piano and accordion, Owen Marshall on bouzouki and guitar, and Corey DiMario on bass. “The title of the CD, The Grinding Stone, refers to a dream I had: inside a stone hut at that top of mountain, a man was hard at work chiseling free a huge stone grindstone, in the shape of a wheel, that looked as if it had been stuck for a very long time.” www.jeremiahmclane.com
2. An excerpt from Endymion, by John Keats, read by Julie Vallimont (Brattleboro, VT). The music was composed by Anna Patton and Owen Morrison, and is performed by Owen.
3. No. 10 Pond / Sally in our Alley – Joanne Garton (Montpelier, VT). From Joanne Garton’s 2019 album The Bee’s Knees, featuring Joanne on fiddle with Aaron Marcus on piano. Joanne says, ”No. 10 Pond in Calais, Vermont is a place of celebration, solace, memories, and future. I wrote Michael’s Delight for my husband on our wedding day at No. 10. Aaron taught me Sally in our Alley, an English tune from the 1600s, that we have also performed on the shores of this beautiful spot.”
4. What a Wonderful World – John Coté (Farmingdale, ME). John created a guitar arrangement of this classic song, written by by Bob Thiele and George David Weiss. He says, “I think this version conveys nicely the challenge of seeing the world through a rosy lens, given the constant chaos and challenges we face while finding determination to feel gratitude.”
5. Mélanie au Salvador – Tristan Henderson (Burlington, VT). Tristan recently recorded this composition of his on solo guitar in his studio at home. He says, ”Mélanie au Salvador is for my wife’s cousin who recently passed away, inspired by a beautiful photo of her in Salvador. Now she’s on to another journey… “ www.petesposse.com
6. To make a prairie, by Emily Dickinson, read by Sam Sanders with music by Aaron Marcus (Montpelier, VT). Aaron says, ”This poem to me is about the great amplifying power of small acts and of gratitude. I wrote the untitled music specifically for the poem.“
7. Small Wonder – Brendan Taaffe (Brattleboro, VT). Brendan says, ”Small Wonder was written in 2008 for my then-partner, Sarah, who is both small and, in my estimation, a wonder. It is recorded on Little Boots, an album of music I recorded for my nephew when he was born. His nickname in utero was Caligula, which translates to “little boots”. I come from a nerdy family.” www.brendantaaffe.com
The opening music is “The Pearl in Sorrow’s Hand” by Julie Vallimont, from her album Dark Sky, Bright Stars. Produced by Julie Vallimont. Mixed and mastered by Dana Billings. All content courtesy of the artists, all rights reserved.