MICHAEL P. SMITH ~ November blog & concerts


Michael Smith, poster“At five o’clock the streets are dark
Across the empty bandstand in the park
And then I miss you most
Miss you with the ache of long-lost things
Of sunburnt arms and garden swings…
November Twilight, must you stay”

(I loved that lyric when I was fifteen, still do.
Julie London sang it on her album “Calendar Girl”.)

In November a lovely drive to Harbor Springs, Michigan, to do some kibitzing at Lamb’s Retreat, where I SongRetreat14_Bliss1-2 4cAdhave often been, me and John Lamb careening ’round midnight down leaf-strewn roads, taking potshots at mailboxes (just wanted to see if you were paying attention).  A beautiful countryside at this time of year. What they do at Lamb’s Retreat is focus on songwriting for four days, interspersed with some eating, drinking, walking and conversation. I love Lamb’s and it is always a challenge, and I always come away with a little voice in my head saying time’s a-wastin’, you need to work harder. I think the voice belongs to the Granny character on Beverly Hillbillies, or else Marjorie Main. But my favorite voice of all time is Julie London. Once I listened to Julie London I totally forgot about having to be Catholic.  

Speaking of songs…I’m very happy to say that Anne Hills has recorded one of my songs, “The Ballad Of Dan Moody (Roving Cowboy)”, for her new “Tracks” recording of songs concerning trains. This tune has been done well by various folks but I have to say Anne gives it a reading that makes it really seem like it was written circa 1924. Close as this songwriter hazards he will ever get to the Carter Family. Anne certainly can summon a plain and down home style that works very well with that song, and it is lovely to hear the voice that sang “Johnson” and sings “Pinto Pony” get into “Dan Moody”. I feel with this tune like I’ve done something that partakes a little of a Tom Paxton mood. Tom, as you may know well, can write songs that don’t sound like they’ve ever been formally “written”, but were always kinda just there. 

The gentleman playing guitar on Anne’s recording takes care of business, too. I’m still trying to figure out how he does what he does and am nervous to ask him to write it down. But now I have the recording until my computer conks out.  Anne’s talent and accomplishment, industry and positivity are legend and I am fortunate that she is willing to sing my songs. Especially “Dan Moody”. For you aspiring songwriters, a professional clue: I have accomplished all this with blackmail. Heh Heh Heh.

I travel to the Linden Tree in Mass., and then am with Anne Hills to Houston and points south in November; doing some gigs together. Houston is a lovely venue: Selia Quinn’s Sanctuary.
(Sanctuary Mulch! You’re welcome!

Meanwhile in Chicago I did a show about Death with Jamie O’Reilly. As pretty much all my songs have Death as a big feature, this was an easy, too damn easy, gig to furnish with tunes. I’ll never forget some British reviewer who opined about my first recording, “This is not a guy you want to invite to your party…” I think it was “Demon Lover” that scared him. I hope it scared him. And he’d better still be scared, if he knows what’s good for him.

 Also doing some things with Blair Thomas, (yes, the Blair Thomas, super puppet guy, google him) and we were in Storrs, Conn. soon, and in Detroit, too, doing Oscar Wilde’s “Selfish Giant” (my songs). I used to live in Detroit and I love the people there. Well, some of them. Well, actually this one person, and to quote a line Jim Post exuberantly extemporized years ago in my song “One Blessed Hour”: “YOU know who YOU are!”And now, as they say in Detroit when things have gotten really emotional: OK, bye.

PS: I have a new song about Joaquin Murietta, famed, prolly apochryphal Old California bandit guy. Song might turn out to be decent. Fun to sing and play, which is a good sign.  We’ll see. (I stole the chord progression from Dave Rudolf.  Should I tell him?)

Really now: OK bye.


Sat Nov 1 at 8 PM
Unitarian Universalist Church
326 Main Street
Wakefield, MA 01880

Sun Nov 2 at 4:30 PM
House Concert Hosted by Tom Kennedy
18 Pleasant St.
Winooski, VT
PH: 802-735-5359; E:  etomkennedy@gmail.com


November 6,7, 8, 9
The 20th annual Lamb’s Retreat for Songwriters
Public Concert on Sat
Birchwood Inn
7077 S. Lakeshore Drive
Harbor Springs, MI, 49740
Directed by John D. Lamb
PH: Springfed: 248.589.3913  E:  johndlamb@ameritech.net

Sat November 15 at 7:30 PM
Tomorrow River Concerts
Lettie Jensen Community Center
Amherst, WI
PH: 715-824-5202 Visit:  jensencenter.org/concerts.html

November tour with Anne Hills

Tues Nov 18 at 6:30 PM
The Hayner Public Library District
401 State St., Alton, IL  62002
PH: 618-433-2857

Thurs, Nov 20 at 7 PM
Pickin’ Post presents
Anne Hills and Michael Smith
Fayetteville Underground Artist Collective
Main Gallery
101 W. Mountain, Suite 222
Fayetteville, AR 72701
Call 479-409-1224 (Mike Shirkey hosts)

Fri Nov 21 at 8 PM
Uncle Calvin’s Coffeehouse
Northpark Presbyterian Church
9555 N. Central Exp
Dallas,  TX
PH:   214-363-0044

Sat Nov 22 at 7 PM
Habitat House Concerts
10037 Hazelhurst
Houston, TX  77080
Hosted by Selia Quinn
PH  281- 772-7100 ; E:  selia@selia.com

Sun Nov 23 at 3 PM
Ar Haven House Concerts
Austin, TX

December dates

Michael wrote 7 new songs for this special event at the Poetry Fdn.
Tuesday, Dec 2, 7:00PM
Poetry Foundation
61 West Superior Street Chicago
Join Steppenwolf ensemble members Tim Hopper and Martha Lavey and Steppenwolf friends Jessica Thebus and Michael Smith in celebrating Brecht’s love poems, which are by turns tender and frank, lyrical and bawdy.http://www.poetryfoundation.org/programs/event/3641

Saturday, Dec 6 at 7 PM
The Gift of the Magi Holiday Concert
Music by Michael Smith
Story by O. Henry
St. John’s Episcopal Church
3857 N Kostner Chicago, Il
$20 admission / $25 at the door
Reserve: roots@jamieoreilly.com

NY State with Anne Hills
Sat Dec 13 at 7 PM
Whallonsburg Grange Hall
Rt 22 and Whallons Bay
Whallonsburg, NY
Venue phone: 518-963-4170

Dec 14 at 7:30 PM
Schenectady, NY
Address: 432 State Street
Venue phone: (518) 346-6204


Dec 21,

Dec 27 in Florida
locales tba

Dec 31, First Night Evanston
First Methodist Church of Evanston



Selfish Giant Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival
with Blair Thomas & Co. January 23-25
Ruth Page Center for the Arts
1016 N Dearborn Ave, Chicago
And for Chicago Children’s Theater through Mar 1.


Stay up to date on FACEBOOK and his site  michaelpetersmith.com
For bookings contact Jamie O’Reilly: mps_booking@jamieoreilly.com