Song Notes – In the Garrett

“They taste the pomegranate and the pear
Ah, the irises and yellow daisies
All cut up on the chipped red plate
the gypsies cry below on the stairs
In the garrett”

from In the Garrett, by Jamie O’Reilly

UPDATED Aug, 2023

artwork by Nia

In the Garrett
Modèle d’artiste
By Jamie
When reading about the enclave of artists in late 19c Paris Salon, we hear of the men, Matisse, Picasso, Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, less about the outstanding work of Berthe Morisot, and other women. I wrote this lyric as a postscript to the musical Michael Smith and I wrote Hello Dali, from the Subllime to the Surreal. And as a homage, setting the scene for the artist and the muse. Women were often painter, subject and lover. Michael wrote a great melody, and Peter Swenson arranged it for a recording for the Songpainting project. John Erickson and I gave it new life in our summer Roots Salon series.

Now, this fall In the Garrett can be heard on the new Legacy CD, live from WFMT’s recording. In memory of my Aunt Nell, a School of the Art Institute student, and a dancer in the opera in the early 1900s.

Version 2. Jamie sings In the Garrett from Legacy
Painting by Michael Smith

When Michael was in hospice last June, he offered Anne and I several paintings he’d done. Anne chose this oil for me. He was partially color blind, so distinction in hues was hard for him. (He always commented when I wore red.) You’d hardly know, seeing the range of colors he used in this abstract.

From Songpainting

In the Garrett
Lyrics by Jamie O’Reilly; Music by Michael Smith
Copyright J. O’Reilly Productions
Arrangement by Peter Swenson
Private recording by Peter Swenson
Jamie, vocals
Shawna Lake, oboe
Bob Weber, cello
Michael Smith and Peter, guitars
Al Ehrich, bass

In the Garrett. Version 1 with guitars, cello, bass and oboe.
Listen here.


She leaves her slippers at the door
And places irises and yellow daisies
In the stone vase on the stone floor
She undresses and she sits for hours
In the garrett
In the garrett

They taste the pomegranate and the pear
Ah the irises, the yellow daisies
All cut-up on the chipped red plate
The gypsies cry below on the stairs
In the garrett
In the garrett

She tips the wineglass to her lips
Ah the Irises, the yellow daisies
Her lips are red as the plate that’s chipped
He thinks she is a painting
In the garrett
In the garrett

In the evening when they lose the light
Ah the irises, the yellow daisies
She bathes in lavender before the light
The gypsies say “two sigh above”
In the garrett
In the garrett