I'll be your violin 

Album: Small Things Shining Bright

Song: If You'll Be My Gypsy

This is the first in a series of commentaries and stories surrounding the songs I recorded over two albums and through the last eight years.

Recording an album of songs is intense work, requiring collaboration, skill, generosity of spirit, humility, and patience. Lots and lots of patience. Many thanks to Don Bray for the initial push to get this thing going, and to Bruce Rumble, Alyssa Wright, Anna Atkinson, and Ray Dillard for the musical and mixing skills, and the encouragement. And those who took part in the funding drive for the seed money.

Great big bear hugs to you all.

The following will be from my first album ‘Small Things Shining Bright”

So. If you’ll be my Gypsy.

Queen Anne’s Lace in the fall is a lovely sight. Looking at the cluster of florets in the afternoon sun sets my heart aglow. It reminds me of a dear friend, my muse, my witch, my tarot card reader.

And so I gave into the inspiration of a road trip:

If you’ll be my gypsy, I’ll be your violin/ we’ll ride around the country, see what trouble we’ll get in”

I make no apologies for the fact that when I wrote this song almost a dozen years ago the word “Gypsy” and its connotations as an ethnic slur had not yet hit me.

It has now. Without going into its use as an insult and a Western ethnic designation of a marginalized and ostracized group of humans, I am looking for a suitable equivalent – a Romani term of endearment, perhaps. The search continues.

Back to the story. I’m walking on a path passing by a field of Queen Anne’s Lace, and thinking of my friend Caroline. A visit to my sister, who was living in Montreal at the time. The road trip there as we took the train along the shoreline of Lake Ontario.

We were dreamers with a bucketful of hopes.

We still are.

So when Don and I planned to make the recording, I knew I needed a violin. So I wrote the part out and hired an extraordinary musician, Anna Atkinson, to play.

I had been playing with the opening guitar riff for some time and was wondering what kind of song would fit into it. The lyrics of the road trip were ideal. My sister was in Montreal pursuing (and eventually getting) her Ph.D. Of course, we had to visit. I knew a bit of the city and we had a wonderful time. Rue St. Denis is a treasure on a Friday night.

The rest? Swimming naked in Lake Ontario? Bucket list. Didn't happen, but would still love to do it.

The first song on my first album.

Thank you, Caroline.


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