DBT #252 Immigrant Songs - Wolf Loescher

So much in the news that we're struggling as a nation with the influx of immigrants, and many who would say that they are ILLEGAL immigrants.  We have so much wealth in this country, and so many of us associate with Christianity yet we struggle with the question should we have open arms for the poor and needy.  Besides what Jesus called the GREATEST commandment to "Love our neighbor", in this great article "The Biblical Case for Caring for Immigrants" Joan Maruskin reminds us that Jesus was a refugee and helped by Egyptians.  I do pray for our country to remember our roots and look at our future not to maintain a "European White Culture" but to be the melting pot that helped us grow into the strongest wealthiest democracy.  I also don't want to hear that we should only embrace the ones who come through the channels; Jesus put no fine print on his teachings.

Now I step off my soap box and tell you that when Wolf Loescher put out an album themed on Immigrant Songs I scooped it up immediately.  I even have had a playlist before on the subject, #122 Immigrant Stories, and here Wolf curated an eclectic mix of immigrant songs, and then proceeded to reimagine them into his Celtic style; what a treat.   The song list and pictures of the Loescher immigrant family can be found at his website ; now these writers are legendary.

Sure I also have a soft spot for a Celtic storytelling with a varied a rhythms and instruments, and this is the fourth time that Wolf has appeared in the blog.  Nearly every song is quick new favorite because all are so easy to listen to, though if you want to capture the diversity try to listen "The Hills of Killemond" then "City of Immigrants" then "Mariano" finished by "Sutter's Mill"

Now I thought as we enjoy listening to these songs, I could educate myself about some of the authors that I didn't know because as a songwriter I both love a well done cover song and finding out who wrote the song we're loving.

1) A Dance Called America - 

Rory & Calum MacDonald were part of Runigs, Wolf describes the song:

Starting in the mid-18th century, many of the inhabitants of the Highlands and western islands of Scotland were evicted during what was known as “The Clearances”. And on the Isle of Skye, a new dance was created to memorialize the loss, anger, and hope engendered by this forced journey to the New World.

2) Mariano 

I listened to this several times and was wowed by how the lyrics painted a picture of Mariano working for the narrator; never knowing this was also a Robert Earl Keen song.  The fiddle in this tune is so perfectly mournful.

The song means enough to Robert Earl Keen that he put it into his last Austin concert.

And here is Wolf doing the song solo:

3) American Wake

Wolf explains, 

Imagine a time before Google Maps, before MapQuest, before even the super-sized road atlas you could get in any Walmart…a time when “America” was as unknown as the dark side of the moon…more myth and legend than reality. By the end of The Famine in 1850, nearly one third of the entire population of Ireland had left the country in “coffin ships” for the New World. The odds of surviving the trip and returning home again was so low that families often held a “wake”, a party celebrating the life of the those they were unlikely to see ever again.

The song was written by Brent Hoad with the Elders, here is a link to their 2004 Release.  Wolf slows the tempo down just a bit... ha.

Here is Wolf doing the song solo.

4) City of Immigrants

You had me again that this was a Steve Earle song, so I looked up from which album since it wasn't in my library.  Yes Wolf turns it into a Celtic Rocker...

Wow looking it up I found this acoustic live video with EMMYLOU & the Mastersons too, and a great intro. The song is one a 2007 Washington Square release that is now on my wishlist.

5) American Tune

When this great cover was on in the car, my wife said why is this song so familiar? It was just one I played over and over with Willie Nelson singing with author Paul Simon on his album "Across the Borderline"

6) At Home with the Exiles

Wolf explains, Ed Miller inspired me to pursue my love for Scottish folk music, and I’m honored to share this song about his personal experiences as an immigrant from Edinburgh to the wilds of Central Texas.

7) And the Rovin' Dies Hard

Ah, a wonderful Celtic story and exactly what this blog is about, GOOD music has NO expiration date.   Wolf explains, 

Some were forced to leave, some chose to leave…but all were looking for something better, something more. This seminal song of Scottish immigration was recorded by the Battlefield Band in 1987 for their “Celtic Hotel” album, and is one of my favorite songs of all time in any genre. It as an honor and pleasure to be joined on this track by the song’s composer, master musician and noted author Brian McNeill.

I love the contrast between Wolfs and Rich Brotherton's voices; this is definitely a favorite on the album.

8) Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears

Another author I didn't recognize, and the 2010 video said, 

"Recorded for the release of Bow Triplets' 5th CD "Secret Signs" on 6. March 2010. This is a song written By Brendan Graham, about Ellis Island and Irish immigrants who sought a new life in America. Many million immigrants from many countries, including those from the north, were stationed on this island before they were cleared to enter the United States. The island has been called Isle of Tears by many from the song but contrary to common belief, the immigrants received dignified treatment and help to start their new lives in America. The Tears refer to the sadness conceived when thinking about the old home that would surely never be seen again. The song was featured at An Cór Ceilteach's 2003 November concert.
Brendan Wade, born in Wexford, Ireland, sings the lead vocals. Backing vocals Heidi and Stef Sigfalk."

Here's Wolf's song:

And the video:

9) Sutter's Mill

Boy I was looking at that title awhile thinking I know that song.  Love Wolf's rendition of Dan Fogelberg's song.

I just had to look up the song, I'll need to import from vinyl for the library.  Great pictures in this fan video; who said Dan wrote the song in Maine on his 33rd birthday.

10) The Hills of Killedmond

Pat Byrne a name I at least had in my library, and likely should have more; as Wolf explains,

I had the great good fortune to meet and befriend Pat Byrne in Houston, Texas at the mighty McGonigel’s Mucky Duck (where I also met my wife). He was born and raised in the tiny town of Borris in County Carlow, and after winning the Irish version of “The Voice” in 2012, he came to Austin, Texas to record an album, and never went back! This is the first song he wrote after “crossing the pond”

11) '39

If you love the banjo by Scooter Muse, read Wolf's description,

How many times do you get the opportunity to put a song written by a guitar deity and noted astrophysicist about Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity on a folky album about immigration, and feature a champion banjo player to boot? Exactly once.

If you are like me and NOT a Queen fan, this is penned by the Brian May in Queen who wrote "We Will Rock You"

Dang... I even like this song; and it really makes me admire Wolf's selections for this album.

12) Living in the Promise Land

Ah, another Willie Nelson song, but I did not know he didn't write this, but David Lynn Jones did.

Fitting that Willie would find a farmer cowboy composer, thank you.

I didn't do one of those fancy one click YouTube playlist, so here's an album Bandcamp link for you to stream it at least one time.

Next steps:

- Stop over to the Review page to my other most spinned and loved albums.
- Browse the rest of the blogs by stopping at this "Theme Page."
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- Find out who in the world thinks he has the authority to write this blog in the About.
- Let me answer why you won't find the playlists on Spotify here.
- Finally, the Mission page explains why there is no advertising cluttering the page.

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