Joan of Arc

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I’m a fan of the music and poetry of Leonard Cohen every since I heard Suzanne in my teens sung by Judy Collins. I forgot about some of those tunes until today when I was listening to Ballad of a Runaway Horse.  Still as haunting as before.

This video features the song found on the  Famous Blue Raincoat with Leonard Cohen and Jennifer Warnes.

“Joan Of Arc” – Leonard Cohen

Now the flames they followed Joan of Arc
as she came riding through the dark;
no moon to keep her armor bright,
no man to get her through this dark and smoky night.
 She said, “I’m tired of the war,
I want the kind of work I had before,
a wedding dress or something white
to wear upon my swollen appetite.”
 Well, I’m glad to hear you talk this way,
I’ve watched you riding every day
and something in me yearns to win
such a cold and lonesome heroine.
 “And who are you?” she sternly spoke
to the one beneath the smoke.
“Why, I’m fire,” he replied,
“And I love your solitude, I love your pride.”
 “Then fire, make your body cold, 

I’m going to give you mine to hold,”
And saying this she climbed inside
to be his one, to be his only bride.

And deep into his fiery heart 

he took the dust of Joan of Arc,
and high above the wedding guests
he hung the ashes of her lovely wedding dress.

It was deep into his fiery heart
he took the dust of Joan of Arc,
and then she clearly understood
if he was fire, oh then she must be wood.

I saw her wince, I saw her cry,
I saw the glory in her eye.
Myself I long for love and light,
but must it come so cruel, and must it be so bright?

Bernie Sanders Ad

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Refreshing change to the usual drivel we are subjected every four years. Well done Bernie.

The song is bittersweet, telling a story of disillusionment with America, the lost American dream. I believe this is at the core of Sander’s message. He is calling out the forces that rig the system. It is inspirational and probably impossible but he’s got my New Hampshire vote.

I believe that hope TRUMPS fear and loathing.

“Let us be lovers,
We’ll marry our fortunes together.
I’ve got some real estate
Here in my bag.So we bought a pack of cigarettes,
And Mrs. Wagner’s pies,
And walked off
To look for America.
“Kathy”, I said,
As we boarded a Greyhound in Pittsburgh,
Michigan seems like a dream to me now.

It took me four days
To hitch-hike from Saginaw.
“I’ve come to look for America.”

Laughing on the bus,
Playing games with the faces,
She said the man in the gabardine suit
Was a spy.

I said, “Be careful,
His bow tie is really a camera.”
“Toss me a cigarette,
I think there’s one in my raincoat.”
We smoked the last one
An hour ago.

So I looked at the scenery,
She read her magazine;
And the moon rose over an open field.
“Kathy, I’m lost”, I said,
Though I know she was sleeping.
“I’m empty and aching and
I don’t know why.”

Counting the cars
On the New Jersey Turnpike
The’ve all come
To look for America,
All come to look for America,
All come to look for America.”

– Paul Simon

Reeltime Travelers

Find stringband music from the Reeltime Travelers at

The original Reeltime Travelers formed in Johnson City, Tennessee in 1998 just as old-time music was beginning to receive a wave of due acknowledgement and increased global attention. They quickly became one of the most widely heard old-time bands of all time, selling 60,000 CDs independently and touring nationally. Highlights of their success included the Down From the Mountain tour (which highlighted music from Oh Brother Where Art Thou), the Great High Mountain Tour, The Grand Ole Opry and working with T-Bone Burnett on the soundtrack to Cold Mountain.

New Reeltime Travelers have managed to capture that energy and creativity while adding a few new spices to the sonic stew – drawing on the experience each musician has had performing, teaching and unearthing old-time music. As friends justify our passions, the coming together of these musicians is a jubilant expression of their collective journey in traditional music.

• Roy Andrade plays banjo with NRT and is an influential player and teacher. He is a member of the faculty in Bluegrass, Old Time and Country Music Studies at East Tennessee State University, where he works with the old-time music portion of the program. He was lucky to spend many hours with the late Doc Watson and recently produced a book set of home recordings from the Doc Watson family.

• Carol Elizabeth Jones sings with a purity of the mountain region she grew up in. She has played rhythm guitar and added her voice to numerous wonderful old-time ensembles including Garrison Keillor’s Hopeful Gospel Quartet and Hazel Dickens. She also writes spellbinding songs in the Appalachian mountain style.

• Ben Winship is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, producer and recording engineer. His talents have graced many stages throughout the U.S. and Europe, but especially in his rocky mountain home, where his performances over the decades with Loose Ties, Kane’s River and Growling Old Men have been a major contribution to the growth and popularity of bluegrass and stringband music in the Rocky Mountains.

• Thomas Sneed has sung and played his mandolin in remote foreign corners of the world: everywhere from the Himalayas to Alaska to the Grand Old Opry. His passion for chasing old songs and stories culminated in a friendship with National Heritage Fellowship Award winning fiddler Ralph Blizard.

Fiddle players that work with New Reeltime Travelers are Betse Ellis (the Wilders) and Brittney Haas (Crooked Still, Darol Anger); bass players include Sharon Gilchrist (Tony Rice/Peter Rowan) and Eric Thorin (Matt Flinner Trio, Open Road). – website notes