Song Bridge

by Colum Sands

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1. January Child 4:40 Words and Music Colum Sands © Elm Grove Music January early morning, Foggy nightcap on the bay, Milky clouds upon the mountain, Sun won’t show for work today. January child is painting, Seagulls swirling in the spray, Old house hunkers down for winter, Storms are coming so they say. Chorus: But if January thinks we’re sleeping It couldn’t be much further wrong, At winter’s window, waiting, watching, Who will walk into this song? Here’s the man who braves all seasons Since he heard the doctor say, Young man your walking days are over, Each step he takes us shows us the way. And here’s that couple old and feeble, Once they were so young and strong, Yet beauty walks in every footstep As they help each other on. Hawthorn berries for the robin Brightening morning with his song, Red is such a welcome colour When days are short and nights are long. Branches bare still reaching upwards, Knowing where their hope is found, Underneath this frosty blanket New life stirs beneath the ground. All those January mornings, All those years that slipped away All those milky clouds that whispered, Sun won’t show for work today You were four years old that morning, Picture’s with me to this day January child you’ve taught me Hope will always find a way.
2. The Old Oak Wood Turns Green Again 4:08 Words and Music Colum Sands © Elm Grove Music Hi there, high there much too high Concrete rising in the sky. Block the light and kill the seed, How much money do you need? Down there, down there in the ground Spreading poison all around, Kill for gold and kill for oil The precious life that’s in the soil. Chorus: But the old oak wood turns green again The old oak wood turns green, The old oak wood turns green again The old oak wood turns green. Out there, out there in the sea, Plastic waste from you and me, Time to change the things we do Or end up drinking plastic stew And hi there, hi there RHI Someone’s finger’s in the pie Heating empty sheds each day Fingers could get burnt one day. Chorus Look here, nuclear let’s be clear, No nuclear waste is needed here, You say it’s safe, well kind regards, Host it in your own back yards. Now then, now then, now’s the time, We’re silent partners in each crime Unless we take a different way And fight for nature’s rights today. Chorus
3. Ah Ha Ho (Apathy to Action Song) 3:30 Words and Music Colum Sands © Elm Grove Music When I was young I heard them say, “No use in talking anyway, Sure no one’s going to listen”, they would say Well maybe this was right or wrong Or just another way to yawn, But words like this will never light my way, Chorus: Ah ha ho, sure that’s the way it goes Ah ha ho, do you know? - you wouldn’t know. I went to school a little while, The books were tame the teachers wild, Teachers’ strikes were different in those days, But some were good I’m glad to say Their words are with me to this day, It’s better asking questions than to say, Chorus Come take a chance and try to try, Indifference is the reason why The racketeers have wrecked so much today, They’d sell you weapons, sell you death They’d even sell their mother earth How happy they must be to hear us say, Chorus Now Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jew And all those words for me and you That seem to come between us every day, Divided in theology, United in our apathy And nothing ever changes while we say, Chorus So cast your vote and use it well, Don’t waste it on some empty shell Without the vision or the voice to say, There’s more to life than buy and sell This precious earth, protect it well, Our children will not thank us if we say ... Chorus
Very Nearly 05:04
4. Very Nearly 4:59 Words and Music Colum Sands © Elm Grove Music Well there I was upon my way In the days of will you won’t you, I met you at the crooked bridge, You remember well now don’t you? Signpost hiding in the hedge, I could not see it clearly Says you, you’ve come to a nice wee place By the name of Very Nearly. Well that’s the weather now, says I, Says you, I’ve seen it better But the greatest stories in the world Begin with a single letter. Chorus: And many’s the night and many’s the day I think upon you dearly, And all the things we tried to say On the road to Very Nearly. Ah life’s a riddle in this place With the briars and whin bushes,* St Brigid’s crosses can’t be made If you haven’t got the rushes.** But if you climb up yonder hill, I bet you I’ll climb higher, And I’ll give you a glass to catch the sun If you help me light the fire. The weather’s picking up, says I, Says you, well now you’re talking, And if you sit down where the nettles grow May you always find a docken.*** Chorus Ah the water’s deep at the crooked bridge, So mind yourself I tell you, There’s some would give you all they have, And there’s some would buy and sell you. So look for truth between the stars, Keep off the road that’s misty, And every answer won’t be straight For the question mark is twisty. Ah the night is drawing on, says I, Ah time is such a miser, But if we’d known then what we know now Would we be much the wiser? Chorus *Whin-bushes: gorse bushes (Ulex europaeus) **Rushes (Juncaceae): sometimes used in Ireland for weaving crosses on February 1st, St Brigid’s Day. ***Docken/dock leaf (Rumex obtusifolius): a folk remedy for nettle stings.
Before Winter Sets In 3:23 Words and Music Colum Sands © Elm Grove Music September looks out as the evenings draw in, Her colours are coaxing the spiders to spin, They’ll lay out their lace in the dew of the whin, For they’ve plenty to do before winter sets in. Chorus: And down the long lane with many’s the turning, Back to school children are laughing and learning, We’ll follow the field to the blackberry hill, See the black, red and green and the blossoms there still. And as fields turn to gold the songbirds still sing, How summer was true to the promise of spring, There’s no time to lose and a harvest to win, So we’d best make a move before winter sets in. Chorus Sure we’ve filled up a shed instead of a bin With things that we said were sure to come in Handy sometime now it’s anchor to pin, But we’ll make room to dance before winter sets in. When October makes time where there was none before, We’ll follow the river from mountain to shore And we’ll talk of the times we came through thick and thin, And of all that we’ll do before winter sets in. Chorus
6. Better Times Are Waiting For You 5:06 Words and Music Colum Sands © Elm Grove Music As I walked out one winter’s morning, More like the night it was than day, The sun and moon had made their bargain, We’ll give the clouds their chance today. The road before me like a ribbon, The North wind sighed from far away, The Frost has plans to stop the music, The singing stream he’ll freeze today. Chorus: But don’t turn back to look behind you, Keep on walking on your way Better times are waiting for you Sure as night turns into day. A puddle cracked beneath my footsteps, As I turned up the hungry hill, A church bell rang up from the valley, Marking time where time stood still. And down a lane a dog was barking, The reason why I cannot say, I nearly stopped but something stopped me, And I continued on my way. Chorus A jackdaw watched me from his chimney, More close to home than me I’d say, His treasure trove of twigs beneath him, No smoke will rise up there today. And a magpie pecked in a broken phone box, One for sorrow so they say, But just in time she called her partner, A blue black flash - they flew away. And then as if from out of nowhere, A voice came back from long ago, These quiet places if you find them, Are the spaces where you grow. And through the clouds the sun came dancing, I felt the warmth I’d missed so long, The singing stream and all around me, Said take us with you in your song. Chorus
Song Bridge 03:50
7. Song Bridge 3:47 Words and Music Colum Sands © Elm Grove Music Colum Sands: vocals, guitar & bowed bass, with Adrianne Wininsky: cello When the water is so wide you can’t see the other side, Take the song bridge, When the one you miss the most is furthest from the coast, Take the song bridge, And may kindness be the art in the garden of your heart, On the song bridge. When you’re tired wheeling light up the tunnel of the night, Take the song bridge, When you can’t put out of sight, things you never got quite right, Take the song bridge. And may kindness be the art in the garden of your heart, On the song bridge. When you’ve seen the judge turn pale, underneath the horse’s tail Take the song bridge, Take the tail that made the bow, play the fiddle soft and low, On the song bridge, And may kindness be the art in the garden of your heart, On the song bridge. When you’ve played the old guitar for two lovers lost in war, Take the song bridge, And high above the strife, may we find the joy of life, On the song bridge. And may kindness be the art in the garden of your heart, On the song bridge
8. Catherine Schubert (née O’Hare) 6:50 Words and Music Colum Sands © Elm Grove Music It’s a long way from the Rockies to Rathfriland on the Hill, But on that track we’ll wander back so listen if you will, For courage great it’s hard to beat this woman of renown, Catherine Schubert, born O’Hare, in good old County Down. 1835 the year when Catherine saw the day, In Castle Street, Rathfriland, hunger wasn’t far away, But she learned to weave the linen and she learned to bake the bread, And she learned to pick the berries and the rose hips rich and red. At 16 years she crossed the sea to far Amerikay, Survived the awful coffin ships and landed on the quay, In Springfield, Massachusetts, found employment as a maid, Read every book around the house wherein she worked and stayed. Well, she met a man from Germany, a carpenter by trade, Augustus Schubert was his name and she liked the words he said, They fell in love in springtime, got married in the fall, Then they took the Mississippi to the town they call St Paul. They opened up a grocery shop where Catherine baked her bread, Lakota people taught her words that never left her head, “Wakanheja”, for children, the little sacred flames, Two children came along to them called Gus and Mary Jane. Ah but times were getting hard you know and they wouldn’t stay to beg, So northwards to Fort Garry that’s the town of Winnipeg, ’Til the weather drove them westwards as the winter had its way, 600 miles through frost and snow they battled on a sleigh. Then they settled at Red River, where another child was born, ‘Til thaw and floods a raging came, washed them from their home, Augustus said to Catherine, here is what I’ll have to do, I’ll join the Overlanders seeking gold in Cariboo. Said Catherine to Augustus, “Now listen if you will, Rathfriland women aren’t afraid of mountain or of hill, 100 men and 50 more may walk to Cariboo, But one woman and three children they are coming with you too.” So they loaded up Red River Cart and harnessed up a cow, Across the endless prairies, they found their way somehow, They lived on fish and berries and the rose hips where they grew, And Catherine needed secret strength for now she ate for two. And when the mighty Rockies rose, the cattle stayed behind, They carried all upon their backs where tracks and rivers wind, While on the Thompson River where the rapids weave and waft, She felt her baby coming as they floated on a raft. And oh so far the hills of home in good old County Down, But home is never far away where kindness can be found, The native midwives gathered round, the snow was on the thorn, They helped her there where rivers meet, and a healthy girl was born. First European Woman through the Rockies from the east, First Nations women tending her, such thoughts they were her least, I thank you kindly sisters and the life that nature grows, And to thank the food that gave us strength, I’ll call my baby Rose. The journey overland was done but Catherine worked away, In Armstrong she’s remembered well unto this very day, For she founded schools for children so that none were left behind, And education was the gold that Catherine helped to find. Ah, to know the heart of any land, climb the highest hill, See beauty float beneath you as your eyes take in their fill, To be so small yet part of all upon this endless trail, From Rathfriland to the Rockies and it’s there I’ll end my tale.
9. Just An Oul’ Thing That’s Going Around 4:15 Words and Music Colum Sands © Elm Grove Music Chorus It’s just an oul’ thing that’s going around, That’s what the doctor says, Take one of these in the morning and at night And come back in a couple of days. Could be something in the water, Could be something in the air, Or something that they’re putting in the ground, Whatever it may be, as far as I can see, There’s a lot of it going around. Could be something that you ate Could be something that you drank, The leakage of a business scheme, Like 50,000 pigs all going for a pee, Just about a mile upstream. Could be half a million chickens That are coming home to roost, Raising the ammonia alarm, Anaerobic indigestion could be closer than you think, Down on the factory farm. Chorus Could be something you have taken From whatever you’ve been taking To keep that oul’ thing away, Side effect or cause, it’s time to take a pause From the hurry and the scurry of today. Could be something in the phones That are sticking to our ears, So I can talk to you and you to me, Are we melting down each other just to download faster On 2, 3, 4, 5G? Chorus Trees are growing thinner And health is not a winner When the never-have-enoughs have all the say, Cutting down, spraying, generally betraying Any part of nature in their way. Are we farming to the call Of the pharmaceutical? Do the prophets of the profits rule supreme? If you’re crazy for the cash then you’re itching from a rash That won’t be cured by cream. Chorus
10. One More For The Road 4:10 Words and Music Colum Sands © Elm Grove Music Chorus: One more for the road we’ve travelled together, One more for the road and the tunes that we played, One more for the friends who have shortened our journeys, One more for the road that’s waiting ahead. For the blossoms of Spring and the first day of Summer, For the leaves that will soften the step to your door, For the snowflakes that dance in the darkness of Winter, For the love in your laughter there’s time for one more. Chorus For the song of the lark bringing hope in the morning, For the salmon a leaping and trying once more, For the speed of the hare, against the hill running, For the courage within you, there’s time for one more. Chorus For the weavers of warmth and the builders of shelter, For the women who carry all life to the door, For the carers of soil, of air and of water, For the love in your heart, there’s time for one more. Chorus


released April 28, 2020


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Colum Sands Newry, UK

Colum Sands is a universal storyteller who draws on a long Irish tradition of poetic musicality to weave songs for the world.
Drawing on countless performances, Sands uses humour and shrewd observation to celebrate what unites rather than what separates. His latest album “Song Bridge” includes many of the songs written for his extensive environmental campaigning over the past two years.
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