Artist's Statement:  For every songwriter, each song comes from a special place.  Some songs tell a story, inspired from long ago. For me, a transplant from Kentucky to Philadelphia, who has fallen in love with this historical city, that is the case for some of my music.  Some songs, may come from the here, the now, the within. The moments of living which we all share - the pain or joy, triumph or despair, challenge or whimsy.  These songs may be more 'personal' - for me at least that is the case. Whatever their inspiration, through word and note, I wish to share my music, my experiences, with the listener. Of course, the listener can receive it in any way they want.  I just hope the music stirs a response - Marion Halliday.                                                                                            

BOURBON AND MEN

Inspired by two subjects near and dear to the heart of Marion and her Trickster Sisters.

By Marion Halliday 2016 - all rights reserved.

V1 - I like my bourbon like I like my men -Strong, not too neat, some rocks thrown in. I like when things burn and make me sweat
And hard livin’ with no regrets.

Ref: Oh my aching head -Why’s that bottle in my bed? 
       I like the things that aren’t good for me - I like you and Kentucky whiskey

V2 - like wild storms, when wind shake my house
The thrill of wonderin' ' will this work out?'
Kinda how it feels when I’m loving you -
Not quite sure what you're gonna do.

V3-I like the quiet in the dark of night
With only thoughts to hold me tight.
I liked you better when you went away-
Why it hurts still, can't hardly say.

BOY ON LEMON HILL

Irish-y ditty inspired by a lovely spot near Marion's home in Fairmount Park area of Philadelphia.

By Marion Halliday 2015 - all rights reserved.

V1-There’s a boy up on Lemon Hill If I cant catch him, nobody will A little bit sassy, a little bit sweet - Tastiest morsel you ever did meet Six foot two and hair so dark -Its no wonder he would break my heart.

Cho:  Hey dilly, dilly, and a derry derry oh, hey dilly, dilly and a derry derry oh

 

V2 -That brawny lad, by the name of Will Lived in a house on top of Lemon Hill I followed him home and gave him a kiss But Molly Bloom wasn’t happy with this A little bit brassy, and long in the tooth What she couldn’t win was mine to lose.

V3- Well I caught me the boy up on Lemon Hill He spent all my money ,  now I cant pay a bill Alll he’s given me is a babe to raise And a heartache to last all of my days So I gave him the boot back to Molly Bloom And now that pair can sing this tune.

BULLITT COUNTY

Marion's Kentucky hometown of Louisville  and neighboring Bullitt County have been ravaged by the heroin and meth epidemic decimating rural America.  Marion's home state is unfortunately in the top five in the country in terms of overdose deaths. As with many things, there is not one simple cause to point to, but in the song, Marion does describe the development of major highways, and the change to the agrarian culture, in the area as a contributing factor - three major US interstates (I-65, I-64, and I-71) all converge in the Louisville area and with it bring easy access/transport for the drug trade.

By Marion Halliday 2016-all rights reserved

V 1 - The grass grows blue in the town where I was born.
 In Autumn we'd cut patterns taking hayrides in the corn.
We'd hang tobacco from the beams in my daddy's farm.
The men would drink their whiskey by the fire when work was done- Oh Bullitt County, Oh Bullitt County - where you gone

V 2 - The caves that I played in as a kid up in the knobs,
Sheltered slaves on their way to freedom from the South,
But change has seeped through the town like water on limestone. 
Its slowly carved away the good our lives were built on. 
Oh Bullitt County, Oh Bullitt County-where you gone?

 

 BR: So they built a super-highway, runs right thru our town. 
 From the Gulf coast to the Great Lakes -its a thousand miles long.   
Progress can bring problems, no matter what they say, - the bluegrass can turn to brown and the corn fields rot away. 
V 3 - The Jesusp brothers were the first to plant that deadly crop - In the woods by the Armory they started out with pot.
Now they're cooking up a storm behind my daddy's barn
and the kids are cutting school to cut some meth
and Bullitt County's gone. .Its gone, its gone . . .
V 4 - Cicadas hum in the night as we stare into the fire
Nothing much to say- we're all so God-awful tired.
We admire our handiwork in the chemical and smoke
But no one plays in the caves or cuts patterns in the corn
anymore . . . no more.

CALLAHAN'S SONG

Philly’s historic Eastern State Penitentiary inspired this song. After taking a tour there, Marion learned about the Prison's only inmate to ever escape and not be recaptured - Leo Callahan.  Little is known about Callahan and nothing is known about him after his getaway over the 30 foot tall prison walls, so Marion's song imagines the 'real' story behind his life- she also hoped for an optimistic outcome.  The Gaelic phrase in the chorus means essentially 'God's blessing on your journey'.  Funny postscript:  the archivist at the Penitentiary heard a recording of Marion's song (after the Molly Bloom's performed it on WXPN Folk Show) and wrote a blog about it.  While the archivist liked the song, she indicated that most historians believe the 'real' story behind Callahan's not being recaptured was that he was murdered shortly after his getaway.  Go to this website for more information on ESP and their famous escapee - https://www.easternstate.org/notable-inmates.

By Marion Halliday 2014 - All rights reserved

V1- He came to this land ten years of age, by fourteen an orphan making his way On the dusty streets of Philadelph-y- i-a, that boy became a man. He loved pretty Mary & she bore him a child, his life it seemed pretty good for a while. Telling tales of  Ireland at night by the fire, they’d sing to their son.

CHO:  Slan agus beannacht leat, Fly away Callahan, fly away home (2x)                   

V 2-  Spanish flu took Mary and their wee baby son, Then he lost his job on the docks as a long shore-man. By 1922 he’d hit rock bottom- times they were hard. He took to drinking whisky, playing cards, pickin’ fights, He finally picked the wrong one late one winter’s night,  Left a man dead on the street, no one to blame, but poor Callahan.

V 3-  Callahan was sentenced to Eastern State Penn, A place where no man had escaped from within. In a prison bound by thirty feet of stone, a man could still dream. He built himself a ladder and climbed to the other side,  Ran into the dark of night and found a place to hide.  Coppers never caught him but swore they heard him cry, he’d find a way home. 

BREAK:  When dreams are dashed and ground into dust,  The man that lives on will do what he must. Build a ladder, scale a wall, dream a new dream - Fly a Way Home                                                            

V 4- Not every traveler to this land came here to stay, Some would return to their homeland one day. The say in 1924 in the County Clare, a man named Callahan returned to live among them, bought a farm & prospered well.  Raised a family of his own and to them he would tell, tales of America and Eastern State Penn, and finding a way home.

CANT CHANGE THE TRUTH

Marion wrote this song for a benefit for women against abuse held in Philadelphia in Fall 2016.  There is a challenge in loving someone with depression and addiction - harder still, loving someone who may harm themselves or another.  The essence of this may be in knowing you can't change the truth of what they may choose to do. 

By Marion Halliday 2016 - All rights reserved

V- You can look down if you want to, You can look up and see the blue. But you stopped looking long ago, I stopped asking, don't wanna know.  You’re gonna do what you're gonna do. . . . These things you’re gonna do.

V2- I saw that mark it was on your skin, It says so much more then where you've been.  But you can tell me what you want, Wont change what you’re gonna do.  Won't change what we both know . . . is the truth. . . can't change the truth. . . 

 BREAK:  We know the path you choose is yours alone to decide
All the love we have for you, May not be enough to make you change your mind . . . Can't change your mind . . .

V3- You can push that chair right up to the edge, One step from there you’re on the ledge-But take one good look down, It's a very hard . . . ground, It's a very hard truth. These things you’re gonna do. . .Whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do?. . .Can't change the truth can’t change the truth can’t change the truth [2X]

GREENING TIME

Just as our lives have their good times and bad, Seasons go round and round but you always return to the greening time of Spring.

By Marion Halliday 2016 - all rights reserved

Cho: Greening time, greening time, seasons march round and round-Then you come to find your way back to the greening time.

V1- For the harvest to be good you must trim back the wood.
Mind well as you cut not to damage the tender buds.
Cause if your blade is clean and sharp, it might cut right to the heart.  Make each stroke carefully and after a time you will see
The buds open wide come the greening time, and later the fruit will spill from the vine, and it makes you glad for the greening time.


V2 - We knelt together in the sun, our planting had just begun
We told ourselves as we sowed that these plants would always grow, With sun and rain, we'd be good,But sun can burn and rain can flood and sometimes nature plays a trick and you don't get what you would pick.

 

Harvests can fail, try as you might, and there are some things you can't make right And you find yourself alone in the debris, And acres of wasted crop all you see.

Break: Now I'm bent and stiff as wood- But I'm hoping I still could
Brush the soil from my knees and. Rise up again strong and green.

V3 - Autumn brings its sweet relief with every crimson falling leaf.
Yet it comes at a cost you pay with the first killing frost.
So I put the tools in the shed, I'm wishing it were spring instead-
But wishes can't bring back the sun or render the fatal its undone.
Still I know after a time, love will spill again from the vine,
and I thank God for the greening time 

If Statues Could Speak

A visitor to Wissahickon Park, if they hike to the right place, can see the 15 foot tall stone statue of a Native American warrior.  The statue is meant to honor the Lenape who were the first settlers in this area.  However, the statue is historically inaccurate in terms of the depiction of the warrior (not the correct headdress etc).  More poignant and for me at least, disturbing, is what the statue really represents in terms of the Native American experience as a result of colonization in the early Americas.  There is much talk today about preserving monuments - it made me wonder, what if these monuments could actually SPEAK? What would they say?

The Lenape used at the end of the song is with my special thanks to representatives of the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribe for assistance in ensuring proper phrasing and pronunciation.  The second phrase in particular has special meaning to them and reinforces the message of their tribe that 'they are still here'.  More information about their tribe can be found at http://www.nanticoke-lenape.info/.

By Marion Halliday 2018 - all rights reserved

V1 - They made a park out of my grave After my people they had slain. They carved my image out of stone, Then they placed me on a hilltop alone. 

V2-  I had a woman and a son. I had a family, like their own. 
All my arrows and my innocence, No match for (their) guns and ignorance.

Ref: If I could speak, what would I say?   If these stone lips could move, What would it prove . . . anyway?

V3- Who was the first in this place?  Not their people, but my race.  
Ask the wind, or the stars, or the gentle rain,  Or the whispering stream that bears my name.

V4- Naxuhàni  ala hate            (I am alone forever)
       Nteshwasihena ala hate   (We lived through it)

LOST THINGS

The Eternal Flame in Philadelphia's Washington Square Park is a lovely but relatively discrete memorial to  three thousand revolutionary soldiers (as well as early colonists and freed slaves) buried anonymously at the Park.  Even thought the flame burns night and day, its often unnoticed by the professionals who read their papers on nearby benches, the families picnicking on the lawn and others rushing through the square on their way to get a latte. Surrounded  by beautiful sky rise office buildings and condominiums,  and only a couple blocks from the Liberty Bell and Constitution Hall, Marion was struck by that juxtaposition - the reality that many who walk across this sacred space have no idea of the thousands buried below - their sacrifice for our country lost to time, as many things are, has been lost over time.

By Marion Halliday 2016 - all rights reserved

V1 - There is a flame that burns night and day, in a quiet park where children play. That flame reminds us that buried below are soldiers who died for us long ago. So I take a moment and cry for all the lost things in life, then I take a moment and pray I won't end up like that one day.

V2 - There was a flame that burned in my heart, you set it afire right from the start. But now that flame has burned to ash, The things that burn so hot never last. So I take a moment and cry for all the lost things in life - Then I take a moment and pray I won't be hurt again this way.

 Break - But if my prayers would make it so, I'd pray my love would never go. I'd pray there'd be an end to war, but prayers don't work for me anymore. So I'll take a moment and cry for all the lost things in life. Then I'll take a moment and pray, I'll find my faith again some day- I'll find my faith . . again.

V3 - There was a flame that tore 'cross the sky, it chased the darkness out of the night.  For a moment I thought I saw God, but when the dark returned, I knew God was gone
So I take a moment and cry for all the lost things in life
Then I take a moment and pray I'll see that flame again one day
I'll see that flame again one day - I'll see the flame, I'll see that flame, I'll see that flame again . . . one day.

PRETZELS AND PERROGIES

 Marion's homage to all things Philadelphian.  When she first moved to this incredible city well, lets just say, the ways of the natives often left her mystified.

By Marion Halliday 2015- all rights reserved

V1 - When I first came to this land jobless and alone, I missed my family & my friends & my old Kentucky home. The customs and the natives here, I couldn't comprehend, Until that fateful day I made my 1st true Philly friend  . . . Who showed me . . . 

CHO  Pretzels and perrogies, tasty cakes and hoagies, and pork rolls from a trashy south street bar.  I had a date with a banjo strummer-maybe the only sober Mummer-on New Year's day in South Philadelphia.

V2  -  Soon I visited all the sites that tourists do so well, From Love Park to the rocky steps,  then to the Liberty Bell - Bought wooder-ice at Rita's, spent weekends down the shore, Had cheesesteaks and scrapple, and still I wanted more . . . of those. . . 

V3-    I learned about the PPA the way folks often do, when they left a love note on my car saying basically “F.  U.” But soon the natives taught me how to flout the parking laws,  To leave my car on weekends  in the middle lane of Broad.

BREAK: I would never have moved here but for the twist of fate, also referred to as the crash of 2008. What I'd once I'd cursed as tragic and thought I would always hate, I've grown in time to come to love and life here's simply great with its . . . 

V4-It's been five years now and so very much has changed, and not just my waistline or the twenty pounds I gained. I bought myself a trinity in the heart of the gayborhood,     spend Friday nights at Fergies, man my  life here is so good (with its  . . . )
 

RESTING ON LAUREL HILL

Laurel Hill Cemetery is a famous and beautiful historic cemetery located near Marion's Philadelphia home.  Marion often takes walks along the river by the cemetery and decided to learn more about its founding.  She was moved when reading about the origins of the cemetery in the 1840s.  One of the founders had experienced the tragic death of his daughter who was subsequently buried in the City of Philadelphia Cemetery, which was very crowded at the time.  A few months later,  even more distressing, when he went to mourn at her grave  he could not find it.  This led to him to the founding of the Laurel Hill Cemetery with two other prominent Philadelphia gentleman. While the song is about the loss of a child, its also about the loss of living in the present, with those we love. 

By Marion Halliday 2015 - all rights reserved

V. 1 - You'd climb Laurel Hill in the early morning sun,
Dangle from the tall trees and watch that water run.
Never dream that the frost would one day come,
or your breath hang like a white cloud, or the leaves turn brown.

V 2 - Starts with a simple thing, nothing to alarm.
A slight chill or a dull ache, theres chores to be done.
The cows to milk, and its time to harvest corn.
We'd say hard work won't wait, you can rest when you're done.

Cho: Shadows on the water, voices in the wind - Gone in a moment, as if they've never been. Once I brought you foxglove, wish that I could still - I'm looking, I can't find you on Laurel Hill.

 

V 3 - How fast a small cough can turn so very bad-
The blossom of youth was all you would have.
In a bed of foxglove you now rest,
With lilac for your bonnet and lilies for your dress.

V 4 - I turn the soil from dawn until dusk.
Looking for solace in the toil and the dust.
All I find is all I can feel when I walk to where you rest on Laurel Hill.

V 5  - I climb Laurel Hill in the fading of the sun.
I stand in the cool shade and watch that water run.
I dream of the day when I'll be resting still,
Beside you in the foxglove on Laurel Hill.

SORRY

Every girl band needs a good, snarky men-are-shits kinda song . . . Funny thing though - this song came out of a passing reference in a songwriting-circle that someone needed to write a 'passive aggressive song'. . . well, here it is.

Marion Halliday 2016 - all rights reserved

V1 - I'm sorry that I'm happy alone, I don't need to run when you call my phone; I'm sorry for nothing at all that your pissed as hell I'm having it all; I'm sorry that you were a shit, no surprises there - It must be hard to admit that I no longer care.

V2 - Well I'm sorry that you're all alone and you want me back now that I'm gone; I'm sorry I have no regrets, and you haven't heard the best of it yet; I'm sorry , well that isn't true I've never been happier since I left you; I'm sorry, it sounds so absurd, but you lied to me with every single word.

 Break - Why is it always so, the words some people use are so hollow? Like the time you once said, without me you'd better off dead.

V 3 - I'm sorry but its a matter of fact, I've moved along and I'm not looking back; I'm sorry but just to be clear I'm doing great without you here; I'm sorry I've said all I can now I'm looking for the right kind of man; I'd wish you well but I'd rather not lie - its okay with me if you crawled off to die.

I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry (she's not). . .

Still Burning

Inspired by the 1962 coal-mine fire in Centralia PA that still burns to this day (and is expected to burn for several hundred more years). The song however is really about the destructive hole that our lives can descend into when consumed by the fire of addiction.

By Marion Halliday 2018 - all rights reserved

V1-Theres a town where the pavement burns and sulphur rises up from the ground; No one lives there anymore, all the houses have been torn done.  It started a long time ago - a match and some trash down a coal-mining hole.  Now there's no returning, while the fire's still burning.

V2 - My life's a lot like that ghost-town, something slipped  the rails in my teens. Pot and addy's with my friends, led to bigger not better things. I went wrong a long time ago - a match and some hash then down the junkie's hole- Now there's no returning while the fire's still burning.

 

Brk- I aint seen my daughter since '08; they say her daddy has gone straight.  Sometimes I think what might have been, but that just gets my eyes burning.

V3-They closed the clinic by the park, now I have to work to get a fix
Not much joy in this life when all there is is doing tricks.
I gave up a long time ago - no match for the smack, can't climb out of this hole. Now there's no returning while the fire's still burning.

TIME TO SING AGAIN

A walk on an empty breaker in Cape Cod inspired this song - captures the essence of 'moving on' in life - can't think of a better way to move on than to  'sing again' after the pain has passed.

By Marion Halliday 2017 - all rights reserved

V1 - We'd tie the boat and trim the sail, then cast the anchor in-
Watch the tide roll out and back, jump off the pier to swim.
Cedar boards, iron nails, make a dock quite strong
But even things built straight as rail, can bend and warp with time.

Can't sing when I'm crying, can't love when I'm lying, can't live when I'm dying, there's a time to sing, to live, to love again.

V2 The lobster traps at low tide lie orphaned in the sand.
But the moon's relentless pull will cover them again.
The wind and surf drown out the sound; I smile, you look away.
Some splintered wood is all that's left of the dock where we once played.

Bridge: The tide will change everything; from wooden docks to childhood dreams. Don't fight that surf you're drowning in, just ride it till you reach the shore again.

TWO BEST FRIENDS

Written for Marion's (and Trickster Sister Jane's) parents on their 60th anniversary.

By Marion Halliday 2015 - all rights reserved  

V1 - Croquet on a summer’s day, Puzzles by a fire.
Wooden plane as a jungle gym, T.V. was never on.
Kitchen chairs hung on a wall, raking leaves in the Fall. 
These are the little things that made us who we are.

V2 - I would chase butterflies, 'round the backyard.
Music pouring from the house, Malc and Jane practicing hard.
Culver's nose is in a book, Paul's got a far off look.
These are the little things that made us who we are.

Cho - We were raised by two best friends whose delight in each other never ends; It's that love that we saw, And the thing that made us who we are.

 V3 - Cooking in the kitchen at the end of a long day. 
Old fashion in your hand, and always something to say.
Candles lit, you ring the bell, "everyone, it's dinner now"-
These are the little things that made us who we are.

BREAK- One and one can be more than two-That's what we see when we look at you.  What once was seven is now seventeen, each one of us, your legacy.

V4 - Five kids doing fifty things, Morning noon and night.
Somehow you got it done, And the kids turned out all right.
Flew the nest to make their own, live the lives that you had shown-
Trying to become all the things you are . . .

WALKING IN TALL GRASS

Marion was bit by a copperhead snake when living in the mountains of Virginia - the snake actually left a fang in her leg too! When she ended up in the emergency room, the doctor indicated his belief the snake might make out worse than Marion - losing a fang (if it wasn't shedding its skin) means it would likely not live very long.  This song uses the snake bite experience as a starting point for, well, something a bit more.

By Marion Halliday 2015 - All rights reserved

V1 - I was walking in the tall grass, sweltering in the heat,
Eyes on the trail ahead, not looking at my feet -
Never had a warning, only felt the sting.

V2 - When I stopped to take a look, imagine my surprise
A snake put a fang in me - but he paid a heavy price
They say a snake that loses a fang, he'll surely lose his life.
. . . I don't know why, but I'll keep walking in that tall grass

V3 - Go to school and get a job, then become someone's wife.  
In 20 years or so, find you need a different life.  
Time to make a change and go walking in that tall grass  
. . . I don't know why but I'll keep walking in that tall grass

 

 

Break: Without that snake, Eve might be in that garden still-
Naked and dumb, blind to her free will. One bite of an apple, one step into the wild - I left that garden and I kept on walking . . . in that tall grass for a while.

V. 4 - I'm the kinda girl who likes to wander off the beaten path -
Maybe get a little lost or maybe just not come back. I might meet a snake or two but I'll keep walking in that tall grass. ..I don't know why but I'll keep walking . . .

WE ARE THE CHANGE

What harm can one man do? -This is  question much on Marion's mind since the 2016 election.  What change can we create? The possibilities are great . . .

By Marion Halliday 2017 - all rights reserved

V1-What harm can one man do? (2X)
What harm, what harm, what harm, what harm,
What harm can one man do?
Go ask the Cambodians or the Polish Jew
The harm one man can do

V2- When lies become the truth, (2X)
When lies, when lies, when lies, when lies,
When lies become the truth
It hurts everyone and the weak can be abused
When lies become the truth.

V3- How long till we raise our voice? (2X)
How long, how long, how long, how long,
How long till we raise our voice?
Till they come for our brother? or our sister too?
Or maybe me and you?

 

Break: Beyond all the lies and hate, we must listen with our hearts.  If we do, we might find, truth behind the noise, a place to make a start

V4- What good can we each do? (2X)
What good, what good, what good, what good
What good can we each do
Go ask Nelson Mandela or maybe Rosa too
The good we each can do.

V5- What change can we create? (2X)
What change, what change, what change, what change
What change can we create?
Doesn't matter - big or small- just start it right now,
The change we will create, we are the change, we are the change . . . .