Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

It often astounds me that I have now lived in my current city longer than in my “hometown”. It is getting close to twice the number of years! Although I only lived in my “birth town” for the first two years of my life, I often feel like I have two “hometowns” with the history and family stories associated with both. I have raised my children in the city I live in now and at times it can feel odd that it is their hometown, but not mine. I often wonder about moving back to my hometown for retirement years, but I know it would not be as I left it and I need to keep a perspective on that. I recognize that not everyone will have fond memories of their hometown, but I think we preserve a piece of ourselves in the places we grow up. It can mean so many things and involve many emotions. Maybe this is a needed thing. I have had a few very emotional reactions when I have returned to visit places that connect my past (self).

There is no shortage of songs about hometowns, returning home, a love left behind, etc., and I have a number of favourites that I wanted to round up for my blog.

I really like the messages and lyrics in a recent new song and nostalgic video created by this musician:

I still love this music video about Thunder Bay:

I love this sentimental one by Snow Patrol:

I thought this video was cool too — not a song about a hometown, but an animation:

Do you have a favourite “hometown” song to share? Do you have a song about your own hometown or another place you like to visit? What hometowns might mean to each of us can be complex and personal but the frequent question often is, “Where are you from?”


Nothing Good Comes Easy

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Somehow I was drawn to this song with the same title I have used for this post. (Also the first I had heard of this western Canadian band.)

Our family has often discussed how it has felt like “nothing has been easy” since and also separate from the pandemic lately. As we continue to encourage our adult children to keep plugging through challenges and their efforts to improve their lives, careers and relationships, I thought the lyrics of this song might be inspiring for them, or anyone really (lyrics are in text below the video). The lead singer of the band also talks about the song’s meaning here.

While I was looking more into this rock song, I discovered a number of different songs with this same title! This led me to more listening, inspiration, and certainly an interesting mix of artists and genres! Rock, rap, electronic, and country — Here are a few below in videos (with lyrics where available).

“It’s always music that I run to when my life gets confusin’ ..”

If you have had a listen to some, let me know what you have liked or which one is your favourite. All the musicians are from Canada, except for the McClymonts (Australia). Do you have a song that helps you when you wish things were easier? Does it help you push through to reach a good outcome? Do you believe that “nothing good comes easy”? Do you know any multiple songs with the same title?

‘Old School’ Christmas Playlist


I have a number of favourite Christmas music videos saved in emails. Yes, emails — a whole file of them and mostly YouTube links. Since I have a YouTube channel that I created to upload my “16 mm film archive project“, I thought I might as well make further use of that account. I don’t have Spotify or any other music sharing app, so I thought it made sense for (old school) me and I was excited to make my very own first public playlist online 🙂 At our house, we often like to have interesting or live music videos playing on the screen while we are doing other tasks nearby. My playlist is quite eclectic so I thought I would share on my blog as there might be something for everyone there: Christmas Favs. There are three that didn’t make the cut… yet. They poke fun at families at Christmas, but maybe there is one that might give you or your family a good chuckle or be needed at some point. Here they are as well:


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No, not in the food sense of sampling. I only recently learned that it is also a term used in the music industry. Not sure how I missed that. Whereas covers of songs don’t require permission from the copyright owner, sampling does. I found a full explanation here: How Music Sampling Works.

From the article,

Few deny that it takes talent to sample a classic song effectively and use it in a new, creative way. And the practice has played a major role in shaping the entire genre of hip hop. But sampling has had a longer history and more complex legal implications than many people realize.”

Why did I get so curious about this? A Melanie song that was “sampled”, of course! It started with a video shared to a Facebook group for Melanie fans. It was an Australian hip hop band, the Hilltop Hoods, performing a song live that sampled an original Melanie song (The People in the Front Row). From what I gathered, it might be their signature song. I have never been much into hip hop and maybe it is just the pandemic isolation, but I want to be on this boat at a dance party singing along with music that includes Melanie lyrics! 😀

Such fun!

About a name


I love stories about how people got their names. My mom told me she had a different name picked out for me, but my 3 older siblings liked Sheila better than her choice (Beverly). It hasn’t been confirmed, but I have a suspicion that this popular hit song in the early 60s influenced the choice of my siblings:

I recently listened to an older Tommy Roe singing it and I think I prefer his older voice (and some happy dancing here!):

I don’t meet many Sheilas, and if I do, the spelling is often different. I have learned that my name is of Irish origin and that a sheila means a woman in Australian slang (an internet search confirmed that it is not derogatory). It doesn’t seem like there are very many famous people with the name Sheila, but I remain fine with that. I like that there is a song of my name.

Readers, were you named after a song or a famous person? Your children? Do you have a good story about how you were named, or any good story about a name to share? How about a favourite song that is based on a name?

A conversation with Melanie


Stephen Hurley and I first connected online, then later in person, because of education advocacy events and gatherings. Even though my involvement in education has lessened since then, I have continued to connect with Stephen because of music! Most Saturday nights for a number of years now, I have “met” Stephen on The Dock — his specific music related broadcast on VoicEd radio. (More recently, Sara Candela, has joined him in hosting this fun and interactive global gathering around a topic or theme in music.)

Over this time, Stephen became well aware of my favourite singer, Melanie. I would like to think that he now loves her music as much as I do! But it still came as a big surprise when he contacted me that he would be interviewing Melanie in March! Yesterday was the big day! I listened to the full recorded interview as soon as it was available. Well done, Stephen and Melanie! Some great stories were captured about the music industry, Melanie’s career over the decades, and her current musical pursuits and performances in spite of a pandemic!

Having said all that, I am so excited to link this interview on my blog! Here is the link to information about the interview and the recorded audio from Stephen’s podcast segment, On The Edge: https://www.spreaker.com/user/voicedradio/melanie-safka

Thanks again, Stephen! Here’s to more musical connections and journeys!

Time is the…

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Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

I stumbled upon this song and video recently: Time is a Killer. It features REM’s lead singer, Michael Stipe, so that might have been the draw for me, or the pandemic is drawing me to certain songs. The song is written and also sang by Rain Phoenix, River Phoenix’s sister. The song is likely a part of her healing from her loss. At first it seems a bit dark, but also soothing in a way. The lyrics start on a sad note and perhaps speak to some sad realities of our times too, but I was happy to take it all in. I ended up really appreciating the last few statements about time in the lyrics (below in bold). But, here are the lyrics from the beginning:

Everybody’s dying
To know
Where we go
When we die

Everybody’s crying
For those
Who go
Before their time

Time is the killer
Time is the killer

Everybody’s lying
When we say
We are not

Everybody is trying
So hard
To be
So brave

Time is the killer
Time is the killer

Time is the killer
Time is the killer


Everybody is blaming
The other
When things
Don’t go right

Everybody’s judging
Each other
And picking

Time is the killer
Time is the killer
Time is the mirror
Time is the healer
Time is the teacher

(Songwriters: Kirk Hellie / Rain Phoenix)

I have written thoughts about time inspired by a song before on this blog: Who Knows…?

Readers, feel free to share a song or quote that resonates with you about time.

The Day After Groundhog Day


As 2021 rolls along, as well as a pandemic, I still aim to find some celebratory moments in the special days on the calendar. Although every day can seem like “Groundhog Day” lately, the actual Groundhog Day yesterday had slipped my mind until I saw mention of it on social media!

Since I am a big Melanie fan, the day after Groundhog Day also has significance to me — It is Melanie’s birthday. This past weekend she live-streamed a performance just shy of her 74th birthday! Her commitment to making music is quite remarkable and all three of her children have musical careers. Speaking of which, Melanie also wrote a song called Groundhog Day, but it is an expression about returning to her career after a few years of being more focused on motherhood.

People will most likely remember Melanie with the mention of her pop-style hit in the 70s, Brand New Key. Fans know there is so much more to her musical palette. I often suggest listening to the contrast between Brand New Key and Beautiful People.

If you would like to do so:

A early version of Brand New Key:

A couple of other ways to enjoy Brand New Key: One of her daughters who is an established country singer covers it here; and for a different experience, the music of the song on a 100 year old organ here!

I have posted to my blog before about her song, Beautiful People (If you look for it…). What is more beautiful than Beautiful People?: Watching her record the song — from the initial attempts to the final product!

Melanie has had different styles of music over the decades and her songs continue to be an important part of the stages of my life — and now during a pandemic. I hope she has many happy returns of the day!

My Vinyl

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Photo by Eric Krull on Unsplash

Music has been of great comfort during this Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic has also led to a lot of going through boxes and collections of things and making some decisions — keep, donate, or toss?

I have written before about my “45” vinyl collection and I think I might be ready to let it go now. From time to time, I pull out the index card in the storage tote to check if I really did buy a certain title or not when different songs or bands come up in conversation. I could probably keep that list. But as I look through my collection of forty-three 45’s, I really don’t think I would ever play many, if not most, of the songs again (on turntable or otherwise). There is a lot of high school in that little tote!

I have two that I think I would listen to again for sure — my first purchase and my last!. I mentioned those two in my first “45” post — From Melanie to Squeeze! But I can find both on YouTube for a good listen or a live performance.

So I may finally weed this old collection down to few and figure out where to donate the rest. Muskrat Love, anyone? Bohemian Rhapsody? Oh, but I do have a stack of Beatles 45’s that I got from older members in my family so maybe I will hang onto those…. Will I get to this same stage of letting go with my “LP” collection?

Do you have a song or two that makes you instantly think of high school? Good or bad, or both? Do you still have the song(s) handy? If so, in what format do you listen to them? Did you ever play the B side of 45’s? Do you have any “45” advice for me?

When it all comes together…


When it all comes together for a good cause…

I came across a 2020 Pittsburgh Earth Day anthem by Voices for the Earth a little late for the day, but I enjoyed checking it out nonetheless.  I enjoy listening to many covers or remakes of songs in general, but this particular anthem is a Melanie Safka original, Lay Down (Candles in the Rain).  I can’t say the song is in my top 5 favourites of Melanie’s, but it was a breakthrough hit of hers in the U.S. in 1970.  She wrote it after performing (in the rain) at Woodstock (1969) and being inspired by the experience and the audience.

I thought the video of the “behind the scenes” in the making of this new version (50 years later) was very impressive and well done.


Melanie’s 1970 recording of it was a collaboration with the Edwin Hawkins Singers (usually known for their 1969 hit, Oh Happy Day).  This video starts with an interview about her inspiration for the song and her vision to include a gospel choir, followed by a live performance in The Netherlands:


Hope you enjoyed both (Melanie fan or not 🙂 )  I think it is cool how and why both recordings of the song came together — 50 years apart.

“And we all sang the songs of peace… “

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