Trying To Get It Right


SKU: 1995 Category:


“I had to read the liner
notes a couple of times. I was sure that MacLeod hadn’t written the songs but
instead had recorded old standards of years gone by…”
– Babs DeLay, Network

With a spare, often chilling lyric style and a voice that shimmers like an arrow
in sunlight, Salt Lake City’s Kate MacLeod delivers original songs in the folk
tradition. These are songs that will pass freely to other singers. She plays guitar, harmonica and fiddle, superbly.
“Alaska” sketches the moody inner monologue of a drifter. “Angels on my Mind”
is written from the point of view of a miner who was ill, home from work, the
day that the fire in the Wilberg Mine broke out near Orangeville, Utah, Dec.
19, 1984:

“Maybe someday, maybe someday, they will find a replacement for the hard hearted
black coal
Then leave the mines lazy, let them lie lazy
Let them lie lazy,
those dark shafted fire holes
Angels on my mind…”

Like a fine painter, MacLeod captures not only her subject matter, but the space
around it, and the feel of time passing, by seconds, by generations.
Trying To Get It Right ends with Jean Ritchie’s “None But One”. An apt choice.
Kate MacLeod is a worthy musical descendent of Ms. Ritchie, a songwriter worthy
of the name, folksinger.

1. Lark In The Morning
2. Alaska
3. Angels On My Mind
4. Me And My Medicine
5. Prairyerth
6. Pawn Shop Man
7. Welfare Line
8. Alabama Midwife
9. Play The Piano With Style
10. Some Things Are Easy

11. Gospel Songs
12. None But One


A little house outside of the city with one on either side
A row house, they all look the same, until you go inside
June, young once and fair, we never did wonder why
That June, young once and fair was the star in our uncle’s sky

Every meal his hands would fold and a priestly prayer would come alive
Then after the meal his napkin would fold and he’d play the piano with style
Laughter like an old piano that I heard when I was new
No lonesome note was what we would play and any old song would do
Would do, when any old song would do

Two children played in the yard, they ran through the water from the hose
Then more children played in the yard, they ran through the water from the hose
We knew hot summer nights, everyone sat out on the lawn
I heard that he worked up the street, he did everyone’s laundry all day long
All day long

Holidays were when we’d meet, and everybody goes
A feast is good for the soul, that son of a depression knows
A crucifix hung over his head and I couldn’t go to sleep for a while
I knew that if he couldn’t sleep then he’d play the piano with style
With style, he’d play the piano with style

A good day was all that it took to make the laughter in his eye
And June, she never had much, but she couldn’t have picked a better guy
This is how we remember and how we keep it alive
Play the piano, play the piano, play the piano with style
Play the piano, play the piano, play the piano with style

“Play The Piano With Style” is Kate MacLeod’s tribute to her uncle. In the second verse, we follow his hands from prayer though the meal to the piano keys. In verse three, the melody changes slightly to mimic the motion of children running through the sprinkler, and these two lines capture a sense of time passing in an afternoon. It’s the writer’s graceful way of recreating subtle, magical moments of childhood that make this one such a delight – she paints herself lying awake, not because she knows her uncle is going to play, but because she knows that he might play.


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