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Richard Thompson: Meet on the Ledge

From Maggi Landau, Caramoor’s Artistic Director of American Roots Music:

A close friend of mine hosts lively dinner parties mixing exotic foods, unlikely pairings of people, and free flowing spirits. These convivial gatherings last late into the night, fueled by many elements including far reaching conversations.

One night following a poignant memorial service, while ruminating on the musical choices of the service, we delved into the songs we’d want sung at our memorials.

Legendary guitarist Richard Thompson’s song “Meet on the Ledge” sung by Sandy Denny with their band Fairport Convention, the seminal 1960’s era British folk rock band, was my choice. Juxtaposing hope and disappointment, the optimism of youth with the interceding realities of life, the song reaffirms the importance of friends and friendships.

We used to say “There’d come the day we’d all be making songs
Or finding better words” These ideas never lasted long
The way is up along the road, the air is growing thin
Too many friends who tried, blown off this mountain with the wind
Meet on the ledge, we’re going to meet on the ledge
When my time is up, I’m going to see all my friends
Meet on the ledge, we’re going to meet on the ledge
If you really mean it, it all comes around again
Yet now I see, I’m all alone, but that’s the only way to be
You’ll have your chance again, then you can do the work for me
Meet on the ledge, we’re going to meet on the ledge
When my time is up, I’m going to see all my friends
Meet on the ledge, we’re going to meet on the ledge
If you really mean it, it all comes around again
Meet on the ledge, we’re going to meet on the ledge
When my time is up, I’m going to see all my friends
Meet on the ledge, we’re going to meet on the ledge
If you really mean it, it all comes around again

Maggi Landau is a fervent folk music fan.  For the past 9 years she has had the pleasure of serving as Caramoor’s Artistic Director for American Roots Music programming where she created the annual American Roots Music Festival and the Roots Music in the Music Room series.  Prior to joining Caramoor, Maggi was the Executive Vice President of the Madison Square Park Conservancy which oversees Madison Square Park in NYC and artistic director for music programming in Madison Square Park where she curated the Mad Sq Music series, and created the Mad Sq Studio series showcasing emerging artists from around the country. 

Danny Schmidt: Company of Friends

From Maggi Landau, Artistic Director, American Roots Music, Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts:

Many songs from the American Roots realm (folk, blues, bluegrass, country, gospel, cajun, string band, traditional, and more genres) are cultural touchstones, songs that just about everyone knows.  Songs like “Blowin’ In the Wind”, “Stand By Your Man”, “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands”.  But there are hundreds, if not thousands, of lesser known songs being sung in local song circles, small coffee houses, regional festivals that, if given the opportunity, would also find their way into the canon of songs with the power to touch and move any listener.

I first heard the “Company of Friends” around 10 years ago sung and penned by a young Austin, Texas based singer songwriter named Danny Schmidt.  It’s the kind of song where the lyrics pierce your heart.  Where you know exactly what he means. And what you want to embrace for yourself. It’s a universal anthem and a true touchstone. This version from from 2008 is sung by Danny and his now wife Carrie Elkin.

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