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Music

Jim Colbert
2009-12-02
Jim Colbert
2009-11-27
© James P. Colbert

Story

This song was the winner of the first Pennsylvania Heritage Songwriting Competition. In May 1962, a vein of exposed anthracite coal caught fire at the town dump in Centralia, Pennsylvania. I was about 6 months old. I am 48, and that fire is still burning today.

Jim Colbert
2011-02-03
James P. Colbert

Story

I played this song the very first night I played in public, at the open mic at Daniels in the Bush House, Bellefonte. I thought it was a throwaway at the time, but the host encouraged me to play some more and I was scrambling to think what other songs I knew. I played this and Jeremy Tosten, a fine guitar player and songwriter, stopped playing pool and came over and listened intently. For better or worse, people seem to like the song. The song came from a true story; a girl I was dating back around 1980 moved to New Mexico with her mom... they took the train. I was devastated. Twenty years later, when I finally got a guitar and learned to play some, it turned into happy little ragtime chords. This recording came from a demonstration of home recording during a workshop I took hosted by Stacy Tibbets a number of years ago now... we recorded this in Stacy's dining room, I believe, as separate guitar and vocal tracks. (Had time permitted I would have done a scratch track first, this was just one take on guitar, one take on vocal and a quick mixdown.)

Lyrics

I typically play this capo'd at 3 out of a G position, so sounds in Bb, although now and then i'll move it to 4 and play it in B. The basic progression is "Salty Dog:" G, E7, A7, D7. I used to love when Doug Anderson added some ragtime lead guitar over this on his well-loved Froggy Bottom.

Jim Colbert
2012-11-25
James P. Colbert
Jim Colbert
2011-02-02
James P. Colbert

Story

This is just a home practice session, recorded to the little portable Edirol. No editing, no EQ, no tweaking, just live as it happened.

Lyrics

I don’t know how (to watch you walk away)

He said words have always been my friends I know
But sometimes there are places they can’t go
Mountains that they cannot climb
Comfort they cannot provide
Words can fail you when need them so

He said I wanted her when we were still in school
That small steel town had forged itself a jewel
But nights that were not mine to keep
Years that fell beneath my feet
Are etched into the memory of a fool

I don’t know how to watch you walk away
Even though I try more every day
Seasons turn and people change
Some dreams just stay out of range
I don’t know how to watch you walk away

I guess she needed more than I could be
Less emotion more stability
Her children do not know my name
I think about them just the same
Faces that I doubt I’ll never see

I don’t know how to watch you walk away
Even though I try more every day
Seasons  change and people die
Some dreams just remain alive
I don’t know how to watch you walk away

He said these memories are the ones I choose to keep
When morning thunder rolls across the deep
In the early morning rain my pillow turns to her again
I smell her hair and drift on back to sleep

I don’t know how to watch you walk away
Even though I try more every day
Seasons fade and years grow cold
Some dreams were not made to hold
I don’t know how to watch you walk away

I typically play this song capo'd at 3, out of a G position, so key of Bb. Other than some embellishments with hammer-ons, it's G, C, Am, D, D7

Jim Colbert
2010-04-22
James P. Colbert
Jim Colbert
2011-02-02
James P. Colbert
Jim Colbert
2010-03-05
James P. Colbert

Story

When I was a young boy growing up in Johnstown, I had 4 real heroes: John Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, Bruno Sammartino, and Pirates uniform #21, Roberto Clemente. Clemente died heading into New Years day 1973, flying an overloaded, not-airworthy plane full of relief supplies to Nicaraguan earthquake victims. His last time at bat, he hit his 3000th hit.

Lyrics

Clemente

(a capella)

The first time that I’m sure I cried
Was on the day Clemente died
Moonlit wings fell from the sky
Into dark and trembling waters
All that passion, all that pride
Lost to the Atlantic skies
But legacies won’t be denied
And heroes never fade

Hail Roberto, full of grace
Sweat and pride mixed on his face
From the right field wall
Down to third base
With an arm just like a cannon
Stats alone can’t tell the tale
Dreamers dream, they lways will
Golden gloves and golden sails
And heroes never fade

Jim Colbert
0000-00-00
James P. Colbert

Story

Winner of the 2007 Susquehanna Folk music Society Songwriting Competition. Remind me to tell you that story some time...

Jim Colbert
2009-12-03
James P. Colbert

Story

This was the first song I ever wrote that when I was done I thought, "gee, that almost sounds like a real song." Key of Bb; G capo'd at 3

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What's next?

  • October 27, 2017
    Avenue 209 Coffeehouse ,  Lock Haven, PA
     
  • October 28, 2017
    Fort Hunter Barn ,  Harrisburg, PA