Shanties and Sea Songs

It’s 11:30 on Saturday evening and I finally can catch my breath.  I have been go go go going like the energizer bunny and now I am back in my home sweet home.  energizer-bunnyI just finished playing a gig in my hood at a beautiful home in Montford on Pearson.  I played with Ben Scales, an awesome singer songwriter and guitar player.  He is such a great friend and his wife Cate and I are exactly one day apart so that is super cool.  In addition, I jammed with a talented banjo guy from New Hampshire, Kevin Scanlin.  He taught me about Shanties and sea songs.  No I am not talking about panties and g string thongs.  Ha ha….I really thought a shanty was a shack, like the line I have heard in a song, “Sitting around the shanty puttin’ a good buzz on.”    So another term for shanty that Kevin told me in so many words,   “Shanties are the work songs that were used on the tall-rigged ships of the Age of Sail. Their rhythms coordinated the efforts of many sailors hauling on lines. Much loved by modern sailors and folk musicians, they are rarely used as work songs today. This is because modern rigging doesn’t require many people to be working in the same rhythm for long periods.”  So this was very fascinating for me to learn sea songs and shanties from Kevin Scanlin. 

The New Zealand topsail schooner Shepherdess sails in Cook Strait about 1870.

The New Zealand topsail schooner Shepherdess sails in Cook Strait about 1870.




Last night we celebrated Andy’s birthday in Greenville, SC at Gott Rocks.  We really had a blast.  i just love my Snake Oil Family so much.  I feel like my performance and stage presence has taken on a new level.  I am getting the audience to sing more and dance and getting volunteers to get up on stage with me to sing.  It really is a delight for me to stir the band and the audience particles together and put them in one primordial soup.  I am really ready for the Big Leagues and I  want to take the gang with me.  We stick together like glue.  The gang wanted coffee before we played our gig last night.  I  really just wanted to hang out at the club and wait for them, but my band insisted that I go and stay with the pack.  I guess this  is just how we roll.  The band sticks together like a pack of dogs. 

In addition to my adventures this weekend, I got to enjoy an awesome hot tub session on Burney Mountain today.  I saw my friend Kevin and his dogs and it was really nice to connect.  It was sheer bliss to relax my weary body and my tired feet in the warm waters of the jacuzzi under a bright blue sky.  Life is good and busy as all get out.

Well its time for me to get under my sheets and rest.   I have not taken my camera around lately but I want to leave this image for you that I took while hanging with my family last week.  My little niece Josie is rocking on with some leg warmers and this photo just tickles me.   Much Love to you all…


Josie rockin in her leg warmers.

Josie rockin in her leg warmers.


3 thoughts on “Shanties and Sea Songs

  1. I love how you keep on truckin’ with this blog. Your adventures are a joy to read about. Thank you for brightening my day. And hey, in my book you are definitely Big League.

  2. You might really enjoy going back to mid-70s vinyl of Country Joe who recorded some great version of these sea songs and shanties. One of my most favorite resources is A TREASURY OF AMERICAN FOLKLORE published in 1944, complete with an entire chapter of ballads and songs. It also contains a rare inclusion of many of the old very racist children’s rhymes, jump rope rhythms, and play yard riddles.

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