Musical Pieces on TumbleStone, Numbers 11 to 20

The first ten TumbleStone Posts which included music in them are listed in two previous Posts (1-5 and 6-10). These are the next ten.

11) “And the thought becomes the memory…” – This line from “Maybe Tomorrow” by the New Zealand pop group Goldenhorse shares this Post with simply one photo of a small polished translucent agate pebble from Birdlings Flat. Whose thought (of what) becomes this stone which becomes a memory (of itself, or of the original thought)? I don’t know, I just love the song and its melody and tunefulness, just like I love the agates from Birdlings Flat. “Maybe Tomorrow” is from the 2002 Album “Riverhead” and was the most played local song on NZ radio in 2003. The group produced its last song in 2007. Goldenhorse’s lead vocalist Kirsten Morrell initially trained to sing classical music and this is often reflected in her vocals. 

12) “Soul of Southland…” – A Southland stone, a Southland song. John Grenell is New Zealand’s best known country singer. He grew up in Central Otago and Dunedin, and recorded his first album in 1963. He originally sang as John Hore, using his stepfather’s surname, but later changed to his original family surname of Grenell. “Soul of Southland” comes from his 2013 Album “Welcome to My World”. John lives at Whitecliffs, on a Canterbury foothills farm, and breeds Appaloosa horses. He is interested in the outdoor environment, particularly high country tussock and watershed areas. The Whitecliffs Family Music Festival was hosted by John and his wife Deirdre for many years on the farm. My mother’s favourite New Zealand singer was John Hore. He is also the only songwriter I know to include Waikaka (my tiny hometown) in the lyrics of a song. He wrote the New Zealand version of “I’ve Been Everywhere” with local place names in 1966 and although he sometimes changes the place-names, at least one version includes Waikaka:

…I’ve been everywhere man, I’ve been everywhere man
I’ve crossed the desert bare man,
I’ve breathed the mountain air man
Of travel I’ve had my share man
I’ve been everywhere

I’ve been to
Kaharoa Whangaroa Akaroa Motueka
Taramoa Benmore Pongaroa Horoeka
Rimutaka Te Karaka Whangarei
Nuhaka Waimahaka Motuhura Waikaka…

13) “A Stepping Stone…” – “Windstar Aotearoa” is a song that has within it a reference to a stone. I’m always on the lookout for them. The song was written and sung by the New Zealand country singer John Grenell (see # 12 above), featured on his 1991 Album “Windstar-Aotearoa”and also on his 2013 Album “Welcome to My World”. In the CD liner notes, Grenell notes that he wrote the song with New Zealand’s celebration of its sesquicentennial in 1990 in mind, 150 years since the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. He goes on to write: “I dedicate [this song] to the WINDSTAR FOUNDATION folks, which is a movement of people and friends whose purpose is to educate and demonstrate appropriate technologies in food production, harmonious lifestyles, enabling people to operate at their highest potential in an environmentally conscious manner.” 

14) “You run from the river, when it long ran over you…” – Dave Dobbyn is one of New Zealand’s most prolific and successful recording musicians. As he grew older, his music became less about drinking and more about thinking. His songs reflect many aspects of New Zealand identity and landscape, and a number of them have been used to represent the country in many different contexts. As Nick Bollinger has put it: “His songs are sung at weddings and funerals – not just those of everyday citizens but also civic leaders. They are performed for visiting dignitaries, hollered spontaneously at boozy sing-alongs, adopted as campaign songs for major sporting events. At different times, in different situations, he seems to speak – or at least sing – for the whole country.” This song, “Beside You”, was first recorded in 1999 on Dobbyn’s Album “The Islander”. It was recorded again in 2000 in the Album “Together In Concert – Live”, from a concert tour Dobbyn undertook with Tim Finn and Bic Runga. This TumbleStone Post links the reference to a river in the lyrics to the river that ran through the farm on which I grew up at Waikaka.

15) “When the stars go blue…” – I first heard this song performed by the Corrs with U2’s Bono. Then I learned that it had been written by Ryan Adams, a US alternative country singer-songwriter, and I enjoyed his version when he sang it. It was then natural to link it to a blue stone. “When the stars go blue” was first released on the 2001 album “Gold”. 

16) “Step outside, take a look at the stars…” – Central to this Post is the idea that stones are in stars and stars are in stones, taken from the book “The Planet in a Pebble: A Journey into Earth’s Deep History” (2010) by British geologist Jan Zalasiewicz. The song used in the Post is “Making Contact” by the Canadian musician, Bruce Cockburn. This song appeared on his 1984 Album “Stealing Fire”. Cockburn is my long-time favourite, having discovered him when I was studying in Vancouver, Canada, in the mid-1980s. I used his songs in my lectures from time to time. One in particular called “Call It Democracy” I used in a course on development issues in Latin America. I even presented an academic conference paper on Cockburn in 1992, “Waiting for a Miracle: Geography and Bruce Cockburn’s Political Pop” (see photos below). In recognition of his lifelong contributions to Canada music, culture and social activism, Cockburn has been awarded (among many other things) seven honorary doctorates, received the Order of Canada in 1983, and was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Canadian Broadcast Hall of Fame in 2002. In 2011, the Canadian Postal Service issued a Bruce Cockburn stamp (photo below), stating “Singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn is best-known for using his music to bring attention to important issues, such as politics, poverty and the environment, believing that songs can be a catalyst for social change.”  

17) “Yellow” – A song called “Yellow” naturally links to a stone with yellow in it. “Yellow” appeared on Coldplay‘s debut Album “Parachutes” (2000). 

18) “Nothing but the sun…” – There is a particular kind of quartzite stone that I found on Birdlings Flat that looks like it has gold foil flowing through it. It is as if the sun shines within it. The song “Nothing But the Sun” is by Runrig (see # 7 in The Second Five Musical Pieces on TumbleStone) from their 1995 Album “Mara”.

19) “Isn’t that what friends are for?” – This is perhaps my most favourite Bruce Cockburn song (see #18 above). It is from his 1999 Album “Breakfast in New Orleans, Dinner in Timbuktu”. Cockburn made the following comments about the origins of the song: “The ‘you’… is my friend Jonatha Brooke who’s formally of a group called The Story… Jonatha and I had been going through similar things at a distance from each other, sort of upheavals in our respective lives, and comparing notes over the phone for a while and we finally actually got a chance after many months [to meet]. One of the weird things about being a touring musician is that you make friends with other people who do what you do but you only see them when you sort of flash past each other waving on the bus, or at the occasional festival. Once in a while you get lucky enough that you actually end up in the same place at the same time, with time to spend. Eventually this happened with me and Jonatha. While I was waiting for her to show up at the designated rendezvous point, I ended up writing that song based on our phone conversations and a few other bits and pieces from my notebook.” 

20)“‘It Dawned on Me’ – I’ll light a beacon” – What do you do with stones once you have polished them? One of the things you can do is put a candle in a glass container and surround it with stones. I used a Dave Dobbyn (see #14 above) song with a line about lighting a beacon. “It Dawned on Me” came from Dobbyn’s 1994 Album “Twist”.

The next five musical pieces used in TumbleStone Posts can be found here.

Author: tumblestoneblog

Retired Academic, male, living in the New Zealand countryside with his wife, two cats (Ollie and Fluffy), two horses (Dancer and Penny) and a shed half-full of stones. Email john.tumblestone@gmail.com.

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