Irish Tears was another tune written during my coffee house heyday period. As with most Americans born in the states, I have a mixed bag of ancestors. On my father’s side of the family, I have Scots ancestors in my family tree of genetic code.
When I was young I heard the term “Scots-Irish” and somehow came to believe that my ancestry included both Scots and Irish. Apparently, the more accurate genealogical term is Ulster Scots. Later in life, I have learned that my Scots ancestors migrated from the lowlands of Scotland to Ireland in the early 17th century in order to work on the Plantation of Ulster. So, maybe there was intermarrying between my Scots ancestors and Irish folks during that time; I don’t know.
Irish Tears is about social issues
One of the major social issues in the 20th century for the people of Ireland was what came to be known as The Troubles. In writing Irish Tears, I sought to express my impressions of the conflict in Northern Ireland, as an outsider. As a personal disclaimer, I have not been to Ireland and I have no personal experience of living there. I have only read books and seen movies that take place in that part of the world. I’ve also known a few folks from Ireland. What I have come to learn is that the conflict there began centuries ago. And, it boiled over into concentrated unrest and violence in the late 1960’s which lasted for three decades.
In the song lyrics, I wanted to evoke a feeling of shock and disgust without taking sides about who was right and wrong in that conflict. As with all other wars and violence around the world, I think it’s the children who are impacted the worst. If they live, they must deal with the horror of it and survive the insanity somehow in the aftermath.
“Sun shines down on the cold, burnt ground where the children never smile
Joy ride cars roll through landscape scars, it’s a war zone, mile by mile
Sticks and stones turn to guns and bombs in the hands of a nine year old
Irish blood falls on bitter soil, mixing in with Irish tears”
U2 – a Part of my Inspiration
I had heard a song in the early 1980’s by U2 (an Irish band) called Sunday, Bloody Sunday. Their powerful musical statement got my attention. It was a part of my inspiration to write Irish Tears later on.
I must have succeeded in capturing something in my musical exploration and expression. When I played Irish Tears for one Irish gentleman I had met, he connected with the song so much that he asked for a copy of the recorded version. I would be curious to hear other responses from Emerald Isle folks upon hearing what I consider to be one of my hardest hitting and emotional songs.
I chose not to include Irish Tears on my album, Older and Wiser. So, if you want to hear it and get a free download (as well as read the liner notes for it), click here.