Join Folk Singer and Songwriter Jenni Mansfield Peal at Poor David’s Pub in Dallas for an evening of spooky balladry and humor Saturday, October 30. Jenni is a winner PDP’s annual BW Stevenson Songwriting Contest, and will be bringing her new and favorite originals to this one-woman show. This show will be recorded for use on Jenni’s upcoming album, Receiver, due for release in 2022. Attendees are encouraged to dress as their favorite dead character from a song. Tickets are $20 at the door and in advance at www.poordavidspub.com.
If you have visited the Alamo in San Antonio, TX, you know that many stories converged there. Susanna Dickinson had come with her husband Col. Almeron Dickinson from Tennessee. She and their baby, Angelina, endured the siege and were then taken to Gen. Sam Houston’s camp in Gonzales. Not long after, Houston would stage the Battle of San Jacinto, winning all the Mexican-claimed land north of the southern Rio Grande border, which would become US territory when Texas became a state. Booklets provided by the keepers of the Alamo count 189 Texan combatants in the thirteen-day Alamo siege. In my song, Susanna counts herself to make a total of 190.
Live music has gone digital in the age of COVID-19. Here is my part in a Dallas Songwriters Association songwriter showcase that streamed on Facebook and YouTube, March 27, 2021. Songs on mountain dulcimer: Putting On the Old Folk’s Clothes, The Milkmaid and Her Pail. Plus: Everyone is Equal At The Laundromat, Two Sisters, You Disappointed Me, and Receiver.
Here is a song that I started singing as a Renaissance Faire performer, 1982-1985, accompanied by mountain dulcimer. Nobody said a word about my off-period Ozark Mountain Dulcimer at Scarborough Faire; my songs, I tried to keep reasonably in period, in spirit, style and topic if not age. Fair Maid is a ballad from a very old family of trans-man, or anyway crossdressing, sailor and soldier folk ballads.
When Pegasus Project formed in 1991, I switched to guitar for the change from grove to stage. Everybody in the Band is in on this and I love that it ends with some jolly horn pipes on Linda’s fiddle.
It’s Saint Patrick’s Day Week, a time of the year when Pegasus Project was very busy in the years 1991-1993. Here’s a song I always enjoyed singing. Rupert Crabb plays accordion and Bodhran in this track. Linda Relph accompanies on fiddle and back-up vocals, then springs into a lively fiddle tune at the end.
Jenni sings and plays Bodhran for the band’s take on this old Scottish song; Rupert adds a second Bodhran. Linda, brilliant as always, adds the fiddle back up and ending tune. Recorded in 1992 for our album Ascension (no longer available.)
Through the next few months I will be making my earlier recordings available here online. I hope you enjoy them!
My song South Wind was recorded in 1990 not long after I won that year’s B.W. Stevenson Songwriting Contest in Dallas at Poor David’s Pub. A fellow contestant, Jim Jones (yes, that Jim Jones, the famous song and fiction writer in New Mexico) helped me by producing my first album of original songs, Big Wind.
The melody is also called South Wind, a traditional Irish harp and fiddle tune. This recording features Linda Relph on fiddle. This four-time California State Champ fiddler (just by 1990) had recently moved to Dallas, and we met at a Celtic Music Session at the old Tipperary Inn on Lower Greenville Avenue in Dallas. We later formed a band together with folk singer, Bodhran player and accordionist Rupert Crabb called Pegasus Project. We played hard for about three years and it was a blast.
Here’s a sassy song I wrote for my Flood album, while I was still living in Austin, around 2001. Nine Eleven caused fear in the capitol area where I worked and difficulties with flights I depended on for my job. At that time, I worked for the Texas Education Agency as a Special Education Monitor. And to top it all off, a few weeks later, I thought I heard that my old musical friend Bob Williford in Dallas had taken a trip to Australia and loved it so much he moved there. Still don’t know where I got that idea; maybe it was a bad dream. I loved my five years in Austin, but I missed my friends in Dallas, where I grew up and where I had started my musical career.
In the song, the character is a floozy who likes to hang out with muscular truckers. It’s one of my over-the-toppers that amuses me so much. I hope you like it.