for the roses
Al Grierson (1948-2000)

"Shoot the stars, shoot the moon, the keeper of the yellow rose has left too soon, there's still satin slippered ballerinas waiting on a chance for the poet's final dance." (Annie Wenz)

Melanie and Sherry-Lynn (Al Grierson) sung by Gary Martin and Heidi Mueller (left) "Melanie and Sherry-Lynn could fill most any day with crocuses and daffodils and independent ways. And if there dreams should disappear like the hoboes leaving town, they'll carry on till the rainbow comes around. And the world goes around in circles like a crazy ferris wheel, and its good to know there's a place to go until the hurt begins to heal, where your troubles melt like starlight on a chocolate ice cream cone and your old enough to make it on your own." (Al Grierson)

Poet's Final Dance (Annie Wenz) Annie Wenz tells of her love potion Number Nine and Hot Dreams  that she traded for Al Grierson's Kerrville Folk Festival Sanitation Crew t-shirt. "Was that night just like a box car slipping through a velvet sky was that river like a blanket, did you open up your eyes, I heard you rode that thunder like a cowboy on a stage, I dreamed that you were singing when you met the holy sage." (Annie Wenz)

Petals (part 4) sung by Steve Brooks ". . . And it'll be you and me honey up in North Field Minnesota where the living ended bloody up in chains and as we dragged them from the streets we'll be ashamed to tell the dying that they maybe should have stuck to robbing trains, and though love is like a river you can never really break it, you can shape it on the anvil of despair and is there still a trace of lead on the fingers of the dead that pull the petals from the flowers in your hair . . ." (Al Grierson)

Silly Little People (Al Grierson) Bruce Newman, Barnstormers Studio and his partner Carol. "Silly little people with silly little world, silly little globe where silly boy meets silly girl, silly little appetites, silly little seeds, none of it amounting to a silly hill of beans, oh golly gee why don't we act our age, we're all just bloody actors on some silly cosmic stage, just hanging out at Sardi's while we wait for our review, too trivial for tragedy too big for the blues . . ." (Al Grierson at Kerrville left)

Steve Brooks: "I just wanted to mention Casablanca was by far Al's favourite film. He had a couple of friends with whom he could sit up for hours reciting most of the scenes of dialogue from the film."

The Wild Dogs of Kitwanga (Al Grierson) Joyce Woodson speaks of  Al Grierson's The Endless Fascination That Jesse Had With Trains which he wrote for her. "If you don't know, in his twenties he worked on the Canadian railroad and he had some great stories and memories about that . . . I always felt that Al had a great, love and passion for the disenfranchised, the lost, the orphaned, the confused, and he had tremendous love and understanding for those people,  so the orphan dogs in this song I feel like represent the disenfranchised." Joyce Woodson

Anne Feeney: "Has anyone yet mentioned how Al would just fall head over heels in love at the sound of one Joyce Woodson song? He'd go home and write sonnets and these incredible . . ."

Petals (part 5) sung by Steve Brooks "Come and be my love give me hope and give me shelter, lay me down between the lion and the lamb, see me safely through the slaughter down beside the peaceful waters there and love me till I don't know who I am. It will be you and me at the apocalypse honey as the world goes up in flames and everybody acts surprised they've got that look there in their eyes, that there's a man going around just taking names . . ." (Al Grierson)

The Widow's Lament (Al Grierson) sung by Anne Feeney "One thing that ought to be clear to anybody's  that's listening to this by now is, Al had so much reverence and knew so many traditional tunes and his writing was so grounded in them. One night while Al and I were both still drinking we started an absolute marathon drunk at the end of the Portland Folk Alliance. We opened the bar at 10am and we closed it at somewhere around one in the morning, this Irish boy came walking over to us and he sat down with this great look of concern on his face and said: "I fear you have Brendan Behan's disease . . . And Al and I just howled" (Anne Feeney)

Unknown original song by Andy Gibson "First met Al the first year he was here, came driving up in a rent car, he used to say my wife Marti and I were the first people he met when he got here, hope we didn't make too bad an impression on him, he stayed. Al was one of probably one of the half dozen or so people when I would write a song I couldn't wait to get up here to share it with him. He's going to be greatly missed.  'Now you're gone, things you need most they don't stay around for long. In like the wind it's here and its gone blowing a breeze through the trees to whisper in your song'."

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