for the roses
Al Grierson (1948-2000)

"The part about Al's and my legendary drunken day I didn't tell you was from 10am until 2am we traded fourth generation songs back and forth without a repeat. Al's repertoire was endless, I think his writing was so respectful of the tradition but infused it with something new, fresh and modern . . ." (Anne Feeney)

Prologue to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales performed by Mike Williams: "And I'm reminded me of a character who lived six or seven hundred years ago named Geoffrey Chaucer who was something of a storyteller and those of you who survived High School English may remember this and if you do say it along with me, its in middle English with a North Carolina accent, its the first eighteen lines of the prologue of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and if you don't understand the words then just listen to the crickets and they'll tell you the same story . . ."

Petals (part 6) sung by Steve Brooks "And it looks like Rhett and Scarlet at the burning of Atlanta on the background on some old time movie screen or like Warren Beatty and Diane Keaton, all wrapped up in each others arms, while the movie orchestra plays the Internationale and in the background the Bolsheviks are taking the city and they are so wrapped in each other they don't even seem to notice and you have to wonder if that's how it really happened, how John Reed wrote ten days that shook that world, and its a long way back to 1917 . . ." (Al Grierson)

Ashes and Bones (Brian QTN) sung by Brian Cutean aka QTN, accompanied by Donna Henschell and Kelly Mulhollan of Still On The Hill. "Ashes and bones, another traveller has gone home, spent a lifetime on his own, for certain purpose nearly unknown, ashes and bones, he broke the mirror when he crossed the river, he found his meaning and lost his person, now another traveller has gone home . . ."

Chris Chandler performs a poem to Al Grierson sequed with Weary Hobo (Reeve Goebels) sung by Anne Feeney 

"So here's the dippers ladelling out poems across the night sky, and to the scorpion, and the virgin and to the moon herself and here's to the silent spaces between the star and here's to Al now a lone star constellation in the north western sky, in the vast open spaces between the words of a poem." (Chris Chandler)  

"Go to sleep you weary hobo, let the towns drift slowly by, can't you hear the steel rails humming that's the hobo's lullaby." (Anne Feeney)

Stephen Taylor (unknown song): "I first met Al at a songwriters retreat at Martha's Vineyard. Nobody stood out  on a street in Martha's Vineyard probably more than Al Grierson. Blew us away. We all went to a workshop with Bob Frankey and he gave us an assignment and Al disapeared for about four hours and then we all gathered at a little coffeehouse where we would perform and blew us away with this epic song. I was fortunate enough to live in Luckenbach on the Armadillo Farm where Al resided. Used to call him up and tell him I'd written a new song, come down and hear it, fix him a cup of tea and he'd sit in my motorhome, Al was so stoked when he heard a new song and I miss him."

"My names Carol and thankful for the opportunity to talk about my feelings for Al . . . I thought of him as patron saint of my romance. Patron saint of my romance who to hold the candle now and lead the dance, present from the beginning to this momentous crack in time, who now to guide me through the maze of my heart's valentine . . ."

Steve Gillette?: "Way off in the distance there's a long train humming, there's a stillness like a storms coming, there's the lonesome sound of a radio somewhere fading in and out, come and gone on the restless wind . . ."

Petals (part 7) sung by Steve Brooks ". . . and there ain't no second coming, ain't no comes the revolution, just a rainbow sign dissolving in the air, time was, time shall be no more, there's no more peace and no more war and no more petals on the flowers in your hair. Until its you and me honey at another new creation watching God set down the needle in the groove . . ." (Al Grierson)








Clint Harding of KDHX, St. Louis. Clint is responsible for the recording of this memorable tribute to Al Grierson. "I host a singer songwriter radio programme up in St. Louis and I met Al several years ago when some friends of his brought him into my studio for a few tunes on the air . . . Anytime I played an Al Grierson song I'd get a note from Al bringing me up to speed on what he'd been doing lately and at the end he'd always say  'Thanks for the spin. For the roses Al.' It was ironic that I heard about his passing on the Folk DJ list. I'd been off line for a couple of days and I went on, on that Friday I think it was and there were a string of notes about Al in the subject line and you get that sick feeling. Somebody posted in there: 'Gee its too bad that the passing of somebody like Al is not going to be treated in the news like Princess Di, CNN, NBC there not even going to touch it.  Well  I have a a very good friend who is a senior editor or was a senior editor at . . ." (Clint Harding)

For The Roses (Steve Brooks) "A coyote cries to the Luckenbach moon, the hobo has taken his train, the rose we were smelling this morning in bloom is lying by the tracks in the rain. For the roses For the roses, Here's to the poet was picked in his prime. For the roses, For the roses. For the roses. You were never destined to die on the vine but washed down the river of time."

"He remains with us, his spirit will always be here at the Kerrville folk festival. Al's ashes have been scattered all over the western hemisphere and parts of the eastern as well. They are now part of the Koleachy dust that will be forever part of the quiet valley ranch Al will also be in the hearts of all of us whose lives he touched. the hundreds of us who were his best friends while he was making his way across this earth and he made everyone of us feel like his best friend. And Al will live on in the music he left us, in the hundreds of songs.  Its up to each one of us to keep Al alive by keeping that music alive. Thank you all for coming and God bless Al." (Steve Brooks)
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Anne Feeney recorded Al Grierson's Flowers of Auschwitz and Widow's Lament on her "Have You Been To Jail For Justice" album.

Utah Phillips Radio Show Loafer's Glory No. 75 included a tribute to his friend Al Grierson which featured performances of Petals and Dustbowl Don Quixote. (Thanks to Miscreant Sister Kate in the Sierra Nevadas)

On the death of his friend, songwriter Jack Hardy wrote the emotive Ghost of Grierson and performed it shortly afterwards at a coffeehouse in Massachusetts. The song can be heard on Jack Hardy's website.

Ray Wylie Hubbard performs Al Grierson's Resurrection on his Dangerous Spirits album.

Al Grierson provided the licence plates for the artwork of Vince Bell's Texas Plates album.

The Ragamuffin's thank all the performers here for their art and dedication to the real stuff.