November 2015 – PMN Nerfa Social Justice Song Showcase



1 of 10 Songs of the Month – Winner – “AIN’T WE BROTHERS” by Sam Gleaves


samgleaves-by-lawson1-10-20-15-04-47-26Born and raised in Wythe County, Virginia, Sam Gleaves performs innovative mountain music with a sense of history.  Sam carries on the ballads, dance music and storytelling he learned from numerous mentors in the Appalachian tradition and writes poignant new songs that tell the region’s contemporary stories. Sam’s first record of original songs, titled AIN’T WE BROTHERS, is produced by Cathy Fink and is due for release November 13, 2015. Appalachian novelist Lee Smith has heralded Sam as “the best young songwriter around . . . courageous as hell and country to the bone.”



Ain’t We Brothers – for Sam Williams
Music and lyrics written by Sam Gleaves, September 15, 2011
© 2015 Fabulachian Music, ASCAP.
I was born here, just the same as you, another time, another day.
I’m sure the good Lord took his time and made each of us just this way.
I walked beside you step by step and it never crossed my mind
That I would grow up one of the different kind.
But that didn’t stop me from chopping the wood,
Scraping my knees like all boys should,
Goin’ down to the creek in the noonday sun,
Wringing out my shirt when the work got done.
First things first, I’m a blue collar man
With scars on my knuckles, dust on my hands.
You probably wouldn’t have ever known
That I’ve got a man waiting on me at home.
To tell you the truth, I don’t want to fight,
I just want to say one thing outright to you
Ain’t we flesh and blood all through,
And ain’t we brothers too?
I took a job and worked right by you, walked down in that hole beside you,
Thought I heard some whisper sound, I got found out, word got around.
I got made out for something I’m not, got called everything but a child of God
They didn’t mind to show it out in the parking lot.
So I cut my coal with my head hung down,
Just like a stranger in my own town.
I got bitter day by day,
Went home every night with the mess they made.
Tell me I’m not man enough to set foot in that mine
Go on and tell me that once more, to my face this time.
To tell you the truth, I don’t want to fight,
I just want to say one thing outright
Ain’t we flesh and blood all through,
And ain’t we brothers too?


2 of 10 Songs of the Month – Finalist – “RED RIBBON” by Martin Swinger


Martin Swinger’s songs span Alzheimer’s, Autism, oysters, dyslexic theology and the lively adventures of Betty Boop and Buddha – lyrically and melodically illustrating the variety of human emotions in powerful story-songs. Surprising, humorous, intimate, outrageous, universal – each song sung with the skill and panache of a seasoned performer.
Martin is an atypical 50-something singer/songwriter celebrated for his fluid voice and engaging personality. With many albums, local and national songwriting awards, Martin is a repeat performer at Kerrville Folk Festival and counts among his fans Pete Seeger, Peter Yarrow, Paul Stookey, Billy Jonas, Ezra Idlet, Vance Gilbert, Cherry Delight – Miss Coney Island 2014 and John Waters. Island 2014 and John Waters.



3 of 10 Songs of the Month – Finalist – “ISAAC WOODARD’S EYES” by Angela Easterling


Angela Easterling lives with her partner and their young son on the SC farm that has been in her family since 1791. She is a three-time Kerrville New Folk Finalist, a Telluride Troubadour and a two-time Wildflower Songwriting Finalist. Roger McGuinn, of the Byrds, called her “a bright shining star on the horizon!” and went on to say, “Her CD brought me back to the time the Byrds recorded “Sweetheart of the Rodeo” – tradition meets youthful exuberance.”



4 of 10 Songs of the Month – Finalist – “BRENNEN’S BALLAD” by Sue Massek

With 50 years of performing experience, Sue Massek’s journey has taken her throughout the United States, Canada, Italy, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. She has performed as a solo artist and for nearly 40 years with Kentucky’s “feminist hillbilly” band, Reel World String Band. She has always been driven by a deep understanding of music’s power to create positive social change. Though a Kansas flatlander by birth, she is a hillbilly at heart, dedicated to addressing Appalachia’s social and environmental issues.  Sue’s recent CD, “Precious Memories, The songs of Sarah Ogan Gunning”, was #2 on the International Folk DJ charts.


5 of 10 Songs of the Month – Finalist – “IN AMERICA” by Rachel Kilgour
With vulnerability, wit and a remarkable amount of passion, Minnesota based singer-songwriter Rachael Kilgour effortlessly merges the personal and political, engaging and inspiring listeners of all backgrounds. Kilgour started her career touring with musician Catie Curtis as a backup violinist and vocalist and opening act in 2006 and 2007. In the years since she has released two full-length albums and a three-song EP and has shared the stage with such folk luminaries as Greg Brown and Cheryl Wheeler. In 2015 Kilgour took fifth place in the Telluride Troubadour Competition, and was named winner of the LEAF Newsong Contest in NC.


6 of 10 Songs of the Month – Finalist – “I AM AN IMMIGRANT” by Jesse Palidofsky


Azalea City Recordings artist Jesse has performed his original songs at the Washington Folk Festival, at the National Theatre, at Common Ground on the Hill and on the sloop Clearwater with Pete Seeger. As blues pianist, Jesse has performed at the Smithsonian National Folklife Festival and the Kennedy Center Open House. His music has received radio airplay on public radio stations internationally. His latest CD, “Dancing Toward the Light” was nominated for Contemporary Folk Recording of the Year by the Washington Area Music Association. Jesse is artistic director of the popular Carroll Cafe series in Washington, D.C.

7 of 10 Songs of the Month – Finalist – “BIG COUNTRY” by Claudia Nygaard


A former Nashville Music Row staff songwriter and a winner of the Kerrville, TX Folk Festival songwriting competition, Nygaard has learned her craft well.  Her latest CD “Let The Storm Roll In” rose to the coveted #1 position on the Roots Country Chart and #8 on the Folk DJ Chart – with every one of her self-penned compositions receiving airplay. The album received glowing reviews from the press that included five stars from Americana benchmark “Maverick” magazine. Legendary folk music magazine “Sing Out” praised her sensual voice and claimed her songs “rival the likes of Guy Clark or Ian Tyson.”


8 of 10 Songs of the Month – Finalist – “WORKING GIRL” by Susanna Rose

Susanna Rose is a Rochester, NY based singer-songwriter known for her melancholy poem-songs and haunting voice. She released her first album, the Wishing Well, in 2010 and has been playing throughout upstate New York since. Her latest album, Snowbound, will be released Nov. 22, 2015.





9 of 10 Songs of the Month – Finalist – “LOVE IS LOUDER” by Hershel Lee Brown, Timothy Scott, Sarah Geis Williams and Barbara Gardiner
Herschel Lee Brown and Timothy Scott Williams are both singer/songwriters who have been performing locally for more than a decade. Sarah Geis Williams and Tim have co-written with Nashville artist Sally Barris and recently had a song features on PBS. Barbara Gardiner has been dabbling in writing and performing for the past few years. This it the first collaboration of these four friends who have enjoyed sharing songs and fellowship in song circles over the past several years. Sarah came up with the idea to write a new social justice song and we all dove in. Hope you like it.

10 of 10 Songs of the Month – Finalist – “WHO WILL TAKE MY PLACE” Dan Frechette


Dan Frechette’s songwriting and music conjures the many eras and histories of popular song before his birth 35 years ago. His abilities as a performer and a versatile self-taught multi-instrumentalist adds a multi-faceted essence to his songwriting. His voice conjures  the sound of early Americana and the storied history of the past starting from 40 years ago. His songs have been covered successfully by other artists including Ireland’s Dervish, Australia’s The Ploughboys, and Winnipeg’s The Duhks.