This Side of the Knife – Seanan McGuire and Dead Sexy

This side of the knife
When I was fool enough to wonder
Asked what I should not have asked
Called down rain and called down thunder

“This Side of the Knife,” a wonderfully dark and cryptic song by Talis Kimberley. This version was performed at MarCon by Seanan McGuire and Dead Sexy (Seanan McGuire, Amy McNally, Brenda Sutton, Teresa Powell, Dr. Mary Crowell, & Bill Sutton) with the fabulous Judi Miller providing ASL interpretation.

Talis Kimberley has described this song as a companion story to Crazy Man Michael, which doesn’t necessarily make it any less cryptic, but definitely provides some context.

Polly – Talis Kimberley

The splendid Scottish folksinger Karine Polwart tweeted one day about witnessing a girl being told not to climb a tree because she was in a very nice skirt. Or maybe just in a nice skirt, it was some time ago, and either way, this little song fell happily out and has been sung a handful of times since.
There is a particularly British distinction, I think, betweem a skirt, a nice skirt, and a very nice skirt. And you can climb trees in any of them, so there.

“Polly,” by Talis Kimberley, a very modern song in a charmingly traditional style.

Fences (A Sheep Shanty) – Talis Kimberley and Chantelle Smith

Alfie Purl, Christopher, Ruby and Zack;
Move the sheep and the fences around!
Take the ones from the front and put these in the back
Move the sheep and the fences around.

Why would you write a shanty about sheep?  Why not.  Sung, appropriately, in a field, by Talis Kimberley and Chantelle Smith.  Featuring the names of real sheep!

When I Was a Mermaid – Talis Kimberley

When I was a mermaid, my daughter, my dear
And a long time before I had you
I lived in the ocean a long way from here
And some of my stories are true

Apparently, Talis Kimberley’s daughter once pointed at a picture of a mermaid and said “That’s you when you were a mermaid”.

Small Mended Corners – Talis Kimberley

There are women I’ve been who you would not have liked
Very much – and I can’t say I’d blame you for that;
but I had to be them before I could be me
They are threads on the loom of the woman you see

And they’re all – here – sewn in the lining of me
In the seam-folds and the small mended corners
Tucked into collar and sleeves in the lining of me

“Small Mended Corners,” by Talis Kimberley, a song about identity and sewing – which, as someone who has struggled with both, I appreciate.

Queen of Spindles – Talis Kimberley

And love will seal my lips to every murmur
For silence was the witch’s best advice
And love will heal my hands of every blister
For that too is a portion of the price,
I am the Queen of Spindles.

“Queen of Spindles,” by Talis Kimberley.  About a fairy tale, but not the one you probably expect.  Lyrics here.

The Finding of a Feather – Talis Kimberly

I am here though you won’t see me
You won’t feel me you won’t hear me
But I’m everywhere, I’m everywhere you are
I’m in the shifting of the weather
And the finding of the feather

I’m everywhere, I’m everywhere you are
Everywhere you are

“The Finding of the Feather,” by Talis Kimberley

I’m not quite sure what this song is about, but it seems important.