Laura Smith

The written word doesn’t do a great job of sensing the beauty of sound.  But the beauty of sound is alive in my heart right now and WordPress is the vehicle I have to reach you.

Think of the moments in life when the human voice has transported you to a deep place, a spacious place, a place with little reference to our wake-a-day consciousness.  Months ago, I went to a tribute concert for somebody (I don’t remember who!) at Hugh’s Room, a folk music venue in Toronto.  Amongst the musicians offering cover songs was a woman in her 60’s or 70’s.  Nice enough to look at but really nothing extraordinary in her physical presentation.  It was her turn to sing.  The band started up.  She opened her mouth and something came out.  It was a something beyond the sweet voice, beyond the inspired lyrics, and beyond the pure emotion.  It was … heart stopping.  It was Laura Smith.

I sat there, stunned.  What was happening to me?  Laura was going way inside my body and shaking the foundations therein.  I seek the words to describe all this and they’re not there.  Melting, falling, embracing, vibrating, crying.  Like nothing I’d heard before.

It may be that you were in the room that night and weren’t moved in the slightest.  But I doubt that you could have stayed stable during that short performance.  Yes, I was shaken.  Somehow Spirit or God or Grace filled me.  Laura Smith was a conduit for something immensely big.

Here are the lyrics to “My Bonny”, her adaptation of a classic folk song.  How can simple words on a screen shine on you?  I don’t know.  Maybe they can’t.  But here goes nothing:

My bonny lies over the ocean
My bonny lies over the sea
My bonny lies over the ocean
Bring back my bonny to me

The leaves haven’t even started falling
Already there’s such a chill in the air
Someone’s got a kite on the wind and their mate is calling
Well, I’ve got a tramp’s whisker that tells me you still care

So bring back, bring back
Ah, bring back my bonny to me
Yeah, bring back, bring back
Ah, bring back my bonny to me

Soon there’ll be no difference between the land and the water
I can walk on the ice to places I’ve never been
When I get as far as I can go
Oh, I’m gonna turn and throw my cares over my shoulder
Along with your memory
I’ll just let it all float down the Gulf Stream

And I’ll walk home singing
My bonny lies over the ocean
My bonny lies over the sea
My bonny lies over the ocean
C’mon bring back, bring back my bonny to me

Yeah, bring back, bring back
Ah, bring back my bonny to me
Yeah, bring back, bring back
Ah, bring back my bonny to me
Bring back my bonny, yeah
Bring back my bonny to me

Oh, the human longing for connection.  The sadness of loss.  The remembering.

The best I can do is point you to YouTube.  Enter “Laura Smith My Bonny” and see where your soul takes you.  I figure you’re more like me than different.  Perhaps you too will be stopped in your tracks.

Laura Smith is returning to Hugh’s Room on April 14.  I’ll be there.

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