our future

Here's something that pulls at me: being with more children...our future, the children -- to cherish to hold to help to protect -- they are open portals of wonder and joy and laughter, even the ones who have come down who need more help, they are sensitive and beautiful despite their challenges.  When is the last time you thought of purity?  A beautiful concept and template. This little blonde is very special to me, it was her birthday and she loves music, just like me!

I am beyond...

I am so excited to finally share a book project that was started back in 2015... as I raced out of the gate with an idea to fuel my need to create, I was in such a hurry to get this book done.  However, working with a magnificent illustrator who had such a strong visual story to tell, it took much longer than I anticipated, so I let go of trying to rush it.  Marie Sabatino Goodwin is a fine artist from Palermo who now lives in upstate NY.  She is a dear friend and we have shared many adventures.  This project became another adventure as she decided to use a lot of mixed media along with her fine arts applications.  The story then marinated and evolved as I saw her illustrations come to life.  It became a very organic process of expression and details.

This story is about love ... of family.  It's also about loss ... born out of my work as an end-of-life doula.  It's about expression of love ... the song came before the story.  And, it's about imagination ... we are free to believe and imagine anything we want to.  I believe in fairies, I believe in dream time, I believe in love.

The Rosie and Leafers story is a book and a song (and a stuffed animal).  It is a great tool to use if you need to talk with children about death, and why someone might seem to disappear from their lives.  Rosie is around 5 and Leafers is the stuffed animal her PawPaw gave her.  PawPaw used to rescue a lot of dogs, but he is too old now to rescue any more.  Rosie and her mom take care of him at home.  Breathe it in and love it out, the best is yet to be.


make hay

I love summertime... don't you?  Get out there and do what you love.  Life is in a blink, one sparkling wink, so make hay, hahahaa!  lovelovelove me

stripped down spring singing

It was true spring weather this past weekend here in New England, warm temp, blue sky, my oh my, maybe that's why we endure winter up here?!  So the guitar and me spent some time outside without a pick or paper, just my iPhone.  I was noodling around on G and G/addC and started rhyming some stuff feeling happyhappy...  I wasn't really working the craft, I was just messin' around because it felt so good to be outside.  I was completely distracted by all the birds singing around me.  Here's what I recorded on the fly (get it?) on the phone, and instead of a break or a bridge, I just started whistling back at the birds, they loved it!  Great audience...  Sharing my stripped down spring singing:


MaggieJoShapiro sings

The landing page of this site shows a picture of my daughter, my sister, my mom and me singing at one of my sister’s concerts, this was a couple years ago.  There is singing talent on my mother’s side of this family, but honestly, it never gets old when I get the chance to sing with my youngest daughter.  She has been songwriting herself lately, and her natural talent shines through.  Maggie Jo will be joining Open Road on April 30th at Blue Bus Music in Ridgefield, CT.  We’ve asked her to sing one of her original songs called “Flight”.  Deceptively simple at first listen, but if you read the lyrics, which I’ll share with you here, you’ll find the depth.  Remarkable, really.  My girl… I’m thinking e.e.cummings right now… i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart).


©2016 MaggieJoShapiro

It was you who asked me to dance

But it was me who caught your eye

At your place I didn’t stand a chance

But I know when to say, goodbye


I’ve got a flight first thing in the morning

What if I leave without warning

Hold me tight,’ til we see the light  

We can do this one thing – we can do it right


I’ve got a ticket in my pocket

Yeah I know you’ll try and stop it

But I go where my heart says so         

Yea I go where my heart says so

Where my heart says so


Start the car, I’m going home

And I’m going there alone

Drive all night, ‘til I see the light

A kiss goodbye and then, then I’ll fly


By air by train by sea by boat

There’s a way to keep a float


I’ve got a ticket in my pocket

Yeah I know you’ll try and stop it

But I go where my heart says so         

Yea I go where my heart says so

Where my heart says so


But I go where my heart says so


Yea I go where my heart says so

Yea I go where my heart says so

Where my heart says so


Happy new year ya’ll, ain’t life just grand?  On New Year’s Eve I threw my 2015 date book (yes, I still write things down the old fashioned way) right into the roaring fire pit and watched as 2015 burst into flames and rose away in wisps of smoke.  Very cathartic as 2015 was a bit challenging, but that’s why we’re all here on this planet anyway, to learn and live to the fullest, with the good, the bad and the ugly.  Details really aren’t important if you actually stop to think about it, we’re only here for a blink anyway.  But now, WOW, I am feeling grateful as the planet wakes up, and any challenges thrown at me this year will be met with wisdom and love.  Growing older does have advantages.  The one constant that sees me through…?  Music and more music.  (And meditation… that, too.  That practice is growing as well, but that’s another story that helps songwriting and writing in general.)

Meanwhile, Open Road has been collaborating on some really joyful songs, both lyrically and musically, and we’re going to share all the new ones on February 6th, 2016 in downtown Westport, CT at the Seabury Center.  This is a really cool venue that’s intimate and acoustically very sound.  It's a round stone building next to the Christ and Holy Trinity Church on 45 Church Lane.  We’ll do a 60-minute sest with lots of 3- and 4-part harmony with 3 guitars, percussion of all sorts, and acoustic bass.  Very happy to be rehearsing and sharing with these guys – Scott Weber, Nancy Burger, James Allen and Dan Berg (not pictured).  Please join us if you’re free that night, it’ll be relaxing and very affordable --$10 ticket price (just to cover the sound guy).

Original music for "Rosie and Leafers"

More about "Rosie and Leafers"

early pencil sketch by Marie Sabatino Goodwin

Songwriting, writing, it’s pretty similar, and always just a creative form of expression, or one hopes anyway!   I just finished writing a story, for my granddaughter, but I’m hoping the message will carry forward to you as well.  Just using my imagination, and my granddaughter’s reminders of how to think with magic.  I’ve also written a song that I posted the lyrics to in a previous post. This is being recorded in August 2015.  The story is done and being illustrated this fall.  If I’m lucky and clever enough, I also want to film a short 3-min video with the new song and some of the book illustrations along with shots of my granddaughter flying through her back yard singing to the fairies and holding onto her stuffed animal toy “Leafers”!  Grandma Sue’s song will always remind her (and my future grandchildren) just how much I love my family, no matter what.

The story – Rosie and Leafers – is about a girl and her toy dog, a stuffed animal that might magically come alive under just the right circumstances every once in a blue moon.  Here’s an excerpt:

Every once in a blue moon, when a full moon appears twice in one month, which only happens every two to three years, the Leafy Sky Flyer fairies get to work to distribute a special love to the doggie animal toys that have been given to children by the ones who watch over them.  It has to be just after a warm, late spring rain shower, before the dandelions are out, and before the blue moon rises.  At this very special time The Leafy Sky Flyer fairies are busy deep down in the grass and high up on the leaves of the trees.  Their special job is to make sure the toys remember to bring happiness and love to their owners.  They fly so fast their iridescent wings shed tiny particles of dust, which makes the grass twinkle and the leaves sparkle.

Rosie, who is a very special girl, lives with her mama and granddad whom everyone calls PawPaw.  PawPaw is very old now and needs to have a little extra help, so Rosie’s mama is taking care of him.  PawPaw got his name because he raised and took care of many dogs.  At one time PawPaw had six doggies.  He rescued many of them from dog shelters, and sometimes found abandoned dogs on the street.  He always found them loving homes.  Rosie has heard many stories.  She remembered once that PawPaw told her that he had help from the fairie folk who sometimes visit in the spring.  His green eyes twinkled when he told her this.  She asked him“What do the fairies look like PawPaw?”  He always said “Maybe someday you’ll find out!”  Now PawPaw has gotten too old to look after any more doggies, but on the night before the blue moon he said “Spring is coming my beautiful flower girl, and tomorrow will surely be a special day.”…

From the fairies…

Paar u na presh pra vuch
Bru a buruski bel a nush
Sti arnervat kel vis bra usut
Gra stra u sabervi esh tra ulmirat

Impart not these words to those of impure thought
Keep them close to your heart
When impurities enter the fairy realms, fairies could die

Rosie and Leafers

Standard Singing

The singer part of me in this singer/songwriter body loves to sing standard tunes from the Great American Songbook.  These classics are some of America’s most popular songs of the 20th century, principally created for Broadway, musical theatre, and Hollywood musical films.  When I used to compete in an a cappella quartet and travel around the country singing barbershop tunes (that had those perfect 7th chords in them) we often picked standard tunes, with sentimental lyrics.  I love them.


The songwriter geek part of me analyzes that the semantic layout in these songs is more important than poetic structure in the definitions of these standard lyrical song types, so the SLTs (sentimental lyric types as they’re called) are characterized by the sentential shapes of their overall narrative trajectories. While poetic meter, rhyme scheme, and exact line length contribute significantly to the sentential quality of particular lyrics and to the word-music interactions in those songs, these three elements of poetic structure do not factor into the essential definitions of the SLTs because they are highly variable within each type.  Sorry I can’t help it… this stuff interests me even if I don’t get it right myself, hahahaa!  Bottom line:  lyrics matter.

Here’s an old tune called How Deep Is The Ocean


Recorded at  in Ridgefield, CT with the owner Patrick Nimmo, who in my opinion, has a sublime voice!  Just me and him in a booth.  Well, not at the same time.  We used a backing track for this in an effort to save some doe ray me, and we tracked separately.  Let me know what you think.  Eventually, we’ll have a collection of our very favorite standard tunes!

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