Tuesday, May 04, 2010

St. Nick's Wednesday Coffeehouse

It has been a while since I posted a Wednesday Coffeehouse. I think it's time to do another one!

This time I'm featuring a local musician from the Louisville area whom I have known personally for over ten years. I've not seen her in several years; as you know, I don't get out much any more and very seldom for fun.

But...enough of my silly self-pity! As Alex says, Y dun u wantz to goez outz when u hab ME to playz wiff here?

First to perform today is my very dear friend, Tess Arkels. I met her at a bar then owned by the ex-wife of a fellow clergyperson. What was special about the bar was that each Wednesday folks would gather with their guitars, banjos, basses, mandolins, harmonicas, and of course their voices and play Bluegrass music. Can you picture 80 or so people broken down into perhaps 10 or so smaller groups spread out around the bar playing different songs? It was great, especially after I began bringing my guitar and joining in.

For a while they also sponsored an "open mike" evening and I occasionally dropped by for that. That's where I met Tess. She was at the mike and the bartender/cook and I were the only other people present. I listened to Tess and was more than a little impressed. No, her music is far from being Bluegrass (as you'll hear when you click below). Her ability to write music is as awesome as her voice.

One of the songs I heard that first night, Joe's Song, Tess wrote to her father, Joe, who deserted her and her mother when she was an infant. The words of that song -- Why would you leave me... Tell me, do you remember me? -- touched my heart. So did the title song of her CD, Orphan of the Heart, which speaks to me of Tess's life as impacted by her father's absence.

I was around Tess, attending her concerts, taking photographs, sitting and talking as she slowly recorded the CD Orphan of the Heart. And, unknown to me, ended her marriage. When, on the day the CD was released, I learned that Tess was divorcing, I suddenly understand the meaning behind some of the songs on the CD. It's almost as if one has a portrait of a young woman attempting to find love while feeling the rejection of a father whom she never knew.

I've said enough! My I introduce my friend, Tess Arkels.


Joe's Song

Orphan of the Heart

I have only shared a few of Tess' songs at this coffee house, but you can access the entire album here:


  1. I'm getting ready for work so don't have the time to listen to Tess, but I was touched by your/her story. I'm glad that you had those times to sit with people and the music you love, Nick.

    I will come back tonight to listen.

    Have a kittiful day!

  2. I love when you do these and I LOVE your new photo, Nick!! :)

    I used to enjoy going to open mic and gathering with various musicians to conjure up some cover that we all were familiar with - and it was just a neat collaboration of creative minds just 'going with the flow'. I MISS THAT! They don't have too much of that around, but they do have karaoke which isn't for me since I only play guitar.

    I enjoyed all of Tess' song, but especially love Orphan of the Heart. Thanks for the reference and Happy Cinco de Mayo!

  3. I certainly like Tess's music and I love your story. That's a neat photo of you with your guitar. Are you going tosing on some videos again soon?

  4. I enjoyed this post very much. What a great voice Tess has.

  5. What a lovely, soulful voice. And you've told her story beautifully, Nick.