North End of Town – Song Story

I asked my friend Alisa to record my song, North End of Town, while I was playing at the annual Art + Roses festival on June 3rd. It has quite the song journey since I first began to write it when I lived in the Boise North End during my college years. I never quite finished the song although I’d pick it up every so often and work on it, but since I was no longer living in town it wasn’t quite happening. Guess I just needed a little inspiration which unexpectedly came to me in the summer of 2005 when Stan and I had taken our cruiser bikes downtown to have dinner and tool around the neighborhood. We were thinking of moving back into Boise from Meridian and were spending more and more time in and near the Boise Foothills which played a part in providing the muse I needed to bring this song to the front of my music set.

That particular evening we hitched our bikes to a tree and shared a pizza at Lucky 13 which used to be on the corner of 13th and Eastman. Marcus Eaton was playing music in the street and everywhere we looked there were people milling around in the sunshine – some with kids and dogs, some with their favorite brew, everyone content. It was such a happy mess of humanity and time stood still for a spell. Over dinner we talked again about how we really needed to try to find a little place in the North End and the steps it would take to make that happen. We both loved the ambience of one of Boise’s oldest quarters and the fact we’d be so close to the Foothills and the Greenbelt that links all the parks with access to the River which happens to flow through town. And to think that any event we wanted to attend would just be a bike ride away! As it was, everytime we wanted to go for a scenic ride we had to pack up our bikes, sit through Meridian traffic, and then drive 20 minutes to Boise. But it wasn’t just about the bike riding, Boise was calling to us because we were in a transitional season of our lives and we sensed a change would really do us good.

After dinner we rode around town till dark and my old unfinished North End song wouldn’t leave my mind. Later while I was humming the perky little tune, I dug it out again to see if I could breathe new life into it. Much to my surprise, the words flowed freely, thanks to our recent excursion, and each new verse easily complimented the next. I was already happy with the original melody and format, so I guess all it needed was a magical experience and a new spark toward a dream.

Speaking of dream, I never would have guessed that finishing the North End of Town would then became a muse for our move to town. Every time I sang it, I felt it was like a prayer. 2 years later we were settled in a little cottage up on the Bench by the Boise Train Depot. I admit, the Bench isn’t exactly the North End, but it’s still just about a bike ride south of town – which is another song story for another day. For now let’s just say real estate on the Bench is more affordable and made our move possible. Sometimes your dreams don’t work out exactly as first pictured but you end up living the dream, nevertheless, and often with an even brighter outcome.

A few more songwriting details before I forget: The early lyrics were penned through the eyes of a 20 year-old and the latter through my eyes in 2005. It’s amazing how the 2 perspectives coincide. Perhaps it’s a nod to ‘authentic me’ which has always been partial to the back streets of a cozy neighborhood. It’s like the young me and ‘seasoned’ me agree. Perhaps I caught a glimpse of college-girl me on 13th Street that day. Now that it’s 2012 I think she’d tell me I made the right decision to freeze the song in 2005. I mention Lucky 13 instead of the Sunray Cafe which stands in its place and every once in awhile I wonder if I should write in the update. But if I did, I wouldn’t be able to use the line “…Lucky 13, such the happening scene – and if you can find a seat, indeed you are lucky!” which makes me smile every time I sing it. After all, it was the venue that hosted the summer evening that inspired us to take steps toward one of our dreams instead of just talking about it.

By the way, Lucky 13 is thriving since it moved out to Harris Ranch. It’s a perfect destination for a longer bike ride to dinner.

Ok, enough song story for now. Hope you still have time to listen!

Small Matters

This song was inspired by a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson which I include in the song: “What lies behind us – what lies before us – are small matters compared to what lies within us”. Song concept is that what lies within us is worth fighting for – to take time to process what’s past for a hopeful and brighter future. C 2011 NancyKellyMusic

Empty Bowls

I donated music to the Idaho Food Bank for their Empty Bowls Event held at The Grove Plaza on Nov 26th. This is a little movie I made featuring my song Red Dress which is on my Christmas CD. My good friend Alisa Costa held the camera while I sang! Thank you Alisa! More on the story below the video.

It was tempting to not show up at the Empty Bowls event the day after Thanksgiving. I was scheduled to play a set at 2pm but the weather, although 20 degrees warmer than Tuesday, still threatened to be cold and blustery. I wasn’t just worried about my own comfort however; I also had misgivings about exposing my Yamaha keyboard to extreme cold. As long as it didn’t snow or rain, I figured it could survive for up to an hour, but I was apprehensive nevertheless.

Another reason I was tempted to stay in, the day after Thanksgiving is traditionally a replenishing day for me. I like to wake up slow, putter around and tidy up the house a bit, decorate, go for a walk. So to rouse myself to play music outside just didn’t have the romantic allure it did when I said I would donate my time. But I have to admit, when I thought of the food bank people working all day outside, the least I could do was show up for an hour and play.

So, bundled up like a Michelen man, I helped Stan load the keyboard into the car and we drove downtown. We double parked on 9th Street with our flashers on and wheeled the piano to the stage which was a flat bed on wheels provided by Admagination Studios. Tom Frazee was thankfully there to help me set up and do the sound. He would also be announcing me and I found out he is nicknamed ‘the voice of God” because he has such a powerful baritone – and I can see why! Woweezow!

It was also great to see Tom’s partner Nancy Roache. The paper said she was on the lineup for music too. I remember both Tom and Nancy from when I played the Boise River Festival events. Stan and I were recently reminiscing about how they organized the music for that event each year and it was amazing!

Anyway, I’m glad to say I played my set with relative ease, although my fingers didn’t cooperate as well toward the end, so the simplified version to those last 2 songs seemed to do the trick.

During one of my songs a tall thin man with a handwritten “Homeless” sign stood by and listened for awhile. I was thinking when I sang to him that if I made the trek down the hill just for that one song for that one man, it was worth it. Too bad I didn’t think to video him or snap his photo but I guess the serenade was what I was there for anyway. I trust he got some soup!

I haven’t found out what the Food Bank raised that day but I hope they made their goal. They were competing with the busiest shopping day of the year as well as bad weather, so they did well just to be there to get the job done!

Garden Mine

My Vegi Sign

[I wrote a song called Garden Mine in 1990 and have fine tuned it over the years. Scroll down to the end of this post for a flip video of my most recent version!]

One of my pasttimes between and in and around the music is gardening of some type. That’s another way of saying when I’m being a slacker on getting giggage I at least have something to do with my hands! 

This year I read up again on Herbs and decided to do an herb pot next to our vegetable planter. Last year we planted the herbs in the vegi planter and they sort of took over. So, this time I decided to give them a pot of their own. However, the Basil is now taking over the Rosemary and Cilantro so I should have given them each a separate pot. But that would be way too much in the way of herbs for a small household such as ours.

In planting this year I was inspired to make my own plant signs since I couldn’t find any to my liking in the shops. I liked the type of signs that Edwards Greenhouse uses and when I inquired they told me they had to make their own signs because they too couldnt find what they wanted. So I took their advise and did the same by buying miniature black boards at the craft store along with acrylic paints. Above is the Vegetable sign (I used a stencil and acrylic paint and precut wood); and below is my herb sign in the herbpot.

My HerbPot complete with tweeting bird
As you can see the Basil is already taking over the pot which also is a home to Rosemary and Cilantro!
Big Boxwood Basil
A close up of the Herb sign and DragonFly marker.:
Herb sign in DragonFly holder
My little ornamental tweeting bird which doubles as a prop in my Garden Mine video!
Little Bird
Here’s my Tomato sign. The Tomato is next to the Marjoram that came back in full force from last year!
Tomato plant and sign
Couldn’t resist filling in with a Shasta Daisy and a few Marigolds beside the Pepper plants. I made a Pepper marker as well:
Daisies and Marigolds fill in
Stan planted this planter box a few years ago and it works really well for the amount of vegetables we need. In years past we’ve had much bigger gardens with too large of a harvest, so we are trying to reign ourselves in as we grow in practicality and wisdom!
Our patio planter full of pansies. The snail planter can hold a small plant or a candle which I keep meaning to get around to filling!
Patio planters
This is the beginning of our backyard project that we are ‘fixin’ to do’ hopefully THIS year. Stage one will be to line the fences with a long rock wall planter. So, this mum planter is temporary. Stan built it recently to hold our overgrowing mums that we moved from the Vegi planter before we filled in with pepper and tomota plants. (I planted the mums there in Autumn last year because the ground was too hard outside of the planter.)
a temporary Mums planter
Other growing things – we have a plum tree:
Plum Tree
Metal sun sculpture in side garden early Spring:
Little Garden Sun
May as well throw in a few views of the backyard before the project so we have accurate before and after pictures.
Long view of backyard
backyard patio before the redo

Stan plans to build a porch cover, hopefully this year!

I wrote a song called Garden Mine in 1990 and have fine tuned it over the years. Here’s a flip vid of my most recent version!

Cherry Festival Videos

CHECK OUT new videos from my CHERRY FESTIVAL Gigs last weekend! This first one is our band singing THE NEW RIDGE – the song we named ourselves after! We played a one-hour set on Friday night so Stan did a Flip of a few of our songs! (Thanks HK!)

THE NEXT DAY I played a solo set and my friend Sharon flipped 3 songs for me (Thanks Sharon!).

This song is called BIKE RIDE SOUTH (recording started on the 2nd verse):


This one is GRANDMA’S HOUSE:

New Ridge Band

Check out our New Ridge video! We played at The Cherry Festival in Emmett last weekend and Stan did a Flip of a few of our songs! (Thanks HK!)

I’m pleased to announce that New Ridge Band is beyond fixin’ to go public, we are now available for booking.  We are an eclectic blend of original contemporary folk, traditional folk and light bluegrass with a touch of western and classic covers.

Our group features rhythm and lead acoustic guitars, mandolin, key board and electric bass. Our lead and harmony vocals give new life to a variety of fun, toe-tapping familiar songs while illuminating our unique originals.

Available for coffee houses, easy listening venues or private events.

I will be posting songs here too, but you can also visit our myspace page for a sample of our music –

Sher Brodoski aka Emily Wilkins (see pic, left) Sher is one of the songwriters of New Ridge, singing lead and harmony vocals and playing guitar.  She brings to the group a collection of bluegrass and traditional folk, hidden gems she’s discovered along the way.  Her originals songs evoke strong western imagery.
Wendy Matson (see pic, right) Wendy is another songwriter of New Ridge, singing lead and harmony vocals and playing guitar and mandolin.  Wendy is an engaging story teller of the best tradition who blends folk, blues, jazz, rock and country into a sound that’s all her own.
Wesley Steele (see pic, obviously the guy!) Wes, the bass player and cellist of the group, has a rich musical history that reaches back to the 60’s.  He has performed in jazz, rock and classical genres not to mention that he’s played and recorded in bands with well known artists such as TC and Jerry Garcia from The Grateful Dead and Chicken Hirsch from Country Joe and the Fish – to name a few!
Nancy Kelly – another New Ridge songwriter, sings lead and harmony vocals, and plays piano.  Her music is layered with piano folk, hints of jazz and whispers of classical.  She’s been honing her craft since age 17.  Her song ‘New Ridge’ was the inspiration for the band name.

New Ridge Band pic

Autumn Morning

Over the weekend I was inspired by the fall colors outside my music room window to do a flip video of my song Autumn Morning, composed in 1994.  I had a feeling it would be the last chance to capture it before the leaves fell from the tree and sure enough last night we had a killer wind storm and today the temp will only rise to 45 degrees, so I’m glad I went with my instinct.  Click here for the link to the video – having a hard time embedding this one.  The lyrics are below the photo.

playing my autoharp in the light of autumn color


Into the autumn morning / the sunlight’s on the trees

A breeze is blowing / shimmering the leaves

Birds are singing duets in the air

And with them bringing me all that share

Autumn Morning


Into the morning / the dew is on the grass

A southward breeze is blowing / what more can I ask?

Off in the distance / hot air balloons

Peacefully drifting on into the view





Instrumental or:  Into the morning / I look up into the sky

Clouds are forming a parade to later float by

I am beholding a season so new

And it’s enfolding me with more of You





©NancyKellyMusic / Oct 1, 1994

Indian Summer

Uploading another blog-a-song-post, a song I wrote when the kids were small one Indian Summer.  I remember being inspired by their voices and laughter from outside wafting in and the way the warm glow of the sunset ushered in a peaceful feeling of contentment.  I love this time of year when it’s a little cooler, the leaves just start their change of color, and new things begin — like school! Somehow you feel a renewed energy to begin or resume projects.

Note:  I usually play the intro longer – one verse and chorus through – before I start singing, but for the sake of the video thought to truncate it. Below are the lyrics and here’s the video:


Children playin in the evening light
Sun goes down now earlier at night
Something about that peaceful feeling that settles in
Silhouettes of rich contentment as new things begin

Indian Summer / Across the Land
Indian Summer / Autumn’s now at hand

Football games on Friday nights
Soon the fireplace will glow like candlelight
I love this time of year when the air cools down a bit
And there’s that rich contentment as new things begin

Indian Summer / Across the Land
Indian Summer / Autumn’s now at hand

instr / piano lead
Something about that peaceful feeling that settles in
Silhouettes of rich contentment as new things begin
Indian Summer / Across the Land
Indian Summer / Autumn’s now at hand

nancykellymusic © 1993