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New Song Release!

Dec 27. 2021

I am so pleased to finally announce the release of the pirate-themed single For Rum and for Riches. The song is dedicated to the bold women who have shrugged off the expectations of others to chart their own course, Music and lyrics by Truly Carmichael, produced and arranged by Ben Deschamps.

For Rum and For Riches
by Truly Carmichael

I sail on the blackbird, my fortune to chase 
With sabers and spices in leather and lace
For rum and for riches I’ll live and I’ll die
But the tide waits for no man and neither shall I

The world of a sailor’s more gritty than grand
Yet I cannot fathom a life on the land
I’ll tarry no more than a tenday in port
I was never the well-mannered, marrying sort
I rail at the ties that would bind me to shore
I’ll hold to my heading my fate at the fore
I’ll bow to no father, whose shame I decline
No stern sober husband shall ever be mine

I sail on the blackbird…

No sitting and spinning all powdered and pinned
I’m wanton and wild as the Westerly wind 
I’m bloodied and muddied all innocence lost
I’d make the same bargain for double the cost
No simpering songbird or brown feathered dove
I’m tied to no tether, I’m bound to no glove
I’ll dart and I’ll dive and I’m keen for the kill
For I am the falcon who strikes where she will 

I sail on the blackbird…

So If you cast your eyes on the shining wide sea
And scan the horizon all pining for me
You’ll waste away waiting for the girl you once knew
For I am not burdened by fondness for you
A brigand a scoundrel and a stranger to grace
With the wind in my hair and the salt in my face
I’ll never grow old but you cannot deny…
I surely will live every day till I die

I sail on the blackbird…

Click image to go to download page
Video by Truly Carmichael. Photography by Michaela Helliwell.

The song was inspired by the traditional ballad If I were a blackbird, which is a standard in the Trad music circles I inhabit:

“If I were a blackbird, could whistle and sing
I’d follow the vessel my true love sails in
and in the top riggin’ I’d there build my nest.
I would flutter my wings o’er her lily white breast”

Because it is a favorite, I’ve occasionally wondered who the lady on the ship might be and what caused her to sail away from the lover on the shore. As if answering that call, the main character strode confidently into my imagination: a strong-willed 18th century woman who is not really rejecting an unwanted suitor, but rather embracing a completerly different life from the one that the world prescribed for her. Never having fit in comfortably with society’s vision, she makes her own path and is openly joyous in her choice.

Once the tune and lyrics were complete, I noted many details that a listener might fill in to flush out the character’s story further. Perhaps she/they are non binary or transgender, perhaps she is attracted to women, or perhaps she simply has more adventurous plans than embroidery or keeping her voice soft and her manner pleasing. All those possibilities fit the character beautifully, and I freely encourage any and all interpretations of how she came to be. However she manifests to you, who she is now is very clear, and the raw exhiliration she expresses is as infectious as it is enviable.

If you have ever lusted for the freedom of sailing on open water or simply longed for a life defined entirely on your own terms, this song is for you. My hope is that it will be sung in taverns, around campfires, and in music circles as a celebration of power over our own destiny. May it bring you as much joy as it has brought me, and may you forever chart your own course.

Truly Carmichael