Monday, March 31, 2014

Tom Callinan Comes Home to Sing War Songs

The Middlesex County Historical Society presents the CD-release concert for Middletown native Tom Callinan’s latest recording entitled “We Owe Allegiance To No Crown” on Tuesday, April 1, at 7:00 pm in the Hubbard Room at Russell Library, 123 Broad Street in Middletown.  The recordings contains seventeen songs from and about the War of 1812, along with contemporary compositions (mostly original), based on facts, legend, and lore and will be available for purchase at the conclusion of the concert. 

Viewed by many as "America's Second War of Independence," the War of 1812 is often overlooked or overshadowed by the American Revolution and the Civil War.  But many events of that conflict are burned into the American consciousness such as the burning of the Capitol and White House in Washington, D.C. and the failed bombardment by the British of Fort McHenry that inspired Francis Scott Key to pen the words of the "The Star-Spangled Banner." A little known fact of the war was that Federalist opposition to "Mr. Madison's War," particularly in New England, almost caused Northern states to secede from the union … nearly 40 years before the Civil War.

1814 was the year that most impacted Connecticut during the War of 1812, and of the seventeen songs on the CD six relate to people and events in Middlesex County during this bicentennial year.  In honor of the April 8th raid and burning of the fleet in Essex, Tom has penned a trilogy: the lively "Save The Sloops, Brigs & Schooners"; the lament "Pine, Oak, & Tar"; and an attempt to address the many still-unanswered "Burning Questions At Potapaug".  "Enough!" recounts the valiant resistance of the Clinton militia, while "Irish Luck & Pluck" chronicles the naval journey of Captain Thomas Macdonough, who chose Middletown as his adopted home.  The period piece "The Constitution And The Guerriere" touts the victory of Captain Isaac Hull, who spent time in Middletown before taking command of "Old Ironsides".

A highly regarded folksinger, songwriter, storyteller, sea-chanteyman, and multi-instrumentalist, Mr. Callinan is now in his 37th year as a full-time creative and performing artist.  During that time, he has cultivated a reputation as a collector and presenter of songs from America's past, as well as a creator of songs in the styles reminiscent of historical periods.  In recognition of his talent and achievements, Tom was named Connecticut’s first Official State Troubadour.  He and his wife, Ann Shapiro, founded CRACKERBARREL ENTERTAINMENTS, an agency that provides enrichment and family programming, primarily in the Eastern United States.

Russell Library is handicap accessible and this program is free and open to the public.  For further information, contact the Historical Society at 860-346-0746.  

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