Hugh O'Doherty

Hugh O'Doherty

 Falmouth, Massachusetts, USA
SoloAmericanaSinger/Songwriter

A veteran of New England, Greenwich Village, and California songwriting communities. Hugh's live performances take the audience from romance to satire, and from riveting emotional issues to downright self-deprecating silliness. He lives in and sings about the real world, and puts the frameworks of human connections into perspective with songs of: love, humor, childhood, friendship, marriage, parenthood, blended families, justice, environmental issues, and other contemporary topics.

Biography

Brief:

A veteran of New England, Greenwich Village, and California songwriting communities. Hugh's live performances take the audience from romance to satire, and from riveting emotional issues to downright self-deprecating silliness. He lives in and sings about the real world, and puts the frameworks of human connections into perspective with songs of: love, humor, childhood, friendship, marriage, blended families, justice, environmental issues, and other contemporary topics.

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Expanded:

Hugh was raised in a family in which music was as essential as oxygen. Listening to it, dancing to it, playing it. In Hugh's case, that meant singing, and playing piano and banjo (and guitar, when his brother, Liam Tomas O'Doherty, wasn't looking). In high school, he sang in acoustic groups with Liam and other friends. Like Liam, Hugh started writing his own songs, and acting in the school plays. Hugh continued acting in college, while playing many of the campus coffeehouses in the Middle Atlantic States. He then carved a career, flying rescue aircraft of the US Coast Guard and the Royal Canadian Air Force. Meanwhile, Hugh conducted the parallel artistic pursuit of playing for the acoustic audiences of many of those regions, and engaging in California, New England, and Greenwich Village songwriting communities.

His live performances take the audience from romance to satire, and from riveting emotional issues to downright self-deprecating silliness. Hugh lives in and sings about the real world. He puts the frameworks of human connections into perspective with songs of: love, humor, childhood, friendship, marriage, parenthood, blended families, justice, environmental issues, and other contemporary topics.

Has performed at places such as:
The Sacramento, Los Angeles, & Santa Barbara Songwriter Showcases
Club Passim, Cambridge, MA
South Shore Folk Music Club, Kingston, MA
Wintertide Coffeehouse, Marthas Vineyard, MA
Coffeehouse at the Mews, Provincetown, MA
WERS-FM, Boston, MA
WUMB-FM, Boston, MA
Eisteddfod Int'l Folk Festival, Univ of Mass Dartmouth, MA
World Folk Music Assn Showcase, Silver Spring, MD
The Minstrel, Morristown, NJ
Folk City, NYC
Speakeasy, NYC
Greenport Songwriters Festival, NY
Godfrey Daniels, Bethlehem, PA
Lansdowne Folk Music Club, Lansdowne, PA
Stone Soup Coffeehouse, Providence, RI
Rambling Conrads, Norfolk, VA
Eptek Center, Summerside, Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada
Country Days (festival), Charlottetown, PEI
Summerside Gallery, PEI
West Isle Theatre, PEI

Finalist - Rose Garden Coffeehouse's Performing Songwriter Competition.

Has opened for:
Michael Cooney
Bob Franke
Paul Geremia
Jack Hardy
Greg Kihn
Christine Lavin
Rod MacDonald
Cosy Sheridan
Keyser Soze
Noel Paul Stookey
Cheryl Wheeler
Brooks Williams

 


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Quotes:

Hughs lyrics speak to the frailties of the human condition. He pokes good and kind hearted fun at our shortcomings in some songs, and makes a plea for justice and personal harmony in others."
- HURDY GURDY, the South Shore Folk Music Club newsletter

"Hugh O'Doherty offered a mix of humorous material blended with some sweetness."
- MARI McAVENIA, The Martha's Vineyard Times

"He's a musician! He's a pilot! He's a Renaissance Man! ... I HATE him!"
- CHRISTINE LAVIN

 


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Hugh is available for media interviews.

 


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He is ready and willing to facilitate workshops in the following areas:

"Monday night, Jack's apartment" - Writers discussing their experiences in songwriting groups, exchanges, or circles. Upsides. Downsides. Lasting lessons and impressions. Playing some of the results.

"Inconvenient Tunes" - Songs that address the preservation of our earthly habitat.

"Translating? ... or Interpreting?" - Players provide their perspectives through others' songs.

"How did you come up with that crazy song?" or "The Humor Mill" - Writers explaining the process (or lack thereof) of recognizing the inspirations, and then executing the creation of humorous songs. And then, they perform the product(s)...

"Apply Topically to the Ears" - Songs addressing issues of current, public interest.

"Songs of the late Jack Hardy" - The cowboy, the bard, the hilarious, the sad, the mysterious, the witty. A circle of singers, courageously attempting to capture the essence of Jack's catalog, within an hour...









Lyrics

I Miss ...

Written By: Hugh O'Doherty

(An example of ecological-lounge music)

Tree huggers said the earth could die, because of our endeavors
They talked p’lution, the greenhouse, we said, “Yeah, yeah, whatever!”
Well, they were right, we goofed and caused global decimation,
But they never warned us that we’d lose the law of gravitation...

I miss gravity. Niag’ra’s waters cannot fall.
I miss gravity. Have you seen my bowling ball?
At the office we now mind our boss’ feelings.
‘Cause when the boss gets mad, he now really hits the ceiling.

I miss gravity. Isaac Newton’s really bummed.
I miss gravity. Bungee jumping’s lost its fun!
At the theatre, they’ve got seat belts, to keep us all in tow;
but buoyant milkduds and popcorn keep blocking out the show.

I miss gravity. Mmm mmm mmm mm.

I suppose we should be open to this drastic alteration.
There could be clear improvements to a world with no gravitation...

‘Cause with no gravity, we don’t drop dishes or glassware
With no gravity, bombs are worthless in warfare.
Trees don’t fall in the forest, so don’t worry about the sound!
Suicidal jumpers leave the ledge, but never hit the ground.

Still, I miss gravity. Trampolines are dangerous.
I miss gravity. Jenny Craig is penniless.
We’ve cured cancer, HIV, and that nasty common cold;
Now we need a way to keep the milk and cornflakes in the bowl.

We’ve got to tie each other down, when we go to bed at night.
You say you did that before this happened. Well, I guess you’re prob’ly right.

Still, I miss gravity. Bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum.
That force had a grab on me. Bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum.
I miss gravity... ... ...



COPYRIGHT 2012 HUGH M. O’DOHERTY

LaSalle, Tonight

Written By: Hugh O'Doherty

(A soliloquy of a 20-year-old songwriter)

I’m playing at LaSalle, tonight. Maybe I’ll meet someone new,
And fall in love, for the ... last time; and hopefully she’ll do that, too!
I’ll spot her in the audience. Her smile, a beam of pure gold light;
And miracles could then transpire... If she comes to LaSalle tonight...

Could she detect a noble heart, hidden ‘neath this awkward shell?
A heart that’s worthy of her love, in front of her, at LaSalle?
Well, maybe she’s a dreamer, too! Yeah! Maybe she knows what it’s like
To believe what could come true, if she comes to LaSalle tonight...

We’ll ride ferry boats to our island home. We’ll have a kid or 2 or 3.
Each beautifully unique, though in each a trace of her, I’ll see.
With piano lessons, scouts, ballet, the kids’ll call us “driving fools.”
Yet, it’ll just be her and me, when we drop all 3 at Sunday School...
We’ll find work which we each love, lofty deeds down here, and up in flight.
Such things are as feasible, as what could occur at LaSalle tonight...

Is this a premonition? A subconscious scheme?
Or is this just speculation, or perchance, a dream?

I’m not hanging all my hopes, no.
If not tonight, the world won’t end.
‘Cause I have faith that we’ll meet soon...
And I’m playing Swarthmore, next weekend.
So, may this be the first of many songs I’ll sing of her through life!
A life spent thanking her each day, for coming to LaSalle that night...

If she comes to LaSalle tonight...


COPYRIGHT 2012 HUGH M. O’DOHERTY

Let Me Know

Written By: Hugh O'Doherty

(Avows that all people should possess their own birth records. Topical)

Mom and Dad, thanks for the love. Thanks for the shelter, the security.
Years ago, you opened your hearts. You took me home, and adopted me.
Now there are things I need to know. Doors are locked, and I don’t have a key.
I need your help, and your blessing, too. So, I can solve my own life’s mystery...
Chorus:
Let me know. Let me know who my first parents are.
Let me know. Let me know, do they look like me?
Let me know the hour that I was born.
Is there a brother, a sister, another family?
Let me know!

Judge, your Honor, you control the files. I know you don’t intend to cause me pain.
But your system hides my secret past;
And leaves me here to live in doubt and shame.
I’m not trying to embarrass; nor invade anybody’s privacy.
All I want, is what most people have: my complete, unabridged biography...

Chorus:

Bridge: I’ve got friend. She had a child. She wasn’t married. She gave him away.
Now she longs to find him again; to assure herself, his life’s been OK.

So understand, there are a lot of us. Just try to put yourself in our shoes.
We are children and parents, living parallel lives.
Each a puzzle, missing a piece, or two.

Prechorus:
Unlock the doors! Open the files! Unchain our hearts! Close the miles and

Final Chorus:
Let us know. Let me know who my first parents are.
Let us know. Let me know, do they look like me?
Let me know the hour that I was born.
Is there a brother, a sister, another family? Let me know!


Copyright 2012 HUGH M. O’DOHERTY

Music Room

Written By: Hugh O'Doherty

(Family influence on one’s love of music.)

I’d like to bring back those days, when all there was was school and play,
A Rambler was a kind of car, and divorce was just for movie stars.
In the basement of our home, Dad had a corner of his own.
At night, he’d go there privately; but sometimes, he’d share that room with me.
A faded couch and an old Victrola. A reel-to-reel and a Motorola.
Records and tapes full of tunes. All in my Dad’s music room.

Hidden by the furnace noise, I’d sneak in, with an armload of toys.
Dad would dim the lights, and soon, we were bathed in the sounds of that room.
Some nights, I’d sit next to him. Relax, and let the music begin.
He’d call out the instruments by name, and then quiz me during the refrain.
I heard murm’ring brooks and roaring seas. Evil crooks and noble deeds.
... and flying feelings of fright, made me wish he’d turn up the lights.

Bridge:

and Mom was a singer in the local choir. She played piano and a little guitar.
She taught us all how to be good musicians;
but Dad always said it’s just as much fun to listen...

So when the big kids wouldn’t let me play; when my closest friend moved away;
Whenever life was unkind, that room was a shelter of mine.
I’d be Henry Higgins or the King of Siam.
I’d sing along with Mitch, or I’d lead a band,
and I’d learn those melodies and beats, and hum them for hours in the streets.

Repeat bridge:

and Mom was a singer in the local choir. She played piano and a little guitar.
She taught us all how to be good musicians;
but Dad always said it’s just as much fun to listen...

So now, when my workin’ day is done; I don’t go to the gymnasium.
No. I sneak down that cellar stair; and, sometimes, the kids are already there.
And it helps to bring back those days, when all there was was school and play,
When a Rambler was a kind of car, and divorce was just for movie stars.


COPYRIGHT 2012 HUGH M. O’DOHERTY

I'm Confused

Written By: Hugh O'Doherty

(Illustrates challenges that men sometimes face. Humor)

Mikey told me, that his sisters don’t stand up when they pee.
I asked him, “How do they use the urinals in the lavatory?”
He said, “Ladies’ rooms don’t need ‘em. Girls aren’t ... appointed that way!”
I didn’t ask him how he knew; but from that very day, I’ve been

Chorus:
Confused, confused. I am confused.
Can’t claim I’ve been teased, betrayed, nor misused.
I’m just confused, confused. I am confused.
Can’t help it, but I am confused.

Years later, Janet asked me, would I walk her to her Dodge.
It was dark. It was the city. She was small. I was large.
But, when I held the car door for her (like I would for any chap...)
She told me that my gesture was chauvinist crap!...

And Kate and I were close friends for a couple of years;
When I won this concert contest to see “Blood, Sweat, and Tears.”
But when I asked her, she shuddered,
“A date could make our friendship end!”
So, I went with someone else.
Kate hasn’t talked to me since them; and I’m

Chorus:

Bridge:
I was taught that it’s wrong to tell a woman she looks, “OK!”
Then, I heard that’s exactly what she wants you to say!
Then, this expert on TV, said, “That demotes her dignity!”
These rules of gender warfare sound like “Murphy’s Law” to me!

But, I try to do what's right. I’ve read Steinem and Greer.
I’ve popped all the rivets of my macho veneer.
I attempt to be the model of sensitivity...
Now, Christine Lavin’s out there, mocking guys like me!

There are 3 wonderful females living in my house.
Two lovely teenage daughters. One beautiful spouse.
Yet, sometimes they argue, and if Mom takes a stand;
The girls say, “Wait ‘til Dad gets home, ‘cause he understands!”
But they’re

Final Chorus:
Confused, confused. Don’t they know I’m confused.
Can’t claim I’ve been teased, betrayed, nor misused.
I’m just confused, confused. I am confused.
Can’t help it, but I am confused.
Just clueless, and very confused.
I don’t mind it, but I am confused.

COPYRIGHT 2012 HUGH M. O'DOHERTY

Two Sides to Every Story

Written By: Hugh O’Doherty

(Serio-comic: a conversation between a woman and her teenage stepdaughter.)

Cindy, we’ve gotta talk. This conversation is overdue.
There are forces in your life, and they’ve been rough on you.
But you withdrew your heart from me, and from your sisters, too.
So, we left you alone, in your own little room.

Now you’ve finally open up. Found a way to let me know …
That you consider me cause of your pain.
But you decided to announce it on the Dr. Phil Show …
Keep it up, you’ll give stepmoms a bad name!

CHORUS:
But there are two sides to ev’ry story,
Two sides to ev’ry dime,
Two views through ev’ry window, gotta tell ya!
So, try walkin’ in my slippers, more than once upon a time.
There are two sides to ev’ry story, Cinderella!

I’m a single mom, with 3 teenage girls, just tryin’ to make ends meet.
Yet you describe me as a selfish, evil witch.
Then, you portray yourself as quiet, obedient and sweet,
When in reality, sometimes you’re such a … adolescent!

Like last week when you came home from the dance, past your 12AM curfew.
You were missin’ a shoe! And we had one of our fights.
And when I’m paying’ for the groceries, I see tabloid shots of you…
And Disney’s lawyers keep calling, to bid on your stories’ rights.

CHORUS:

BRIDGE:
Now, if we learn to talk, we can tear down the walls,
and share the tears and laughter.
It’s up to you and me, to live in misery,
or try it happ’ly ever after…

I miss your Dad, too; but in a different way.
And I’m sorry I never met you Mom.
He said you’ve got her sparkling eyes,
and sometimes I see you’ve got his smile.
You’re entitled to mourn your loss of them. Grieve their passing on.
But Sweetie,
But waiting undercover, for a fairy godmother, seems a little juvenile.

There’s help out there for both of us, it’s really up to you.
You may think that it’s hipper, waiting for some glass-slipper dude,
to claim you as his queen…
So in the meantime, I’m doing rebuttal spots on The Talk and The View.
By the way, I think somethin’ happened to the pumpkin
I was saving for Halloween!

And there are two sides to ev’ry story,
Two sides to ev’ry dime…
Two views through ev’ry window, gotta tell ya!
So, try walkin’ in my slippers, more than once upon a time.
There are two sides to ev’ry story, Cinderella!
There are two sides to ev’ry story, Cinderella!

© 2014 HUGH M. O’DOHERTY