from by Nell & Jim Band

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I wrote a poem a few years ago with my mother in mind. Mom has dementia and the song started out in sorrow over the stories and the memories lost and time passing. But as I worked on the arrangement with the band, somehow the song transformed into something joyful, I feel joy at the life my mother has lived and gratitude that I get to visit with her and to tell her stories about our lives. I will tell her about something did for me as a kid, and she says “I did that? Well, I guess that was pretty good!” and she’ll just look so happy like she didn’t realize she was a good mom. This time of Mom’s life is different than I imagined. But it’s okay. I read an article written by a nurse specializing in palliative care for dementia patients and it really helped me. She said that our parents never really were who we thought they were, and this struck me as true. It reminded me of when I left home for college and getting some distance I saw my mother as a human being and a woman in her own right, and how I was living right in the same house with her but I had not even noticed what an interesting person she was. I was 20, I wrote her a letter telling her how proud I was of her. She still has that letter. The song captures some deeply held beliefs for me, that the people in our lives whom we have loved stay with us even when they pass on, that my love for the great aunts and uncles and cousins and friends for the past 50 years, that love and those people are still in my blood, they are part of me. The line in this song that I love the most is “This very moment is heaven-sent, For I’ve truly loved to my heart’s content.” I believe my mother has loved and lived fully and I am grateful to her and love her with all my heart. - Nell Robinson


"Prayer" Lyrics

Love is life and the heart its home
No matter how far you have roamed
Holding the days of our small world
Every breath a prayer, heard and answered
Through creeks I’ve stumbled in despair
In rushing waters, my heart repaired
Filled to the brim by tears not wept
Deep in the woods that stole my breath
Every line and scar hard-earned
Etched ever deeper for how I’ve yearned
Echoes of laughter, the dreamt caress
Recall the kin of whom I’m bereft
This day too shall course through us
Thrumming memories of the blood and dust
Those we have loved and those who have left
Take root within us from birth to death
My days grow short my world gone by
Life’s slowing drumbeat frees a sigh
This very moment is heaven-sent
For I’ve truly loved to my heart’s content


from Steel, released February 15, 2019
Nell Robinson, BMI


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Nell & Jim Band Berkeley, California

The Nell & Jim Band joins five genre-busting artists together, bringing their audiences joyful music infused with folk, bluegrass, Americana, roots, swing, and jazz. Featuring Nell Robinson on flute & vocals, Jim Nunally on guitar & vocals, Jim Kerwin on bass fiddle, Jon Arkin on percussion, and Rob Reich on accordion & keyboards, this is truly an all-star band. ... more

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