From the recording The Troth Sessions
Recorded 9-3-02. Vocal re-recorded on 10-14-02. Candy Girard, fiddle. The song performed with Leenya Rideout on fiddle at Brave New World, Town Hall 43rd Street Nyc 9-10-02. The impetus for recording all of the songs on this album was to produce a demo of “Mary O’Connor” for its authors Mark Hollmann & Greg Kotis, who had written the song for an article in a november 2001 edition of the new york times magazine. The article featured songs about 9/11. I believe Lou Reed also contributed a song to that article. On the anniversary of 9/11, J Dakota Powell produced an event in nyc called “Brave New World: American Theater’s Response To 9/11”. The big nights were at Town Hall. As their show “Urinetown The Musical” was still running, they were asked to contribute this song. They called me up to ask if i’d like to perform it at Town Hall.
I recorded the demo to give them an out in case i missed the mark. Apparently i hadn’t and NPR’s Morning Edition featured my demo in their story about brave new world.
The Ballad of Mary O’Connor
Music and lyric by Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis
Additional Lyrics by Rich Krueger
By the mid-afternoon of September eleven,
Mary O'Connor had emptied her drawer.
She was saying goodbye to her office in midtown,
Four-sixty Lex, on the fortieth floor.
Ride, ride, Mary O'Connor,
Down to the street, to the sirens and cries.
The fortieth floor ain't no place for you, Mary,
The air's filled with paper.
Ash chokes the skies.
So for months she stayed home; she was taking no chances.
Her city still smoldered with fire and fear.
But she found an old photo of her as a child,
Her hair lit with sunshine, her eyes brave and clear.
So high, Mary O'Connor,
Up on the top of the Empire State.
Your mother would take you 'cause that's what you wanted.
From up there you'd dream of the life you'd create.
So twelve months, and a line winds along Thirty-Third Street.
The mood, it is quiet, the faces are grave.
When a guy makes some joke about bombs and bad timing,
His wife twists his arm and says, "Can't you behave".
Ride again, ride, Mary O'Connor,
Back to the top of the Empire State.
The wind up there whispers of all that you hoped for.
It's waiting for you on the eighty-sixth floor.
So ride, ride, Mary O'Connor,
Up to the deck on the eighty-sixth floor.
Remember, this city still has hopes for you, Mary,
And you'll see 'em all from the eighty-sixth floor.