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The Shining Birch Tree

I was thinking about Wade Hemsworth today. I was trying to concentrate on something else, from which my mind needed a little break, and old Wade came to the rescue. His music just kind of crept in when I wasn’t expecting it. A lot of people I know have no idea who Wade Hemsworth was, but if you played them one of his tunes, like The Blackfly Song or The Log Driver’s Waltz, they would say, oh yeah I know that tune. I grew up with that tune. Everybody knows that one.

I wasn’t thinking of either of those tunes, though. I was thinking of The Shining Birch Tree. Do you know it? I think it’s one of the greatest songs ever written in this country. How’s that for praise? Check out this little video which ends with Mr. Hemsworth and his friends The McGarrigles singing The Shining Birch Tree. The video also gives a little insight into Wade Hemsworth and his life and work.

Here’s Murray McLauchlan singing it, with the McGarrigles singing backup and Anna McGarrigle on diatonic button accordion…and with Wade Hemsworth looking on. I know I’ve posted this one before, but it’s so good it deserves a re-post.

And here is one more version, performed by Adam Miller, an autoharp player…

I love the line about old Rory Bory shiftin’ around. Perfect.

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