Connie Converse - A Singer Songwriter Before Her Time

No less than three major publications included lengthy articles about the newly published book by Howard Fishman, To Anyone Who Ever Asked. What caught media attention is a fascinating story about a largely forgotten singer/songwriter, Connie Converse.

New Republic - The Lost Music of Connie Converse

Anyone listening for catchy melodies or YouTube friendly songs (does anyone still listen for "radio" friendly songs?) will move quickly past Ms. Converse’s songs. Clearly her gift was to write, to borrow a phrase from Andrew Lloyd Webber, the "unexpected song." Her efforts took place prior to Bob Dylan’s first recordings. Her inability to choose one music genre to celebrate in song quickly brings to mind Eva Cassidy - although the two artists were separated by decades.


Converse’s delivery was more Karen Dalton than Eva Cassidy. That is to say, her voice easily supported her art form but would never place her in line with the great female singers of her age. What’s so interesting about her work is the use of words and melody. Here are two examples of songs performed by contemporary Americana artists, Madison Cunningham and Sarah Jarosz. followed by one performed by a classics singer, Julie Bullock. The latter is more at home at the Met. The combined effect of all three singers yields an undeniable insight into the exceptional gift Connie Converse had for songwriting. Anyone wanting more information should read Mr. Fishman’s informative book or watch the documentary (link below) on Connie.

Talkin’ Like You (Connie Converse) - Madison Cunningham & Chris Thile | Live from Here

Fortune’s Child (Connie Converse) - Sarah Jarosz | Live from Here with Chris Thile

Connie Converse: One By One - Julia Bullock

Words and Music by Connie Converse (b. 1924, disappeared 1974)


We go walking in the dark.
We go walking out at night.

And it’s not as lovers go,
two by two, to and fro;
but it’s one by one –– One by one in the dark.
We go walking out at night.

As we wander through the grass
we can hear each other pass,
but we’re far apart –– Far apart in the dark.
We go walking out at night.

With the grass so dark and tall
we are lost past recall
if the moon is down –– And the moon is down.
We are walking in the dark.

If I had your hand in mine
I could shine, I could shine
like the morning sun ––
like the sun.


More Links:

Connie Converse - WIki

We Lived Alone: The Connie Converse Documentary

How Sad, How Lovely - Wiki

How Sad How Lovely - Album - YouTube

Connie’s Piano Songs - YouTube